We have all been there... You open your fridge. You grab a bottle of soy sauce and do the sniff test. You flip over the bottle looking for the expiration date and think about the soy sauce’s shelf life. You try to remember how long ago did you buy it and when you last used it.
AsianSupper investigates what the shelf life for Asian condiments are after they are opened. What we found out? It varies, depending on the type of sauce and even the specific brand. Properly stored, all sauces should have a shelf life of at least one to three months. On the Kikkoman website, their recommendation is “For the best quality, we recommend using the sauces within one month of opening.” Hmm... this seemed to contradict all my cooking memories growing up. And so, I did what any good Asian daughter would do. I asked the Asian Supper moms (Umma and Nang).
Below are Asian Supper’s table of condiments to 5 popular Asian sauces:
Oyster sauce = 6 months max, once it is opened in the refrigerator.
Soy sauce = until you finish using it. In Asian countries, older soy sauce is revered.
Fish sauce = depending how salty it is, but it's been boiled down to very long time, and it should last for a long time in the refrigerator - 1 yr or longer, I can say.
Hoisin sauce = It has starch, and different seasoning and vinegar - about 5-6 months when opened
Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Sauce) = Usually it lasts for a long time - longer in the refrigeration, I suppose. In Korea, they usually kept it in a big hangari (ceramic jar) outside, and kept it forever - usually gochujang and doenjang, they say the longer you kept the better it taste...
Some tips on keeping your Asian sauces fresh:
• Make sure the opening of the bottle is clean at all times
• Always keep the container tightly sealed
• Store non-refrigerated sauces in the refrigerator to keep the flavor at its peak longer (even if refrigeration is not required)
• Buy smaller bottles (especially if you are new to Asian cooking at home). Asian Supper recommends buying the smallest bottle possible for your recipes. Not only does it save space, it ensures that your Asian condiments and sauces have the highest peak of flavor.
Want us to investigate what the condiment shelf life is for other Asian sauces or ingredients? Tell us in the comments section and we’ll compile an updated list!