I discovered Hoisin Sauce many years ago with my friend Jason, who was quite the adventurer and would drag me to all sorts of strange Vietnamese restaurants, and would proceed to order (for both of us) strange cuts of meats I was unaware you could eat, but are quite delicious. Of course, multiple healthy and generous servings of Hoisin sauce were always on hand to help enhace the flavors of whatever we were eating.
I haven’t talked to Jason in over 10 years, but whenever I go to a Vietnamese soup place, or Pho, I always make sure to order the tripes, tendons, and whatever else is weird. If these things are unavailable, I label the restaurant as unauthentic and walk out.
Of course, the real discovery here is Hoisin Sauce, a sweet and extremely salty sauce that can be used both for dipping and for cooking. In the last 10 years I’ve discovered all sorts of ways to incorporate it in my food, and it goes well with everything. Almost. Hoisin sauce is, however, not exactly cheap when bought at the grocery store, which is why I was so happy to find the Lee Kum Kee-brand Hoisin Sauce at my local Costco!
Don’t get me wrong. Even when you buy it at the grocery store, a small jar is only about $5, but that’s usually for about 250 ml. As you can see from the picture above, the Costco-size Hoisin Sauce squeeze bottle contains a whopping 797 ml, and costs a ridiculous $3.89.
For those making the calculations, don’t. Let me. As you can see from the Lee Kuym Kee Hoisin Sauce Nutrition Facts sheet to the left, each serving is 30 ml, which turns out to be 2 tablespoons. Each bottle thus contains 26.5 servings.
Through the power of simple math, we discover that each serving of Hoisin Sauce costs 14.7 pennies, if you shop at Costco.
Now it’s clear to me that Hoisin Sauce is awesome, but it does have its drawbacks. If you’re using it to cook, it’s pretty easy to stick to one serving, but as a dipping sauce, I go through that stuff like it’s going out of style (it’s not), and as the Nutrition Fact sheet plainly points out, each serving contains an incredible 20 grams of sugar, and over a gram of salt, which is 44% of the daily recommended value.
I dare you to have just one serving.
Hoisin sauce is the kind of condiment that will leave you with sausage fingers caused by crazy water retention, but it’s totally worth it. Just like Sriracha (rooster sauce), it transforms any ordinary meal into a delightful culinary masterpiece.
I’m happy that I can finally buy Hoisin Sauce at Costco. Of course, Costco being Costco, I will buy 3 or 4 bottles in case they decide not to carry it anymore. I hope I’m not already too late.