What Is Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce And How Do You Cook With It?

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With their bright green cap and yellow and green label, Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce bottles are eye-catching. It may stand on the shelves next to soy sauce and other liquid seasonings, but it has some distinct qualities that set it apart. And even if you've never bought a bottle, it's likely that you've unknowingly had a taste of this sauce. After all, it has been a popular ingredient in Thai cooking for decades.

Thai Theparos debuted Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce in Thailand in 1954, and it has been enhancing a variety of dishes ever since. And while the business has expanded its offerings over the years, this sauce has remained its top-selling product. Many cooks are discovering for themselves what this ingredient can do for their recipes. Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce brings its particular brand of umami when added to dishes and condiments.

How is Golden Mountain made?

Thai Theparos produces Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce at its factory in Samutpraken, located on Thailand's coast not far from Bangkok. The main ingredient in Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce is soy sauce or soybean sauce as the company refers to it. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans. The company gives only scant information on how it processes its soybeans, simply indicating that the latest processes are used to break down proteins and create amino acids.

It is likely that the treatment of soybeans for Golden Mountain is similar to how soybeans are transformed into soy sauce. In this case, soybeans are soaked and steamed and later combined with ground and roasted wheat. The mixture is then left in a salt solution to ferment. There are several ingredients, however, that help distinguishes Golden Mountain from traditional soy sauce.

The first one is sugar and the second is a flavor enhancer. That flavor enhancer seems to be a company secret, but the company says it's not MSG. (MSG is short for monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer that has been the topic of much debate over the years. While MSG had a bad reputation for decades thanks to xenophobia and half-baked studies, it is now generally understood to be safe, per the FDA.)

What does Golden Mountain taste like?

It's no surprise that Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce tastes like soy sauce since it's made up of 75% soybean sauce. It's a bit saltier than other soy-based sauces, and it's definitely sweeter with the added sugar. The result is a deeper, more complex flavor than you would get from regular soy sauce alone. That's why you'll see recipes that call for both soy sauce and Golden Mountain.

This seasoning sauce is vegetarian so some recommend it as a stand-in for the traditional fish sauce used in Thai and other Asian cuisines. It's also a good swap for those who aren't fans of the taste of fish sauce. Golden Mountain really hits all the different types of taste buds, adding a rich mix of salty and sweet to any dish. And while it's unclear exactly what the flavor enhancer ingredient actually is, it is apparent that the sauce gives dishes a special umami boost.

How to cook with Golden Mountain

Golden Mountain is such a prominent ingredient in Thai cuisine that sometimes it will simply be listed as Thai seasoning sauce or seasoning sauce in recipes. It works well in an array of dishes and condiments. It's an important part of nam jim jaew, a Thai dipping sauce that also features fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass, and palm sugar. The seasoning sauce also works well in marinades for meat, such as beef, chicken, and pork. It can also enhance the flavor of seafood, such as shrimp or tuna.

As Kris Tenbamroong explains in his cookbook, "Night + Market," this seasoning sauce gives Thai stir-fries their distinctive taste. It appears in such dishes as kuay tiew khua gai, a chicken and noodles stir fry, and kor moo yang, a grilled pork dish. Golden Mountain also amps up the flavor of vegetarian dishes, such as red curry with tofu. And it makes a good substitute for fish sauce in dishes such as pad thai and pad kee mao (also known as drunken noodles).

Where to buy Golden Mountain

Golden Mountain can be found on the shelves at Asian specialty markets. There are also a number of online retailers that offer this seasoning sauce and a variety of other Thai pantry staples. In addition to its famous green cap version, Golden Mountain also offers a gluten-free version of its seasoning sauce, which has a yellow top and red and yellow label.

If you can't find Golden Mountain, the Healthy Boy brand also puts out its own version of seasoning sauce that will work as a substitute. The pricing for Healthy Boy is similar to Golden Mountain, costing $7.99 for 23.5 fluid ounces versus $5.79 for 20 fluid ounces of Golden Mountain. And, in a pinch, you can mix a bit of sugar into traditional soy sauce to fill in for seasoning sauce.

Nutritional information about Golden Mountain

A tablespoon of Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce has only 15 calories, according to the Nutritional Value website. It has two grams of protein and one gram of carbohydrate. This seasoning slightly edges out soy sauce in terms of protein and carbohydrates. Soy sauce has only 1.3 grams of protein and roughly 0.79 grams of carbohydrates, per the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Central website.

One challenge of using Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce is the sodium level. It has 1,210 milligrams per tablespoon. That's more than half of the daily maximum amount of sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. Too much salt can increase blood pressure and can contribute to such health problems as strokes and heart issues, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of its high sodium content, it's important to use this sauce in moderation. Anyone with high blood pressure or heart problems will need to be especially careful with it.