My local Chinese restaurant (Happy Chef on King St, Sydney for anyone who's interested) does a very simple dish of a half crispy skin chicken, served with rice and a sauce that they call 'Santon sauce'. It's the most ludicrously tasty sauce I've come across, but I have no idea what the magic ingredients are. Here's what I know:
- It's about the consistency of, say, fish sauce or wine.
- It's a clear, pinkish red, about the colour and transparency you'd expect from a red wine vinegar.
- It's quite sweet, a bit sour, moderately salty.
- The non liquid ingredients are shredded chillies (which have probably soaking in the sauce for a while as far as I can see), shredded coriander (cillantro) and sliced spring onion (scallions).
- It has a strong, almost pungent taste which I think comes from something other than the chillies (although they undoubtedly contribute).
- I have a reasonably decent knowledge of oriental flavours, but there is at least one flavour component which I'm completely unable to identify, or even say what it's similar to (not helpful I know!). I think it's some sort of herb or spice, which does something similar to fenugreek in terms of its flavour curve (lots of presence in the aroma, initial taste, slow fade).
Santon sauce appears to be just a name used by this particular restaurant; I can't find reference to anything similar online. Does anyone recognise it or have any suspicions?
Ingredients it might contain:
- Sweet rice wine
- Rice wine vinegar
- Fish sauce?
Ingredients it probably doesn't contain: