Taste Test

Datu Puti, Mama Sita’s, Silver Swan, and More: 7 Brands of Oyster Sauce

September 27, 2019

Any person who loves Asian cuisine undoubtedly has oyster sauce in their cooking arsenal. Made with oyster extract, sugar, salt, and water (thickened with cornstarch), the condiment is both sweet and salty with an umami after tone. And despite its name, it’s not at all fishy. Oyster sauce an easy tool to build flavor, especially meat and seafood stir-fry’s. Just adding a little bit brings a distinct savoriness to any dish. What supermarket brand deserves a spot in your pantry?

Note: To test the oyster sauces, we used each one to make chicken with oyster sauce. All flavor descriptions are what the oyster sauces taste as cooked, not as is.

Ajinomoto Sarsaya

Unlike the others, Ajinomoto’s Sarsaya comes in a resealable pack. That makes it a bang-for-your-buck option, because you’re able to squeeze the most out of it. The sauce is pale brown, with a thickness that makes it “like… nothing.” Advertised as “made with real oysters,” it tastes more like fish sauce than oyster sauce. It’s good, but we’re not looking for patis here.

Datu Puti Oysterrific

Datu Puti’s Oysterrific has a glue-like consistency, making it the thickest of the bunch. It exudes an odd odor that calls to mind Betadine antiseptic solution. Unfortunately, the smell carries over to the taste; which is bad news since the sauce stays on the palate pretty long. That said, a few of us agree that it still has that essential oyster-y element. Over-all, though, it “tastes like it’s made by workers who haven’t been paid.” So don’t buy it.

Mama Sita’s Oyster Sauce

We expected so much from Mama Sita’s Oyster Sauce. Sadly, it tasted more like iodine than Datu Puti’s Oysterrific did, prompting a member of the team to joke “I’d buy this if I scraped my knee.” Seriously though, the mid-thick, brown sauce masked all of the oyster flavor with whatever made it taste like medicine.

Mega Prime Choices Oyster Sauce

Mega Prime Choices’ easy squeeze bottle gives it our nod for the best packaging. The sauce is thick and gloopy, so it coats whatever you use it with very nicely. It has a good balance of sweetness and oyster-y-ness. “It’s like an introduction to oyster sauce,” and is actually something you can eat by itself (if you’re into that).

Mother’s Best Oyster Sauce

In both consistency and taste, Mother’s Best Oyster Sauce is more soy sauce than oyster sauce. It’s thin, yet is the saltiest of the lot. It brings nothing to the table when cooked. It’s kidding us by calling itself “oyster sauce.” If you need soy sauce and only have this in your pantry, go ahead and use it. It’s basically soy sauce anyway.

Ram Oyster Sauce

RAM’s Oyster Sauce is sweeter than the others, reminding us of siopao sauce. A member of the team also likens it to kecap manis. It’s thin, so you don’t really taste it when cooked. “It’s like it slid off (the chicken).” Nevertheless, it does evoke the taste you’d expect from chop suey—if the dish were slightly watered down.

Silver Swan Oyster Sauce

Right off the bottle, Silver Swan’s Oyster Sauce looks really thin. But after it’s cooked, it becomes way thicker; all the while maintaining it’s dark brown (almost black) hue. It’s very salty, but it truly tastes like seafood, complete with a somewhat briny aftertaste. It’s so oyster-y that that a member of the team comments that it “tastes like [she] put a whole oyster in [her] mouth.” It’s pretty strong though, so we recommend using it sparingly.

The Verdict: Silver Swan

Silver Swan Oyster Sauce’s obvious oyster-y flavor makes it the one we’d choose for cooking. “It’s good with food,” because it’s present in every bite. Plus, since it’s best not to use too much, it makes it a much more sulit choice. Mega Prime Choices Oyster Sauce’s well-balanced, intro-to-oyster-sauce comes at a very close second. We’ll even go ahead and say to use it if you’re not as experienced with the condiment in the kitchen.

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