Oyster Sauce Vs Fish Sauce – Know the Difference

Oyster sauce and fish sauce are two of the commonly used sauces that add extra flavour and provide you with completely different tastes in delicacies. These sauces are generally used in Chinese dishes but are popular in the rest of the Asian countries and also in West.

Fish sauce has a very intense flavour and thus used moderately; while oyster sauce is a thicker, brown and concentrated sauce made by cooking oysters. Soy sauce taste is very similar to oyster sauce, while the flavour of fish sauce is very sharp and hard to replace. There are many basic differences between oyster and fish sauce in terms of preparation, ingredients, variations and uses. Here is a comprehensive study on both of them –

oyster sauce Vs fish sauce

Ingredients Used

  • Fish sauce is prepared by fermenting fish with salt. This sauce can be prepared from both dried and raw fish. In many places they use specific variety of fish or mix of fish for the preparation of this sauce. The fish is fermented inside a wooden box and is then pressed slowly to obtain the sauce.
  • Oyster sauce on the other hand is traditionally prepared by boiling oyster extract at a low temperature to obtain a thick sauce. Then variety of flavours and preservatives are added to this sauce. Corn starch, artificial flavourings and colour are usually used to thicken the sauce.

Difference in Flavour

  • Oyster sauce is made by reducing oysters so it has a sweet taste along with a salty tinge. Oyster sauce has a much milder aroma as compared to fish sauce and can be used straight away.
  • On the other hand fish sauce has a nuttier taste and is more salty. This sauce comes with a fishy smell but this smell can be removed by mixing small amount of lime juice in this sauce.

Different Uses

  • Other sauces are also prepared by fish sauce and can be used as a good condiment in casseroles, salads, soups and pickles.
  • Oyster sauce is mainly used in dishes like chow mien and stir fries to get a Chinese flavour.


  • Generally oyster sauce is prepared by boiling oysters and reducing them to get an intense thick sauce but many cheaper variations of this sauce is also available in the market. Artificial flavours are also used for the preparation but this makes the sauce lose its essence.
  • Fish sauce is made by using variety of fishes and sea food but it can also be made by using sardines, anchovies and even by using squid.

The above distinctions between oyster sauce and fish sauce would help you to strike the difference between the two.