You’re probably wondering, do I really need to spend the extra money? I can just get the regular/cheaper version of these sauces at the Asian grocery store. 

You do not have to use them, but these four ingredients can add another layer of flavor to whatever you make. They make the food even more delicious. 

It’s worth a try, and that foodie in your life will really appreciate it.


This post is not sponsored. None of the links to products are affiliate links; they are provided so readers can learn more about the products. 

  1. 1 Artisanal soy sauces


    Kamebishi is one of Japan’s oldest soy sauce brewers. This brand brews its soy sauce using traditional methods (mushiro) and ages it. 

    The process creates a “refined soy sauce with a mellow and balanced flavor that is underpinned by a velvety, medium-bodied richness.” 

    The sauce is full of complexity and umami. 

    Depending on where you buy it and what bottle you buy, the price ranges from around $50 to $90 USD. 

    Keep in mind that it is an imported artisanal product, and a little goes a long way. 

    Here is a SortedFood review (skip to timestamp 8:57) with a chef’s and non-chef’s opinion on the product.

  2. 2 Purple bamboo salt


    Purple bamboo salt’s iron, potassium and calcium levels are higher than regular sea salt

    Salt is placed inside bamboo and roasted at high temperatures up to nine times. 

    There is a subtle bamboo flavor to the salt and no bitterness. It can allegedly improve your immune system. 

    This salt costs $35 and up.

  3. 3 Fish sauce


     Iwashi fish sauce uses Iwashi sardines, which are bigger and fatter than Mediterranean sardines. 

    The fish sauce is first aged two years and then aged again for a year in Japanese whisky barrels. The flavor is mellow and slightly sweet

    The fish sauce costs $30 and up.

  4. 4 Oyster sauce


    Megashef oyster sauce is made in Thailand. The company uses fresh rock oysters and smokes them for flavor before simmering them into a sauce. 

    It’s MSG-, artificial flavor- and gluten-free. 

    Although slightly difficult to get a hold of, it’s worth the extra effort. Stir-fry guru Grace Young calls it the best oyster sauce

    The oyster sauce is less than $20.


    What will be the first ingredient you use and what recipe will you use it in?


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Vivien Cheng

Vivien Cheng is a student pursuing a B.A. in Mandarin and a minor in international relations. She hopes to aid in policy-making.
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