If you’ve been out to eat at a Cantonese-style restaurant before, chances are you’ve had plum sauce. The sweet, sour, sticky deliciousness of plum sauce is hard to find elsewhere and makes for some of the best dipping sauces.
However, if you’ve got eggrolls at home or are simply craving some plum sauce and don’t have any, it can feel like all hope is lost. Don’t worry though; here are some things you can use to substitute for plum sauce.
Plum sauce can be substituted with hoisin, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and teriyaki sauce. While none of these sauces have the exact flavor profile of the plum sauce, they’re often used in the same places and have equal if not more satisfying and complex flavors.
If you can’t find plum sauce or are freshly out, here’s a list of a some substitutes that won’t exactly fill in that plum sauce-sized gap but will do a pretty good job.
If looking to replace plum sauce, duck sauce is definitely your best bet.
Duck sauce is an orange, syrupy sweet sauce made with apricots, pineapples, peaches, and sometimes plums. The fruits are added with vinegar, sugar, ginger, and chilies to make a sweet and umami combo that is killer with fried foods.
Duck sauce gets its name from being paired with roast or fried duck. The other sauce usually paired with dishes like Peking Duck? Plum sauce.
This classic of Chinese-American takeout joints is essentially a thick syrup made of different kinds of sugars and vinegar. The combination of sweet and sour pairs magnificently with savory and fried food items, making this sauce one of the most popular Chinese takeout items.
Sweet and sour sauce can be made without too much fuss at home, but if you can find the store-bought stuff, go ahead and grab it.
Sweet and sour sauce is further from Plum sauce than duck sauce, but it can get the job done. Sweet and sour sauce is more thin and tart but pairs exceptionally well with fried foods nonetheless.
This savory, sweet, soy-based sauce is another staple of Asian-American food coming from a Japanese flavor background. The sauce, which gets its name from its shine provided by adding sugars in the process of heating it, makes for another excellent sweet dip.
The soy sauce in teriyaki adds a whole new flavor profile farther away from Plum sauce, but it pairs just as well with everything from egg rolls to stir-fried noodles.
Last but certainly not least is the king of Asian sauces: Hoisin.
The flavor of Hoisin is actually rather close to Plum sauce because of its distinct sweetness. However, Hoisin adds a number of spices and ferment-y umami to up the flavor.
Hoisin is a perfect pairing for fried Chinese foods and is one of the main condiments served with duck.
Whether you’ve freshly run out of Plum Sauce or can’t find any near you, there are plenty of condiments you could use instead. Duck sauce and sweet and sour sauce have all the sweetness of plum sauce with extra tart. Teriyaki and hoisin take all that sweet and up the savory.