In this article, we’ll talk about Chinese plum sauce, including what it is, how it’s used, where to buy it, and how to store it.
What Is Chinese Plum Sauce?
Chinese Plum Sauce is a slightly sour but mostly sweet sauce made from plums, and sometimes apricots and/or pineapple, depending upon the brand you buy. It bears a faint resemblance to the duck sauce you get in packets at your favorite Chinese takeout place, only more flavorful (as it’s made with real ingredients, rather than corn syrup and artificial colorings!)
This ingredient is called sū méi jiàng in Chinese. It’s written: 苏梅酱 in simplified characters and 蘇梅醬 in traditional Chinese characters. (We’re providing both so that you don’t get confused with the labeling on the jar, as both simplified and Chinese characters are used by different brands.)
We also took a photo of the ingredients list on the Koon Chun jar, so you can see what’s in it, including sugar, rice vinegar, salted plums, ginger, and salted garlic and chilies.
How Is It Used?
Like duck sauce, plum sauce is used for dipping fried items like our Fried Wontons or Egg Rolls. Once in a while, we use it for special recipes like Sour Plum Roasted Duck.
Buying & Storing
We buy Koon Chun brand most often, but there are other brands available, including Lee Kum Kee. Find it in Chinese grocery stores or online.
Refrigerate after opening and always use a clean utensil when dipping into the jar to prevent contamination. It will last in the fridge for months!
Substitutions for Plum Sauce
If you can’t find plum sauce, you can substitute duck sauce. You can also use pickled plums to make our own homemade duck sauce recipe, which is similar in flavor (shown below, on the left).
Our Favorite Dishes That Use This Ingredient:
You can also serve plum sauce as a dipping sauce for:
- Fried Wontons
- Egg Rolls
- Vegetable Egg Rolls
- Spring Rolls
- Cream Cheese Wontons
- Takeout Style Fried Chicken Wings
If you have further questions about this ingredient, let us know in the comments––we try to answer every single one.