Ubiquitous on restaurant menus and in supermarkets throughout the city, XO sauce is a bit of an enigma. First off, although it’s named after fine extra-old (XO, get it?) cognac, it doesn’t actually have any cognac in it, and some would debate whether its chunky consistency even warrants it being called a sauce.
The condiment, which is widely popular throughout the Guangdong region, was invented right here in Hong Kong in the 1980s. Some say it was Spring Moon, The Peninsula’s Chinese restaurant, that invented it, while others argue that other Tsim Sha Tsui restaurants should be credited. Regardless of who created it, the blend of dried seafood, chili peppers, onion and garlic, usually presented in classy black and gold packaging, definitely has a solid foothold in Cantonese cuisine today.
XO sauce is used in everything from stir-frys to noodles. It’s good as a dipping sauce for dumplings — or anything else you like, to be honest.
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