Chinese BBQ Sauce
ChefTalk.com Top Picks
Lee Kum Kee brand is pretty good. But it's mostly hoisin and various sugars. Buy some hoisin and tweak from there. Smoke or grill some onion, garlic, chiles for smoky flavor. Puree and begin to tweak the hoisin. Maybe some rice vinegar, some rock sugar, five spice....
If you want to reproduce flavor similar to a bbq sauce from a Chinese restaurant, I would recommend Chinese soy sauce as soy sauce from the various Asian countries all have distinctly different flavors. I was raised on Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce --my Korean and Chinese friends hate Kikkoman. My Japanese cousins will use both Japanese an Korean soy sauce because a lot of Japanese dishes evolved from Korean cuisine. I'll use Korean soy sauce for Korean dishes, but I use Kikkoman in all other Asian dishes because I'm so familiar with that flavor-- which is a kinder way of saying I don't like Chinese soy sauce.
1. Lee Kum Kee Is the Chinese brand most most Asians use at home. Avoid La Choy like its the plague!!! Its not real soy sauce. It's made using a chemical process instead of traditional fermentation methods. While we Asians will disagree on which country makes the best soy sauce, we are united and unanimous in that we all think La Choy is the worst tasting "soy sauce" on the market.
2. If you can't find Chinese soy sauce, then a Japanese soy sauce type called Tamari is probably your next best choice. Tamari is made in the traditional Chinese method, so the flavor profile will be most similar to Chinese soy sauce. And Tamari (San J Brand) is stocked by most grocery store chains.
In Chinese cooking, light soy sauce is the standard. Asian recipes frequently indicate either light or dark soy sauce. If the recipe does not indicate type of soy sauce, then light soy sauce is probably the best choice.