Hoisin sauce
Deep-fried jiaozi with hoisin sauce
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese海鮮
Simplified Chinese海鲜
Literal meaningseafood sauce
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabettương đen
Literal meaningblack sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Cantonese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fry, or as dipping sauce. It is dark-coloured, sweet and salty. Although regional variants exist, hoisin sauce usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic. Vinegar, five-spice powder, and sugar are also commonly added.


The word hoisin is derived from the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese words for "seafood" (simplified Chinese: 海鲜; traditional Chinese: 海鮮; Cantonese Yale: hói sīn; pinyin: hǎixiān), although the sauce does not contain any seafood ingredients and is not commonly consumed with seafood.[1] The reason for the name is "seafood flavour", a common adjective in Chinese cuisine, especially Sichuanese ("fish fragrant").


The key ingredient of hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste.[2][3]

Some hoisin sauce ingredients include starches such as sweet potato, wheat and rice, and water, sugar, soybeans, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, red chili peppers, and sometimes preservatives or coloring agents. Traditionally, hoisin sauce is made using toasted mashed soybeans.

Uses in regional cuisines

Cantonese cuisine

Hoisin sauce is used in Cantonese cuisine as a marinade sauce for meat such as char siu, or as a dipping sauce for steamed or panfried rice noodle roll (chángfěn 肠粉).[4]

American cuisine

Hoisin sauce is used as a dipping sauce for Peking duck and lettuce wraps. Hoisin sauce is used as a dipping sauce for moo shu pork.[5][6]

Vietnamese cuisine

In Vietnamese, hoisin sauce is called tương đen. It is a popular condiment for phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup, in southern Vietnam. The sauce can be directly added into a bowl of phở at the table, or it can be used as a dip for the meat of phở dishes. In phở, hoisin is typically accompanied by Sriracha sauce or tương đỏ. The hoisin sauce is also used to make a dipping sauce for Vietnamese gỏi cuốn (often translated as 'summer roll') and other similar dishes. In cooking, it can be used for glazing broiled chicken.

See also


  1. ^ Ozimek, Sarah (August 29, 2018). "Hoisin Sauce". curiouscuisiniere.com. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Wong, Maggie Hiufu (2022-01-05). "Soy sauce: A beginner's guide to one of the world's favorite ingredients". CNN Travel. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  3. ^ Beck, Andrea (2020-10-09). "The Real Difference Between Soy Sauce And Hoisin Sauce". Mashed.com. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  4. ^ "Crispy Cheung Fan (Rice Noodle Rolls) + Spicy Hoisin & Maple Sesame Sauce". pupswithchopsticks.com. November 13, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Morocco, Chris (March 24, 2017). "This is Our Favorite Brand of Hoisin, a Superb Sauce". bonappetit.com. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "Moo Shu Pork". foodnetwork.com. Retrieved January 28, 2019.