10 Essential Chinese Spices and Sauces

Duck Sauce

Duck sauce suffers from an identity crisis of sorts, considering that it's actually made primarily from plums -- not duck, as its name implies. The sauce does have a relationship with the delicious fowl, though, since it was developed for dipping bites of roast duck. But you don't need to stifle the possibilities of duck sauce with its namesake bird, since it's actually also commonly used with chicken and beef dishes. In fact, most Americans recognize the sweet and spicy orange sauce as the substance eggrolls are commonly dipped into.

Typically, plums are the main ingredient, though many recipes also incorporate peaches, dried apricots, bell peppers, vinegar, ginger and sugar. Combined, the ingredients give duck sauce its trademark sweet, tangy taste that Americans and lovers of authentic Chinese cuisine have grown to love.