Shacha Sauce (also spelled sha cha or sacha) may be labeled as “Chinese BBQ Sauce” on the jar, but it is very different from the barbecue sauces you’ve had in the United States.

What it is, how it’s used, where to get some, and how to keep it safe are all covered in this article.

What is Shacha Sauce?

Oil, garlic, shallots, chilies, and seafood come together in the traditional Chinese condiment known as Shacha Sauce (shāchá jiàng, 沙茶酱). (usually brill fish and dried shrimp).

It tastes incredibly savory and only slightly fishy. The name means “sand tea sauce” in English. We can only speculate as to the origins of the name “Chinese BBQ sauce,” but it is commonly used to describe this condiment in English.

How Does it Work?

Fujian, Teochew (Chaozhou), and Taiwanese cuisines feature prominently in Shacha Sauce’s use. Soups, meat marinades (i.e., as a rub for roast meats, which is probably where its English translation to “Chinese BBQ Sauce” comes from), stir-fries, and dipping sauces all benefit from the umami flavor it imparts.

Shacha is fantastic as the dominant taste in a stir-fry. Taste our authentic Sha Cha Chicken and Sha Cha Beef, and you’ll see what we mean.

Acquisition and Storage

When we need shacha sauce, we always use the ubiquitous Bullhead brand because it’s reliable and affordable. It’s so well-known that some people even refer to it as “Bullhead sauce.” You can find it in any supermarket that sells Chinese food, or you can order it online (a good option if you don’t have a Chinese supermarket nearby, though you will definitely pay a bit more if you buy online).

The vegetarian shacha sauce brand is one example of the many available options. (We understand that the logo is off-putting at first glance; however, it is a Buddhist symbol when viewed in this and its original context.)

  • The sealed container allows it to keep for months in the fridge.
  • Always use a clean spoon or fork when sampling the jar’s contents.
  • Do not use past the expiration date indicated.

Possible Alternatives To Shacha Sauce

Its closest equivalent is XO sauce, though XO sauce is trickier to come by! Because it uses more expensive ingredients like dried shrimp and scallops, it is also significantly more costly. If you’re interested, we do have an XO sauce recipe.

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