The Ultimate Guide For Hoisin Sauce vs Oyster Sauce

The ultimate guide hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce
The ultimate guide hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce

The ultimate guide: Hoisin sauce vs Oyster sauce

The comparison between hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce is a long-standing unspoken feud. It’s about time we sort out the bone of contention between these two sauces.

The comparison between Hoisin sauce vs Oyster sauce is eminent in their names. Oyster sauce has a taste hint of oyster, it is also tastier. On the other hand, hoisin sauce is a vegan option, it is also sweeter than oyster sauce.

These two sauces are both Asian dishes, they are tasty, highly flavourful, and also adds a degree of color to one’s diet.

If you are familiar with Chinese dishes or the hoisin sauce, you will know that it actually means seafood.

It’s actually very funny to know that hoisin means seafood when there is no seafood in the dish. How hilarious is this?

A lot of people avoid hoisin sauce because they believe it contains seafood however, it does not.

As we progress in the article, we might likely find out why hoisin sauce is named seafood when it doesn’t actually contain seafood.

Are you interested in Chinese food or are you planning to try out some Chinese dishes?

I strongly recommend that you spare a moment to read this article as it will provide you with useful information you need about Chinese sauces.

Before we begin the comparison between Hoisin sauce vs Oyster sauce? Let’s look at the uniqueness of each sauce.

The ultimate guide hoisin vs oyster sauce
The ultimate guide hoisin vs oyster sauce

What is Hoisin sauce?

The first thing to know about hoisin sauce is, it is a vegan option. Contrary to the majority belief that vegetarian foods are green, healthy, and boring.

It does not fit into this description, it is not green and it also has a sweet taste.

Also, it is quite popular among Chinese dishes, especially for vegetarians. It is made from soybeans.

I’m sure you are wondering how exactly is a sauce made from beans? Soybeans are fermented, then it is turned into a paste and other ingredients such as vinegar, salt, garlic, thickeners, and sweetness are added.

Hoisin sauce has a rich umami flavor, if you read the article on what does duck taste like, you will be familiar with the word “umami flavor “

The umami flavor (savory taste) of Hoisin sauce is highly dependent on the fermentation process. It has a rich reddish-brown color that doesn’t really differentiate it from the oyster sauce which is also dark brown in color.

In order to compare Hoisin sauce vs Oyster sauce let’s briefly talk about the Oyster sauce.

What is oyster sauce?

This is also one of the important sauces in Chinese dishes, from the name you can tell that it is made from oysters. According to Collins dictionary, an oyster is a large flat shellfish. Some oysters are edible and others produce valuable objects called pearls.

Firstly, the oyster undergoes a caramelizing process where it is cooked until it becomes brown. Then other ingredients like salt, corn starch (serves as a thickener) are added to the sauce.

Most people are of the opinion that oyster sauce tastes like fish, actually, it has just a slight fish taste. If you had an oyster sauce with a strong fish taste, then, it is probably a low-quality oyster sauce.

Oyster sauces are typically dark brown or black, they are saltier than Hoisin sauce.

Differences between hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce

Hoisin sauce differs from oyster sauce in several ways including the choice of ingredients, taste, smell, texture, and nutritional facts.

  1. Choice of ingredients

This is one of the major differences between oyster sauce vs hoisin sauce. Despite their similarity in appearance, their preparation is completely different ingredients.

It is important to know that the ingredient mentioned are the basic ingredients. However, depending on the brand you purchase, there might be more or fewer ingredients.

Before making a purchase, look through the ingredient content.

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is the vegetarian choice, it is made with ingredients that suit the dietary content of vegetarians.

Ingredients used in the preparation of hoisin sauce include;

  1. Soybean paste(fermented)
  2. Wheat flour
  3. Water
  4. Garlic
  5. Preservatives such as salt and vinegar
  6. Preservative
  7. Sesame seeds
  8. Chili

Hoisin sauce does not contain dairy or animal products.

Oyster Sauce

Unlike hoisin sauce, the oyster sauce contains animal products. To prepare oyster sauce, you need ingredients like;

  • Oyster extract
  • Starch
  • Thickeners
  • Preservatives
  • Water
  • Flavors or sweeteners
  1. Nutritional facts: Hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce

Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce are not nutrient-dense. They contain very little amount of nutrients; they are widely known for their taste and flavor, not nutrition.

If you want to minimize your intake of salt, then hoisin sauce and oyster sauce should not be part of your diet.

Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce have high levels of sodium which is due to their high salt content. Although, the amount of salt present in hoisin sauce is less than the amount present in oyster sauce.

The major difference between the nutrition of hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce is highly dependent on the choice of ingredients.

Hoisin sauce

Although hoisin sauce contains a high level of sodium, it is still a better option than oyster sauce. It also contains fat and a little amount of protein.

This sauce contains lots of sugar, therefore it is not a healthy choice for diabetic patients or people who detest foods with high sugar content.

One serving of hoisin sauce contains about 2 tablespoons of sugar.

The ultimate guide hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce
The ultimate guide hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce

Oyster sauce

The amount of sodium in oyster sauce is higher than that in hoisin sauce. Oyster is also lower in nutrients than hoisin sauce.

It does not contain enough fat or protein which are essential nutrients that the body requires in order to function properly.

However, it has a lower amount of sugar. The lower amount of fat and sugar present in the oyster sauce makes it a good dieting option.

  1. Taste

It is very important that you know the taste differences between these two sauces, this is very imperative in differentiating hoisin sauce from the oyster sauce.

Hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce are both flavourful, they both have a rich savory taste which is a combination of salty and sweet.

Oyster sauce

The sauce with a little bit of fish or seafood taste is the oyster sauce. It is also a combination of different tastes including sweet, spicy, and salty.

It is slightly sweet and saltier than hoisin sauce. The fishy oyster taste is highly noticeable in high-quality brands; however, the pungent odor is extreme in brands of lower quality.

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce has a greater quantity of sugar than oyster sauce, hence, it is sweeter than oyster sauce. The umami flavor is unique to both oysters as well as hoisin sauce.

It has no fish extract or any other animal or dairy products that affect its taste. The fermentation process of soybeans gives hoisin sauce a sweet and fruity flavor.

This reddish-brown sauce is a combination of different tastes including, spicy, salty, and sweet.

Any variation in the taste of hoisin sauce is due to varying ingredients.

  1. Smell

Hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce smells differently because of their varying different ingredients.

While oyster sauce has a mild fishy or seafood smell, hoisin has a sweet smell just like its taste.

How to use hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce

Hoisin and oyster sauce have a similar use, if you are familiar with Chinese dishes, you should know that it is part of most Chinese cuisines.

It is used in making noodles, vinaigrette, and stir-fry. Hoisin is useful in the preparation of dip which you can use to eat your dumplings or spring rolls.

Furthermore, hoisin sauce adds a beautiful shine to chicken, duck, or turkey. However, you need to dilute the sauce to reduce its strong flavor.

Oyster sauce is also useful in preparing chow mein and kung pao shrimp.

Shelf life

Hoisin sauce lasts for 1 year or a year and 6 months when the seal is broken. If the seal is not open, it can last for 2 years and above.

Ensure that you refrigerate hoisin sauce regularly to prevent it from forming mold.

Oyster sauce can last for 6 -12 months after opening the seal, after which it loses its flavor.


This is the end of this food challenge featuring hoisin sauce vs oyster sauce. Oyster sauce and hoisin sauce have unique features that are peculiar to each other.

The choice is yours to make, if you try out this sauce, share your experiences with us in the comment section below.