Many condiment lovers know just how significant the impact of duck sauce is in the Eastern or Midwest US culture.
This jelly-like substance is a famous packet sauce that usually comes with Chinese takeouts.
It’s typically used with some of the most popular Asian dishes/snacks, such as egg rolls, crispy noodles, etc.
Despite its growing presence in many cultures, the condiment is still unknown to many.
You may have heard of it, but do you know what does duck sauce taste like? If the answer is no, that’s what we’re here to discuss.
So, stick around because things will get saucy soon.
What is Duck Sauce?
Duck sauce, as the name suggests, is a type of condiment typically used with dishes containing duck meat.
The sauce is often used as a spread or a dipping sauce, especially for dishes like dumplings, french fries, or fried wontons.
The sauce is generally associated with its Asian-style flavor, which given its history, is accurate.
The duck sauce came into development in the states when Chinese immigrants could not find a sauce for the popular duck delicacy, Peking duck.
Well, at least that’s the shorter version of it.
The earlier sauce versions included combining sweet bean paste with soy sauce.
They improvised and added sweet bean paste to soy sauce, which produced an early version of what we know today as duck sauce.
Today, duck sauce is available with several brands splattered across the market.
The sauce combines various ingredients, such as vinegar, chili pepper, ginger, and sugar.
It is generally made from fruits such as apricots, plums, and apples.
What Does Duck Sauce Taste Like?
If you’ve tried duck sauce before, you’d know that the condiment has a distinct sweet & sour taste.
It goes hand-in-hand with Chinese cuisine and is ideally used as a popular dipping sauce.
Made from sugar, dried fruit, and various spices, duck sauce contains a sweet and rich flavor.
The sweet notes of the sauce are the result of fruits such as apricots, while the zesty notes are balanced with the help of ingredients like vinegar and spices.
Although duck sauces are found in large varieties and brands today, most of the common duck sauces will produce a distinct flavor profile.
It will be tangy but not tarty, fruity yet full enough to be used in various ways.
In terms of consistency, duck sauces closely resemble orange marmalade but without bitterness.
Texture-wise, you’ll find that mass-produced duck sauces are very smooth, but some do contain bits of fruit.
Both commercial and homemade sauces are made similarly.
However, there are certain differences in terms of nutritional value depending on the brand and use of ingredients as well.
Given its contents of corn syrup, apricots, vinegar, etc.
, duck sauces are often associated with health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
So, be on the lookout if you have any of these health issues.
On another note, homemade duck sauces may be slightly healthier as you can control the number of additives or sugar added to the sauce.
Since it’s primarily used as a condiment, most of the nutritional value will also come from what you choose to serve with the sauce.
How to Make Duck Sauce?
Making duck sauce at home will largely depend on your region as well as the ingredients used.
This is because different areas of the US have different types of duck sauce.
Usually, Chinese takeout restaurants around the East Coast or Midwest will likely pack small packets of duck sauce, which are orange in color.
Meanwhile, New England diners usually give out darker and chunkier ones.
So, if you’re planning to create a more traditionally inspired duck sauce, you’ll have to go with apricots which produce the sweetness and tartness of the sauce.
However, if you want to create a duck sauce without apricots, you can also go for other fruits, such as apples.
It’s another fruit that blends suitably with the salty-sweet flavor of traditional duck sauces.
Additionally, you can also add some ginger for an extra kick.
Another alternative is to use fruit juice instead of apricots.
You can mix it up with vinegar and sugar, and voila, you have a delicious duck sauce at your disposal.
One more method to create a tasty duck sauce is to use oranges in place of apricots.
Slice them up thinly to make it easier to coat the duck or chicken.
You can also squeeze some lemon juice to add more flavor.
In addition, if you have any sugar-related health concerns, you can also use natural sweeteners such as honey to balance the sauce’s sweetness.
What Does Duck Taste Good with?
As mentioned earlier, duck sauce alone does not offer many health benefits, but when the sauce is paired with different food items, it can bring out several nutritional values.
Fortunately, duck sauce is the kind of sauce that can go with several food items – be it snacks or full-course meals.
Due to its high calorie and sugar content, it’s crucial to use the moderately when pairing it with other dishes.
If you’re a more protein-based person, you can lightly drizzle the sauce over fish, red meat, or chicken.
It can also go well with lighter snacks such as noodles, spring rolls, egg rolls, etc.
When pairing with dishes, going moderate is highly recommended as it can actually help bring out more flavor instead of overpowering the entire dish.
If you’re trying out the sauce for the first time, you can pair it with the original dish, Peking duck.
It’s a well-known combination that has garnered many fans over the years.
As with most condiments, duck sauce can also be paired with various dishes.
Moreover, it can be used against fried appetizers such as wontons, rolls, fried chicken, shrimp toast, etc.
The options are limitless when it comes to pairing dishes with the infamous duck sauce.
You can go from full-course meals and barbecues to even regular snacks like pizza, fries, etc.
Duck sauce is undoubtedly one of the most versatile condiments currently available.
Its distinct sweet & sour flavor has become a fan favorite among Americans, and it can be found abundantly at your closest grocery store.
So, if you’re planning on spicing up your snacks or dishes, give the duck sauce a try.
If you’re unsure, you can try pairing it with some of the combinations we have provided above.