What Is Sa Cha Shrimp? What You Need To Know

Are you a fan of Asian cuisine? Have you ever heard of Sa Cha sauce?

This versatile condiment is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, particularly in Guangdong, Malaysian, and Fujian cuisines.

Sa Cha sauce is a blend of peanuts, dried shrimp, soy sauce, garlic, and onions boiled down into an orange/brown paste that adds a unique and addictive flavor to stir-fries, noodles, rice, and veggies.

In this article, we’ll explore Sa Cha shrimp, a dish made with this delicious sauce. We’ll also share an easy homemade Sa Cha sauce recipe that you can use to enhance your stir-fried dishes and bowls of noodles.

So let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Sa Cha shrimp!

What Is Sa Cha Shrimp?

Sa Cha shrimp is a dish made with shrimp and vegetables braised in Sa Cha sauce. This sauce is made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilies, brill fish, and dried shrimp. The marriage of aromatic and seafood flavors of the sauce makes it the perfect hotpot dipping sauce and a go-to add-on to your stir fry.

Originally inspired by the Malaysian and Indonesian peanut-based satay sauce, Sa Cha sauce is a Chaozhou adaptation that later evolved to become an essential condiment in Fujianese and Taiwanese cuisine. Although it is often sold as “Chinese BBQ Sauce,” it doesn’t look or taste anything like the typical American-style barbecue sauce.

Sa Cha shrimp is a popular dish in many Asian restaurants and can be easily made at home. It only takes about 20 minutes to make and has shrimp, onions, bell peppers, garlic, and of course, Sa Cha sauce. It’s usually served over a steaming bowl of rice and can be paired with pickled bok choy on the side to round out the meal.

The Origins Of Sa Cha Sauce

The origins of Sa Cha sauce are not entirely known, but it is speculated that the sauce is a Chaozhou adaptation of Malaysian and Indonesian satay sauce that was encountered during maritime explorations. Since its origins in Chaozhou, Sa Cha sauce has continued to evolve as an essential condiment of Fujianese and Taiwanese cuisine. The way the sauce’s name is pronounced even sounds similar to “satay” in the Teochew and other Minnan dialects. Therefore, some people call it “satay sauce” in their recipes. However, the Chinese written characters for the sauce roughly translate to “sand tea,” possibly for its grainy texture.

The composition of Sa Cha sauce can vary quite a bit throughout different regions of China, blurring lines between Southeast Asian-style satay and its Southeast Chinese interpretations. Some varieties may be slightly peanutty, less fishy, or more spicy than others. Despite these differences, the combination of flavors in Sa Cha sauce is what makes it magical and versatile. It has an intensely savory, mildly seafood-y flavor that adds a subtle but distinct depth of savoriness to any dish.

What Makes Sa Cha Shrimp So Delicious?

Sa Cha shrimp stands out among other shrimp dishes because of the unique and complex flavor of the Sa Cha sauce. The sauce has a savory umami taste with a slightly sweet and spicy kick. The combination of garlic, shallots, chilies, brill fish, and dried shrimp creates a flavor profile that is both seafood-like and aromatic. The sauce’s paste-like texture allows it to cling to the shrimp and vegetables, enhancing their flavors.

The dish’s versatility is another reason why Sa Cha shrimp is so delicious. The Sa Cha sauce pairs well with many ingredients, making it an ideal addition to stir-fries, hotpots, and noodle dishes. The shrimp itself is tender and juicy, providing a perfect canvas for the bold flavors of the sauce.

How To Make Sa Cha Shrimp At Home

Making Sa Cha shrimp at home is easy and only requires a few ingredients. Here’s how to do it:


– 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

– 1 onion, chopped

– 1 bell pepper, chopped

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 tbsp Sa Cha sauce

– 2 tbsp vegetable oil

– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften.

3. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

4. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until they turn pink, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Add the Sa Cha sauce to the skillet and stir until everything is well coated.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve over a bowl of steaming rice and enjoy!

Sa Cha shrimp is a delicious and flavorful dish that can be made in no time. The Sa Cha sauce gives it a unique umami flavor that pairs perfectly with the shrimp and vegetables. So next time you’re in the mood for something different, give this recipe a try!

Other Ways To Use Sa Cha Sauce In Your Cooking

Aside from Sa Cha shrimp, there are many other ways to incorporate Sa Cha sauce into your cooking. Here are a few ideas:

1. Sa Cha Beef Stir Fry: Thinly slice beef and marinate it in a mixture of Sa Cha sauce, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Stir fry the beef with sliced onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms until cooked through. Serve over rice.

2. Sa Cha Noodle Soup: Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside. In a pot, sauté garlic and ginger in oil, then add chicken or vegetable broth, Sa Cha sauce, soy sauce, and sliced vegetables such as bok choy or carrots. Simmer until vegetables are tender, then add the cooked noodles and serve.

3. Sa Cha Grilled Vegetables: Mix Sa Cha sauce with honey and brush it onto sliced vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers. Grill until charred and tender.

4. Sa Cha Fried Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside. In a wok or large skillet, scramble eggs and set aside. In the same pan, add diced onions, peas, carrots, and Sa Cha sauce. Stir fry until vegetables are cooked through, then add the cooked rice and scrambled eggs back into the pan. Mix everything together until heated through.

These are just a few examples of how you can use Sa Cha sauce in your cooking. Experiment with different proteins and vegetables to create your own unique dishes using this flavorful condiment.

Where To Find Sa Cha Sauce And Shrimp In Your Local Area.

If you’re looking to try Sa Cha shrimp at home, finding the right ingredients can be a bit of a challenge. Sa Cha sauce is not as widely available as other popular Asian condiments, but it can often be found in Asian grocery stores or online. Look for brands like Bull Head or Lee Kum Kee, which are known for their high-quality Sa Cha sauce.

When it comes to shrimp, it’s best to look for fresh jumbo shrimp at your local seafood market or grocery store. Make sure to clean and devein the shrimp before cooking to ensure the best flavor and texture.

If you’re not up for cooking at home, many Asian restaurants offer Sa Cha shrimp as a menu item. Look for restaurants that specialize in Chaozhou, Fujianese, or Taiwanese cuisine for an authentic experience. You can also try searching for “Sa Cha shrimp” on food delivery apps like Grubhub or Uber Eats to see if any local restaurants offer it for delivery.