|Place of origin||Hong Kong|
|Main ingredient(s)||dried scallop, chili peppers, Jinhua ham, dried shrimp, garlic, canola oil|
Developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong for Cantonese cuisine, XO sauce is made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, including scallops, dried fish and shrimp, and subsequently cooked with chili peppers, onions, and garlic. This dried seafood-based sauce bears similarity to the Fujianese Shacha sauce. Spring Moon, the Peninsula Hong Kong's Chinese restaurant is often credited with the invention of XO sauce, although others claim the sauce's origin in the urban area of Kowloon.
The name XO sauce comes from fine XO (extra-old) cognac, which is a popular Western liquor in Hong Kong and considered by many to be a chic product there. In addition the term XO is often used in the popular culture of Hong Kong to denote high quality, prestige, and luxury. In fact, XO sauce has been marketed in the same manner as the French liquor, using packaging of similar colour schemes.
In Hong Kong English, XO is pronounced exactly the same.
XO sauce can be used as a condiment on the side of main dishes or used in cooking to enhance the flavour of fish, meats, vegetables, and otherwise bland foods such as tofu or noodles. Home cooks often use this sauce as the chief flavorant for fried rice.
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