The Tangy World of Worcestershire Sauce!

by Krystina Quintana

Worcestershire sauce is known for its tangy, slightly spicy, umami flavor. If you've ever eaten a Caesar salad or a shrimp cocktail, you've likely tasted this unique sauce. Whether you know this sauce by its flavor or by the debate on Worcestershire sauce pronunciation (it's wu-stuh-shr), it’s undeniable how tasty and versatile it is.

It's a popular condiment worldwide and in Japan, so how did this English sauce morph into such a widely used condiment? Below, you can find information on everything Worcestershire, including some fun Asian food items to pair with this incredible sauce.

History of Worcestershire

You may be surprised to find out that this sauce was created by accident in Worcester, England. Initially, Lord Sandys (the creator) only intended to recreate his favorite Indian sauce. However, upon completing the sauce, he realized it had a very pungent smell and decided against using it. This sauce was quickly forgotten in the basement until a few years later.

Aging helped create the rich flavor present in Worcestershire and the thick consistency. This aged fish sauce was an immediate success and began being sold to passenger ships from the famed company Lea & Perrins, further escalating its popularity.

How Does Worcestershire Sauce Relate to Japanese Culture?

Is Japanese Worcestershire the same as US Worcestershire? The Worcestershire found in the US and around the world is different in Japan. Japan took standard Worcestershire sauce and elevated the flavor into something even more delicious.

This tasty sauce traveled to Japan in 1900 and was altered to be sweeter and thicker than the original version. Standard Worcestershire sauce uses vinegar, molasses, anchovies, soy, and seasonings. In contrast, Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce uses sardines, tomato paste, prunes, apple juice, and sugar for its similar yet distinct flavor profile.

If you travel to Japan, you may hear the Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce referred to simply as “sauce." Regardless of the name it's called in the restaurant; you can prepare yourself for a delicious dish with a complex flavor! Try the Bulldog Worcestershire Sauce for an authentic Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce.

Bulldog Worcestershire Sauce

How To Use Worcestershire Sauce?

If you’re using Worcestershire sauce for American recipes, you can use it in stews, soups, sauces, and marinades. Season your favorite BBQ proteins like steak, burgers, and sausages with this tasty sauce. Or, use it to pack a punch of flavor in your Bloody Mary.

Those looking to include this sauce in Japanese-style dishes can try it with okonomiyaki, savory pancakes filled with vegetables. Other common uses include spreading it on burgers, yakisoba noodles, and dipping sauce for tonkatsu, aka crispy fried pork cutlets.

What Sauces Are Like Worcestershire?

Perhaps you have already had Worcestershire sauce, and you're looking to branch out, or maybe it's not quite sweet enough for you. Whatever the reason, we've put together a quick list of sauces to add to your repertoire for a quick swap in your favorite recipes.

Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce

This tasty sauce provides a delicious umami flavor due to the inclusion of soy sauce. It's not quite as sweet or tangy as Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce, but its flavor is still quite similar. You can use Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce on the same foods typically topped with Worcestershire, like tonkatsu and tempura.

Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce

Bulldog Chuno Sauce

Chuno sauce also shares similarities with Worcestershire sauce, though it's semi-sweet in flavor. If you're not a fan of sweeter sauces, this is a great Worcestershire sauce substitute that still offers an umami flavor and a thicker consistency.

Bulldog Chuno Sauce

Morita Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is another excellent alternative to Worcestershire. It's sweet, tangy, and umami-flavored, providing a similar dish experience. It does use different ingredients than Worcestershire, so that you can expect a slightly different taste. However, this substitute will work well in a pinch.

Morita Teriyaki Sauce

What to Pair With Worcestershire Sauce?

Now that you've stocked up on Worcestershire sauce (or a similar alternative), it's time to get snacking! Here are some fun pairings to enjoy with Worcestershire.

Calbee Takoyaki Ball Corn Puffs

Takoyaki, aka fried balls filled with seafood, is typically served as street food with a sweet okonomi sauce. This snack replicates the famed street food, so it only makes sense to drizzle another sweet sauce over it. Yes, we’re talking about that delicious Worcestershire.

Calbee Takoyaki Ball Corn Puffs

Hikari Menraku Ramen: Tonkotsu

Add some extra flavor to your favorite soups, like Hikari Menraku Ramen: Tonkotsu by drizzling Worcestershire sauce on top. It will provide a delicious, rich, meaty taste to your already delightful bowl of soup.

Hikari Menraku Ramen: Tonkotsu

Dynasty Gluten-Free Tempura Batter Mix

This option is a bit more time-consuming, but you can easily create homemade tempura using shrimp or your favorite vegetables in combination with the Dynasty Gluten-Free Tempura Batter Mix. Don't forget to dip them in your tangy Japanese-style Worcestershire!

Dynasty Gluten-Free Tempura Batter Mix

Get even more snack ideas from Bokksu Grocery, an Asian grocery store where you can purchase your favorite Japanese grocery and Asian grocery items. You can even order groceries online for convenient delivery of tasty Asian foods!

By Krystina Quintana

Author Bio

Krystina Quintana is a 29-year-old copywriter living outside of Chicago, IL. Her passion for Asian culture began at a young age as she learned to create Asian-inspired recipes like homemade sushi with her family. This interest in Asian culture continues today with time spent in the kitchen and copywriting pursuits. Krystina has worked with customers ranging from small businesses to food Youtubers with 70,000+ subscribers. With a passion for food and travel, she seeks to help businesses bring traffic to their page by writing blog posts that are engaging, informative, and fun to read.