Korean Black Bean Paste vs. Chinese Black Bean Paste

Last Updated on July 2nd, 2023

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There is always a unique ingredient when it comes to cultural recipes from around the world, including the fact that similar regions will have similar ingredients despite differing cultural practices. 

For instance, tomato sauce is found in dishes around the United States that originate from different heritages and cultural roots; examples include Italian pasta dishes and Pizza pies. 

For this article, there will be a comparison between the Korean black bean paste and the Chinese Douchi paste made from fermented black soybeans. Each will have a similar color tone and texture but a unique twist in flavor that true enthusiasts can easily distinguish.

What are the Similarities?

For starters, the first similarity will be the base ingredient, the black bean. Each will take on the fermentation process by adding a source of sodium to a mixture of black soybeans, which are blended to the desired thickness and texture. 

When it comes to flavor, there are going to be similar notes of saltiness to go with a savory and slightly bitter taste profile. 

Each of these black bean-based pastes will come out of the jar with a saucy, jelly-like spread consistency which is easily spread or mixed with to create more complex sauces or marinades. 


What are the Differences?

There are going to be some slight differences when it comes to these two types of Asiatic black soybean paste. 

The Korean form of this fermented soybean paste will have a smoother consistency than its Chinese counterpart.

Think about it like salsa, there are thinner versions that are blended together, and then there are the chunkier versions that will maintain some of the natural structure of the veggies being used. 

Each of these types of pastes will be called different names in both of these languages. For instance, Korean Black bean paste is called “Chunjang,” and Chinese black bean paste is referred to as “Douchi.” 


Pros and Cons: Korean Black Bean Paste vs. Chinese Black Bean Paste

The biggest positive that comes from using the Korean version of black bean paste will be the smoother texture from which the Chunjang comes. 

This can make it easy to use in recipes and create better flavor when preparing a marinade or sauce, there will be a hint of caramel, which can be a hindrance for any salty or sour-flavored dishes. 

The pro for the Douchi paste will be the ability to use it in sour, salty-flavored dishes, but then you will have to incorporate the thicker, chunkier consistency that comes with this version of black bean paste. 


Which one is Easier to Prepare?

At first look, you can see that there is a slight difference in the consistency and texture of these two forms of black bean paste. For instance, the ingredients found in the Chinese version are listed below (measurements removed):


  • Fermented Black beans
  • Oil (Corn, Olive, Veggie)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Minced Ginger
  • Onions
  • Chicken and Veggie broth
  • Rice wine or a Dry Sherry
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Red Pepper sauce 
  • Cornstarch


Now compare that to the ingredient found in the Korean version of the black bean paste:


  • Fermented Black beans
  • Peanut Oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chicken Broth
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Wine
  • Sugar (some versions use caramel)
  • Cornstarch


Which One is More Versatile?

These two forms of fermented soybean paste will have different forms of versatility. 

For instance, the sweet notes that are found in the Korean Chunjang paste can be used to boost the flavor of a sweet and sour dish but then still be a nice complement to a salty soy-sauce-based taste profile. 

Then looking at the Chinese Douchi paste, there is a nice chunky consistency that will be perfect for a thicker sauce or for a booster to any dish you add it to. 

In short, both of these pastes are going to be very helpful in creating rich flavors in Asiatic dishes and seafood-based meals, and if you are feeling experimental, use this sauce in a barbeque sauce at your next grilling get-together. 


Final Thoughts on Korean Black Bean Paste vs. Chinese Black Bean Paste

There are going to be plenty of different recipes and applications for these soybean-based pastes, full of rich, savory, and salty notes that complement a variety of flavor palettes. 

The best way to use each is simple, and the smoother Chunjang sauce will mix better with less chunky foods. 

The chunkier Douchi sauce can be used as a filler or a garnish to top off a nice salmon steak or similar type dish. 

Each will be able to boost the flavor of your Asiatic dishes but also make for a unique ingredient in other foods. Have fun with these pastes, and they could surprise your next guests. 


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