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12 Asian Sauces (Besides Sriracha) to Keep in Your Pantry

Move over sriracha, because there's an entire cast of sauces from Asian cuisines to fill your pantry! Whether you're craving sweetness, saltiness, acidity or umami, here are the Asian sauces you need.

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Bowl of soy sauce with chopsticks on tableBill Oxford/gettyimages

Soy Sauce

With its multi-dimensional flavor, you really can’t go wrong with soy sauce. Splash it in dipping sauces, marinades, soups or whatever for extra umami and salt. If you are worried about sodium or gluten, fear not—Kikkoman makes different types of soy sauce for everyone. Don’t forget to check out how to make mama Wen’s soy sauce chicken.

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Spicy Shredded Chicken Meat Gravyyipengge/gettyimages

Chili Oil (Crisp)

Whether you want to add heat to a stir-fry or liven up a broth, chili oil and its crunchy counterpart chili crisp are essential. Try some Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp over anything (and everything!) or pour some S&B La-Yu over your next bowl of ramen or pile of gyoza.

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White Porcelain Plate, Sesame Oil And SesameSUNGSU HAN/gettyimages

Sesame Oil

This oil is mellow, toasty and a bit nutty. Toasted or “dark” sesame oil is best as a finishing touch to dishes, while “light” sesame oil is better to cook with. Drizzle some atop crisp salads, add to marinades or dipping sauces or pour over any soups or entrees for added depth.

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Recipe For Inari Sushi, A Traditional Japanese Home Cooked DishYuuji/gettyimages

Rice Vinegar

Partly tart and partly sweet, tangy rice vinegar is the foundation for a number of sauces, seasonings and marinades in many Asian cuisines. Try your hand at making sushi rice, salad dressing or a dipping sauce for homemade dumplings.

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Spooning Fish Sauce Into Bowl. Yum Khai Dao,edenexposed/gettyimages

Fish Sauce

No Southeast Asian meal is complete without fish sauce. This salty sauce made from fermented fish and krill is easily customizable with additions of garlic, splashes of lime, fresh chilies and sugar. Start your collection with Red Boat, Squid and Three Crabs fish sauces.

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Roast Duck Rice, Chinese Meal Of Roast Duck With Rice And VegetableMielPhotos2008/gettyimages

Hoisin Sauce

Made from fermented soybeans, this rich, salty and sweet sauce is often compared to American barbecue sauce. Hoisin sauce typically used as a part of dipping sauces, marinades or on its own in a variety of East and Southeast Asian dishes such as Peking duck or phở.

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Oyster Sauce.Gam1983/gettyimages

Oyster Sauce

This savory dark oyster sauce is umami in concentrate and a favorite in Chinese, Khmer, Vietnamese, Thai and Malay cuisines. Throw it over some sauteed vegetables, in soups, fried noodles or fried rice for extra salt and richness. Despite its name, there are vegetarian versions of oyster sauce available.

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Bibimbap Korean Mixed Rice Bowl With GochujangJustin Ong/gettyimages

Gochujang

With its red color and thick texture, this sweet, spicy and fermented paste is a staple in Korean cuisine. Depending on the type, gochujang can make dishes spicier, sweeter and or smokier in taste. It shines in bibimbap and tteokbokki, but also within salads, stews and marinated meats.

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Top View Of Deep Fried Snapper Fillets Stir Fried With Black Pepper, Onion, Bell Pepper, Carrot And Xo Sauce.Artit_Wongpradu/gettyimages

XO Sauce

This spicy and savory seafood sauce is a pillar in Cantonese cooking. Its relish-like mixture of dried seafood, onions, chilies, garlic and oil can be added while cooking or used as a condiment to enhance a dish’s taste and aroma. Taiwanese Penghu-style XO sauce with scallops is a must-try!

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Tortang Talong Is A Filipino Omelette Made By Pan Frying Grilled Whole Eggplants Dipped In An Egg Mixture Close Up In A Plate. Vertical Top ViewALLEKO/gettyimages

Banana Ketchup

Despite beginning as a culinary endeavor to appease the cravings of U.S. soldiers occupying the Philippines during World War II, this combination of mashed bananas, vinegar and spices is widely used in Filipino cuisine today. Try some Jufran on tortang talong (eggplant omelets), in Filipino-style spaghetti or as dipping sauce for some lumpia (egg rolls).

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Tamarind Sauce, Paste, Juice, Liquid In Mini Bowl.edenexposed/gettyimages

Tamarind Sauce

Somewhere at the intersection of sweet, sour and savory, tamarind sauce is a South and Southeast Asian favorite. Add this tangy flavor profile to soups, prepare it as a chutney or work it into an amazing pad Thai to celebrate the range of your taste buds.

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Western Cuisine Sweet Chili Sauce Made With Red Chili PepperTorsakarin/gettyimages

Chili Sauce

If you crave heat or sweetness, chili sauce is the way to go. While some varieties have more savory notes and transform soups and stir-fries, others provide sweet bursts of chili flake confetti and pair nicely with fried spring rolls and roasted meats.

Ashley Thuthao Keng Dam
Ashley Thuthao Keng Dam is a Khmer and Vietnamese American food researcher and food communicator who grew up in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, but currently lives in Turin, Italy. Even after years of studying eco-gastronomy in northern Italy and discovering the marvels of delicious food and cuisine, Thao still loves instant mac and cheese smothered in sriracha sauce. Thao writes, draws, photographs and speaks about food on under the name @ThaoEatWorld.