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The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Perhaps the best thing to come out of our modern world is the food.

You can eat authentic Chinese and Mexican cuisine without needing to leave your city.

With a little bit of cooking experience, you don’t even need to leave your house.

Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular foods in the world.

It is so common that it has become some people’s favorite even in other countries.

An essential part of any Asian dish is the sauce, and Plum sauce is one of the most useful and delicious condiments to come from China.

It’s not the only one though, listed here are 5 of the Best Substitutes for plum sauce.

What is Plum Sauce?

what is plum sauce

Plum sauce is a sweet and sour condiment used in Chinese food, like ketchup or mayonnaise.

It is made from plums, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and peppers.

This sauce has a delightful flavor that compliments Asia’s savory and spicy food.

Plum sauce is incredibly versatile; its complex taste has many uses:

  • It can be used as a dipping sauce for rolls, dumplings, wontons, and fried chicken.
  • You can add plum sauce to a stir fry to enhance flavor.
  • Plum sauce can be used as a basting sauce or a glaze.
  • You can use it for making marinades.
  • It can be added to salad dressings.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is easily found in many supermarkets and Asian stores, but you may want something else.

Here are some of the best substitutes for plum sauce.

1 – Duck Sauce

duck sauce

This is the best substitute for plum sauce if you want something similar.

Duck sauce is made from similar ingredients as plum sauce, sometimes apricots, pineapples, or peaches are used in place of plums.

The earliest version of duck sauce was served with Peking duck in China.

It was called sweet bean sauce and had more spice and less sweet.

After Chinese immigrants came to America, they created the modern version.

Duck sauce goes well with poultry, of course, and noodles, rice, and rolls.

That is not the only use for it, though.

All the uses for plum sauce mentioned above can be applied to duck sauce.

2 – Teriyaki Sauce

teriyaki sauce

Japanese cuisine uses a technique called Teriyaki, in which you grill food with a glaze of soy sauce and sake.

In North America, any dish prepared with the sauce can be called Teriyaki.

Seattle, Washington, has a significant demand for Teriyaki dishes, with over 83 restaurants having “teriyaki” in their name.

Teriyaki sauce contains brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and honey, making it healthy and vegan.

It will go nicely with meats or salads.

Making it home is quite simple; you can make it in 10 minutes from easy-to-get ingredients.

3 – Sweet and Sour Sauce

sweet and sour sauce

This sauce is typically made by mixing honey or sugar with soy sauce or rice vinegar; this gives it the name “sweet and sour”.

Sweet and sour sauce typically has a thinner consistency than plum sauce.

You can find this sauce at any Chinese restaurant and most stores.

However, there is nothing like making it fresh.

It is pretty simple to make this sauce at home, with various recipes to suit your taste.

You can easily substitute this sauce for plum sauce for most cooking recipes.

You can also use this sauce as a dip if you need it.

Just make the sauce thicker, and it will be perfect.

4 – Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce

Cantonese cooking often uses this sauce as a glaze for meat or in addition to stir-fried dishes.

While it is not as easy to find as some of the other sauces on this list, many stores will have it.

Hoisin sauce is also sometimes called Peking sauce.

If you’ve never tasted this sauce before, give it a try at a restaurant before experimenting.

Its fermented soybean base gives it a strong taste, which some may not like.

Hoisin sauce is thick, with a strong salty taste, though there are notes of sweetness in it.

You may need to reduce the amount of hoisin sauce in the recipe due to its thickness.

5 – Char Siu Sauce

char siu sauce

Last on this list we have another sauce from Cantonese cuisine.

The name char siu refers to barbecued pork that is often eaten with rice or put into noodle soups.

The name translates to “fork roasted,” which is how the meat is prepared.

Char siu is sometimes called Chinese barbecue sauce, but you can easily use it for other recipes.

This delicious condiment can be used on grilled vegetables, added to stir-fries, or drizzled on rice.

It is simple to make yourself, as no cooking is involved.


Asian cooking is all about finding your own recipe.

Most families in Asia will have their recipes handed down through the generations, and this tradition has made so many immigrants successful restaurant owners.

With the sauces listed here, you will be well on your way to discovering your own style.

Many of the sauces here have changed considerably from their origin.

Any dish should always be adapted to the eater, so let your taste guide you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some possible substitutions for Plum Sauce?

If you don’t have plum sauce, there are several alternatives that can be used as substitutes. Hoisin sauce is a popular option for dishes like Chinese takeout and dim sum.

Soy sauce and oyster sauce can also be used, while sweet chili sauce is another good option.

Other substitutions include honey and balsamic vinegar, peanut butter and jelly, or even a mix of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

Is plum sauce similar to sweet and sour sauce?

Plum sauce and sweet and sour sauce share some common ingredients, but they have different flavor profiles.

Plum sauce is a dark-colored condiment with a sweet and slightly spicy taste, while sweet and sour sauce is typically lighter in color, sweeter, and tangy.

What does Korean plum sauce taste like?

Korean plum sauce is typically made with gochujang, a spicy red chili paste. It also contains other ingredients like garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sugar for sweetness.

The result is a savory condiment with a sweet-spicy taste that adds flavor to various dishes.

In addition to being used as an ingredient in cooking, it can also be used as a dipping sauce. It is commonly used on dishes like Korean fried chicken, dumplings, and noodles.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Duck Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Char Siu Sauce


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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