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The different types or kinds of Asian condiments

Updated on March 5, 2013

Condiments are indispensable ingredients in your wide range of recipes. Condiments add extra flavor and at the same time make your dishes make a big difference. The fragrance they bring can be so enticing.

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Here is a short list of Asian condiments that can bring out the best in your kitchen:


The “belacan” or shrimp paste is an all-around ingredient used in Asian cuisines. When compared to the Philippines’ local “bagoong” and shrimp paste, “belacan” is smoother and often bought in blocks. Produced from fermented shrimp, it has a strong aroma, but can add further flavor to stir-fried veggies and fried rice. It’s also a nice dip for dried fish.

Sambal oelek

"Sambal oelek" is an impressive Indonesian chili sauce as it adds spice to dishes without altering the flavor. Traditionally used in Asian cuisine, if you tried this “sambal oelek”, chances are you will not settle for the other chili sauce. It has a pungent flavor. Saute "sambal oelek" in hot oil prior to adding the other ingredients.

Tamarind paste

Made from the pulp that contains the seeds of the tamarind, the tamarind paste can provide instant sour taste to many Thai dishes. It is widely used as a soup paste for "tom yum" and a good alternative for fresh tamarind. It is usually available in concentrated form. Add the tamarind teaspoon by teaspoon until you get your desired sourness.

Schimi togarashi
Schimi togarashi | Source

Schimi togarashi

Also dubbed as a seven-spice chili powder, “schimi togarashi” is a wonderful Japanese condiment which is made from dried chili, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, dried ginger, seaweed and Sichuan peppercorns. It is often served as a side condiment in numerous restaurants and ramen bars all across Japan. It adds flavor and spice to soups with citrus note. It can also make pork-based dishes tastes great.



The Korean red chili paste which is also called as "gochujang" is a combination of two contrasting attributes - sweet and spicy. It is the most commonly used condiment in Korea, "gochujang" is used as a base to create an assortment of condiments.

"Gochujang" is combination of small amount of honey, garlic, sesame oil and rice vinegar. This versatile chili paste is also the primary dipping sauce in many Korean recipes – it is Korea’s ketchup. "Gochujang" is also paired with rice dishes like the vintage “bibimbap.” The usefulness of this wonderful chili paste can extend to being a great marinade. You may rub it in raw meats to have a spicy and sweet taste, and the desired red barbecue color.

That’s it folks… Thanks a lot for the read.

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    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      You have provided an interesting list of Asian condiments to try.