We love Chinese food and Asian style recipes around here.
We also are MSG free, and I avoid food dyes. Usually, this causes problems because most Chinese food sauces are laden with preservatives. Many are imported from China, and I am beginning to mistrust that country as a food source. However, making the sauces from scratch is a daunting task (and in the case of soy sauce, not one I am willing to try!)
What to do?
Search out the big groceries, there are some new options and hidden gems!
I found a great brand that we are loving. What is in hoisin sauce? I don’t even know, so I am happy to buy it. I buy it off the shelf, but you can also find it online at Amazon or even cheaper at Vitacost. (Deal alert- if you are new to Vitacost, order through this link and you will get a $10 coupon!)
Soy Vay has some great tasting bottles sauces. Hoisin Garlic and Island Teriyaki, yum! I used the Hoisin Garlic to make my Chicken Satay Nuggets.
These Soy Vay products aren’t soy free or gluten free, however.
Bragg’s (yes, the Liquid Aminos people) also make an all natural pinapple based Hawaiian sauce and a ginger sesame sauce. No HFCS, no weird preservatives, dye free, and gluten free. Win! I find the sauces where the marinades are kept (usually near the salad dressings or barbecue sauce.)
I love Kikkoman soy sauce at Costco and buy it by the gallon (literally. And it’s cheap- 13 cents/oz!) Kikkoman oyster sauce is harder to find, but worth it (I also buy this by the gallon, from the Asian store.) The flavor of oyster sauce just can’t be recreated in the home kitchen and it adds an amazing amount of flavor. I prefer Kikkoman because I trust the quality, the label is in English, and it is MSG free.
I also start almost all my Asian style recipes with Spectrum Sesame Oil. It’s cheaper to buy a 16 oz. bottle of Spectrum than the tiny bottles of sesame oil in the Chinese section of the grocery store, plus I know it’s high quality. Watch for coupons on it at Whole Foods- every few months they run deals and I stock up! Get the darker brown toasted one- it’s loaded with flavor.
Frugal food tip- stir fry leftover rice in hot sesame oil, add a scrambled egg and some shredded carrots, cabbage, or even froz. mixed veggies, season with soy sauce and you’ll have hot fried rice for pennies! Cheap, healthy, good.
Little Soya soy sauce is gluten free, and comes in convenient fish shaped pouches for easy lunches to go. Love those things! You can’t get it off Amazon but it is carried at HEB and Whole Foods.
I don’t care for Sricha or fish sauce, but my husband loves it. What’s your favorite Asian sauce?
Blogging with integrity: I worked with HEB recently on the HEB Meal Maker challenge and created sponsored recipes for them in August, but I was in no way compensated for this post and HEB is not sponsoring this content in any way. I shop at HEB weekly and that is where I found the products. I have no current business relationship with Whole Foods, Costco, Bragg’s, Little Soya, Kikkoman, or Soy Vay, I just like their products and wanted to share them with you! Although- are you listening KIKKOMAN- I would love to be a brand ambassador for any of those brands! This post does contain affiliate links.