Yellow Bean Sauce
Bottled Sauces [Nuoc Tuong (Viet)]

Sometimes called "Brown Bean Sauce or "Soybean Paste", this sauce is made from fermented yellow soy beans. It is a very common ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and available in markets serving Southeast Asian communities.

The famous "Dragonfly" brand (Kwong Hung Seng) that everyone used to recommend is now gone - banned by US FDA Import Alert 24-02. Multiple FDA examinations found all samples unacceptably contaminated with insect, rodent and bird materials. Thailand.

AC Brand "Soybean Paste" (left in photo) is the closest to "Dragonfly" I've found, and is the most natural product. It would be my strong recommendation if it were more widely available. I've found it only at Hawaii Supermarket in San Gabriel. Soybean, Wheat flour, Rice Flour, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Water, Salt. 2016 US $2.79 for 24 ounces. Thailand.

Healthy Boy "Soybean Paste" (center in photo) is widely available. It is lighter in color and flavor, and smoother in texture than "Dragonfly", but is an acceptable substitute. Soybean, Wheat flour, Salt, Water, Sugar, Monosodium glutamate, Disodium 5'-inosinate, Disodium 5'-guanylate, Sodium benzoate. $2016 US $2.59 for 28 ounces. Thailand.

Pantai "Soy Bean Paste" (right in photo). Pantai (Pantainorasingh) is a well known and trusted Thai brand, but their Yellow Bean Sauce is so sweet it is not at all acceptable for anything I'd likely be cooking. Soybean, Sugar, Water, Salt, Rice Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Wheat Flour, Glycine, Disodium 5'-inosinate, disodium 5'-guanylate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Beta Carotene, Spices, Coriander Seed, Cumin. 2016 US $3.49 for 30.5 ounces. Thailand.

There are many more brands and formulas of soybean paste in the markets, but these are the ones I've tested as possible replacements for "Dragonfly". Most come in much smaller jars.

Samples of Three Yellow Bean Sauces The photo to the left shows the sauces in the same order as the bottles in the photo above.

Buying:   These sauces can be found in markets serving Southeast Asian communities, usually in tall bottles, but also in short jars, depending on brand. "Healthy Boy Brand" (Van Wal Yun Co.) is widely distributed and a decent choice for most Thai recipes, unless you have a specific reason to use another brand, or can get AC brand.

Storing:   This sauce contains enough salt that it can be stored at a cool room temperature for a few months in a tightly sealed container. For longer storage, refrigerate. If there is a lot of air space in the jar, it's a good idea to repackage it in a smaller jar as it will darken some from exposure to air.

Using:   This sauce may be used as is, with the whole beans, or crushed to a paste depending on the effect that you want.

Ingredients:   Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that enhances sweetness. monosodium glutamate (E621), disodium 5'-inosinate (E631) and disodium 5'-guanylate (E627) are umami flavor enhancers, often used together Sodium benzoate (E211) is an anti-bacterial preservative used in acidic foods. All are considered safe for human consumption in this type of application, in both Europe and the US.

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