Duck sauce is a classic accompaniment to spring rolls, egg rolls, and other fried foods in Westernized Chinese cuisine. It’s a sweet-and-sour sauce made with fruit such as plum, apricot, peaches, or pineapple, plus vinegar and a little chile.
Also called plum sauce, it got its name when restaurants in the United States started serving it with Peking Duck, which is actually traditionally served with a similar sauce, hoisin (which also has a confusing name since hoisin means “seafood,” although it’s not traditionally served with that).
From a Western perspective, duck sauce is a sort of agrodolce, and is similarly adaptable, suitable with duck or other game meat, or pork, as well as the aforementioned fried foods. It can also add zing to mayonnaise or dairy-based sauces.
Market research firm Datassential reports that 57% of the United States population knows about duck sauce with awareness highest among consumers in the Northeast as well as vegan and vegetarians.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this week’s Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using duck sauce on its menu.