Confused by the abundance of bean sauces at your local Asian grocery? Know this: ground bean sauce and brown bean sauce are essentially identical. They consist of soy beans, salt, and a thickener like wheat flour.

Frequently, stuff labeled “ground bean sauce” is ground consistently fine, where “brown bean sauce” is may or may not have some larger chunks of bean. But this standard is not consistently held by all the sauce manufacturers.

klieglight2 likes Koon Chun brand. He gets their plain old “bean sauce”, which still has unground bean bits in it; it has a wonderfully deep, earthy flavor.

What is different from all of the above is “sweet soybean sauce”, which is as sweet as hoisin sauce. Don’t get the sweet stuff unless the recipe specifically calls for it.

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ground bean sauce v. brown bean sauce

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