I've always wondered what sauce they served with Peking Duck at various Chinese restaurants (at least in Australia anyway). Whenever I order Peking duck as takeout, they normally provide a cute little container with a dark liquidy sauce which has a rather sweet taste.

I'm inclined to believe that it could be sweet bean sauce as suggested at various places on the internet but from what I can tell, it's supposed to have a thick consistency. However, this is not the case here. Any ideas what it could be?

It's consistency and colour is very reminiscent of soy sauce but the taste is sweet, like black bean.

5 Answers 5


Okay, all these answers have strange spellings, it should be spelt Hoisin sauce, and should say 海鲜酱 on the bottle, it means "Seafood sauce" though contains no seafood, it's about 50% sugar.

In Australia this is what you'll find in restaurants, and you'll be able to find the Lee Kum Kee brand at Chinese shops, and probably also in Coles:

Hoisin sauce

Actually, traditionally, 烤鸭 (originally called 烧鸭子) was served with sweet bean sauce (甜面酱,) not Hoisin sauce (海鲜酱) and you will find the restaurants in Beijing still serving it with the traditional sauce. Pretty sure Hoisin is used in Chinese restaurants in Australia because they're mostly Cantonese (not Beijingers) and used a sauce familiar to them. North vs South, you know. Also, Hoisin sauce is sweeter than sweet bean sauce, and so more closely aligns with the Caucasian Australian palate.

Note: Peking = Beijing.

Furthermore, since it's less viscose than it's supposed to be, I believe it could have to do with one of two things: the heat has made it less thick, and/or they water it down so it doesn't cost as much. I probably wouldn't eat there lol >_<

  • One other possibility on your last paragraph is that recently I bought some Fountain Hoisin sauce which is made in Australia and it's sweeter, thinner and cheaper than Lee Kum Kee (which I much prefer) so maybe some cheap places are using that.
    – PeterJ
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 13:01

In America that sauce is hoisin sauce or possibly (very much less likely) duck sauce or plum sauce. Any of these can be found for purchase easily, or they can be made from scratch.

  • 1
    Plum sauce is also sometimes used as well.
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:25
  • @GdD Absolutely, I will add that to my answer.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:28
  • Yep, hoisin sauce is one of those _secret_ingredients. My stew couldn't be as wonderful as it is without it and the Cabernet Sauvignon.
    – Escoce
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 17:25
  • However, the questions description of the sauce has it being liquidy, so I'll go with duck sauce for this question. Duck sauce is a lot thinner than hoisen which is thick enough to be heaped.
    – Escoce
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 17:27
  • It seems to be a regional thing, but I'm used to "duck sauce" being more orange and translucent ... not dark at all. See smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-is-duck-sauce-180953993
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 23:20

My grandson adores duck pancakes so I tend to buy Sweet Hoisen Sauce in a squeezy bottle from the Asian supermarket.

However, assuming this isn't easily available you can take any shop bought Duck / Hoisen sauce and customise although they tend to be very strong.

I find mixing in some runny honey works best to counteract the strength.

Ideally, heat a little of the sauce (very very careful microwaving essential) then add the honey a little at a time to your own taste.

I also do a dipping sauce the kids love.

Light soy sauce Dash of Mirin Touch of Oyster (or Black Bean for a variation) Sauce

Chopped chilli, spring onion, ginger, garlic - all to your own taste.

Ideally marinate overnight.

Hope this assists.


It is true that traditionally Peking Duck is eaten with Hoison Sauce or Duck Sauce, however based on your description it doesn't sound like either of these. Hoisin Sauce is really thick, and Duck Sauce isn't a dark color.

However I know that a lot of Chinese restaurants have special base brown sauce they use by combining (different ratios for different restaurants that is very similar to how mexican restaurant have their own unique salsa)soy sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce, meat stock, and other sauces. This sauce will be the base sauce for some of their brown sauces by adding additional seasoning. So the Chicken and Broccoli dish and the Szechuan Chicken dishes will usually start from the same sauce base.

To me it sounds like the sauce you had is the restaurant's sweetened "house" brown sauce. This sauce is usually also served with dumplings. And often times contain sesame oil.


Can't believe none of the answers got it right. Traditionally (at least in Beijing or China in general) Peking duck is eaten with sweet bean sauce. If you go to authentic Chinese restaurants abroad, it'd be the same!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.