Bang bang sauce and yum yum sauce are both condiments popular in Asia. But are they the same sauces or completely different?
The main difference between bang bang sauce and yum yum sauce is that the spice level and, therefore, the flavour are different. This is because, although they’re both sauces, the ingredients are far from the same.
What is Bang Bang Sauce?
Bang Bang sauce is one of the most popular sauces served on or alongside many street foods, most famously Bang Bang Chicken.
It is one of the simplest sauces to knock together at home with a combination of mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce, sriracha and honey. Stir 2 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce, 1 tbsp of sriracha and 1 tsp of honey into half a cup of mayonnaise until combined. That’s it!
How I Make Bang Bang Sauce
For my homemade Bang Bang sauce, I whisk together half a cup of mayonnaise, a quarter cup of sweet chilli sauce, a tablespoon of Sriracha, and a drizzle of honey. This results in a perfect blend of sweet and spicy that’s irresistible.
What is Yum Yum Sauce?
Although now popular in Japanese steakhouses, Yum Yum sauce is actually an American invention. It has since become popular in Japanese steakhouses which is why many people assume it originates in Japan.
Yum Yum sauce is made of a combination of mayonnaise mixed with ketchup, vinegar, garlic, sugar and paprika. A range of foods can be dunked into the sauce – if you’re going to try anything dipped in it, give steak a go!
Yum Yum sauce is unique, but it is similar to certain dressings and sauces like Thousand Island dressing, Marie Rose sauce, or even a well-seasoned spicy mayo. These alternatives share a creamy base and a mix of sweetness and tang.
How I Make Yum Yum Sauce
When making Yum Yum sauce, I combine a cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of tomato ketchup, a tablespoon of melted butter, a teaspoon each of garlic powder and sugar, and a sprinkle of paprika. It makes for a creamy, slightly sweet, and slightly tangy sauce that goes with almost anything.
Differences Between Bang Bang Sauce and Yum Yum Sauce
Although both sauces have a remotely similar appearance and are both popular in Asia, the list of differences is extensive:
The foundational difference lies in the ingredients.
Bang Bang sauce typically combines mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce, honey, and a dash of Sriracha, leading to a sweet-spicy profile.
On the flip side, Yum Yum sauce features mayonnaise, tomato paste or ketchup, melted butter, garlic powder, sugar, and a sprinkle of paprika. So it’s more creamy and subtly sweet, with a faint hint of spice.
Then there’s the spice factor. With Sriracha as a critical player, Bang Bang sauce is definitely the spicy contender of the two, while Yum Yum sauce, with paprika and sometimes a hint of cayenne, holds back a bit, offering just a whisper of heat.
But remember, both sauces’ spice levels can be adjusted to personal preference!
Geography sets them apart, too. Bang Bang sauce is a culinary gem from the Szechuan region of China, initially paired with crispy chicken by street food vendors.
However, Yum Yum sauce, often associated with Japanese Hibachi cooking, is actually a Western invention, specifically American! Kind of a culinary plot twist, right?
Similarities Between Bang Bang Sauce and Yum Yum Sauce
Although there is quite an extensive list of differences, Bang Bang and Yum Yum sauces are not entirely different. Here are some of the things they share:
When it comes to their use, both sauces are incredibly versatile. From being slathered on burgers to a zesty dip for fries, fried chicken, veggies, or even a tangy salad dressing – they’ve got you covered.
Their dynamic flavours make them a fabulous alternative to your run-of-the-mill mayo or ketchup.
Visually, they might fool you! They both flaunt a similar pale orange or pinkish hue. If you’re not a foodie with a trained eye, telling them apart might be a challenge.
Their preparation method is straightforward and identical. Simply take mayo, mix in the other ingredients, and stir until everything is nicely blended.
No culinary degree required!
And lastly, the base of both these sauces is good old mayonnaise, which gives them their creamy, rich texture.
This is what binds the other ingredients together, creating an addictive sauce that keeps you coming back for more.
While you can technically substitute Bang Bang sauce for Yum Yum sauce, the flavour profiles are distinct, so expect a different taste experience. Bang Bang is spicier and sweeter, while Yum Yum tends to be creamier and subtler.
Bang Bang Sauce vs Yum Yum Sauce: Which Wins?
Both sauces have spice, are used to dip foods into and are often served alongside Asian-inspired meals. But which is your favourite?
Do You Prefer Bang Bang Sauce or Yum Yum Sauce?
Hailing from Liverpool, Oliver is an adventurous chef with a penchant for exploring diverse cuisines and novel ingredients. Ollie, combining his love for local British flavours with global influences, brings innovation and charm to home cooking.