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Sodium Content of Chinese Sauces

Learn more about the amount of sodium in the sauces that you cook with every day.

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  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone should consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day, about 1 teaspoon of table salt. People with hypertension should eat less than 1,500mg of sodium per day.
  • A lot of Chinese sauces and dressings are high in sodium. The table below lists the common Chinese sauces and dressings with high sodium. Try to use as little as possible or substitute with herbs and spices that can add flavor to your dish, such as garlic, ginger, green onion, vinegar, lemon juice, lemongrass, zedoary (sand ginger) powder, five spice powder, Sichuan pepper, star anise and basil.

Watch out! Your kitchen is filled with high-sodium sauces and seasonings. This downloadable chart will help you to determine which suspects to stay away from. (Click here for a larger version).
Sauce / Condiment Portion Sodium (mg) (%DV)
Baking Soda 1 tablespoon 3773 156%
Chicken Powder 1 tablespoon 2700 113%
MSG 1 tablespoon 2061 86%
Fish Sauce 1 tablespoon 1422 59%
Shrimp Paste 1 tablespoon 1413 59%
Broad bean Paste (Doubanjian) 1 tablespoon 1170 49%
Chu Hou Sauce 1 tablespoon 939 39%
Soy Sauce 1 tablespoon 920 38%
Oyster Sauce 1 tablespoon 850 35%
Black Bean Sauce 1 tablespoon 666 28%
Seafood Sauce 1 tablespoon 510 21%
Chinese BBQ Sauce 1 tablespoon 360 15%
Shacha Sauce 1 tablespoon 297 12%
XO Sauce 1 tablespoon 270 11%

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