What Is Chinese Mustard? (Ingredients, Taste + More)

Mustard comes from all over the world, and many countries have their own version of mustard.

Chinese mustard is popular mustard, but do you know what Chinese mustard exactly is? Here is what I learned!

What Is Chinese Mustard?

Chinese mustard, or Chinese hot mustard, is a condiment that is usually in powder form. Chinese mustard is often mixed with water before consumption to release the spiciness and pungency. Chinese mustard is potent and sinus-clearing, making Chinese mustard one of the hottest mustards available. 

Is Chinese mustard different from other mustard varieties? Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Chinese Mustard Made Of?

Like most prepared mustards, Chinese mustard is made with mustard seeds. Usually, brown mustard seeds are used to make Chinese mustard because brown mustard seeds are spicy.

Brown mustard seeds are ground up, without any additional spices, to create Chinese mustard.

Some manufacturers may leave the brown mustard seeds ground, and others may turn the brown mustard seeds into a paste by mixing the ground seeds with a liquid.

However, most Chinese mustards are left as a powder, so people only mix water or vinegar with the mustard before using Chinese mustard to ensure freshness and intense heat.

Additionally, the key to the hotness and nose-clearing heat of Chinese mustard is cold water because the cold water helps release the spiciness of Chinese mustard.

What Does Chinese Mustard Taste Like?

Chinese mustard only has one flavor profile, and that is heat.

When eating Chinese mustard, the spice level is so overpowering that you may not be able to taste anything else while the Chinese mustard is in your mouth.

Although very hot, there is an underlying level of tanginess that makes Chinese mustard so tasty especially when paired with Chinese food.

Chinese mustard’s burning sensation is enjoyed by people who have tasted it, and many people add Chinese mustard to dishes because Chinese mustard cuts through food’s richness.

What Is Chinese Mustard Used For?

What Is Chinese Mustard Used For?

Since it is known as Chinese mustard, the best food to pair Chinese mustard with is Chinese food. Typically, Chinese mustard is mixed in sauces and chili sauce.

Chinese mustard is used as a dip for wontons, egg rolls, and even Chinese dim sum.

Moreover, Chinese shrimp balls and crab rangoons are also popular pairs of Chinese mustard in most restaurants.

Additionally, Chinese mustard is great with fried food and appetizers, making Chinese mustard a very popular condiment in most Chinese restaurants.

Chinese mustard is mostly served with a tomato-based sauce on the side to counteract the heat of Chinese mustard.

In its dry form, Chinese mustard is great as a dry rub for meats, a spice in dishes, and even as fillings for dim sum or rice cakes.

What Is A Substitute For Chinese Mustard?

If you cannot find Chinese mustard, one great substitute is Wagarashi, or Japanese mustard because Japanese has the same heat level and pungency as Chinese mustard.

Spicy brown mustard is also a great alternative for Chinese mustard though spicy brown mustard much milder compared to Chinese mustard.

However, spicy mustard will still have a similar kick to Chinese mustard even if spicy brown mustard has a coarser texture.

If you have powdered mustard such as English mustard, English mustard is another good substitute for Chinese mustard.

English mustard is made from a mix of brown and yellow mustard seeds, giving English mustard a heat that is almost comparable to Chinese hot mustard.

Horseradish may also be a substitute if you are only looking for the spice. Horseradish will not offer the same flavor as the regular Chinese mustard, but the heat will be there.

You can also make Chinese mustard by drying out brown mustard seeds then grinding the seeds to a fine powder, adding cold water if desired.

Is Chinese Mustard The Same As Hot Mustard?

Chinese mustard may be considered hot mustard because of the spiciness though calling Chinese mustard a hot mustard may have people confuse Chinese mustard with English hot mustard.

Brown mustard seeds make Chinese mustard a popular hot mustard variety because brown mustard seeds are known to pack a certain level of punch.

Another reason Chinese mustard is so hot is that there are no other additives to the mixture other than added cold water, making spiciness the main flavor of Chinese mustard.

Other prepared mustards are much milder than Chinese mustard because there are a lot more flavors and ingredients that are added that can mask the taste of heat.

Take a look at our related articles to find out what yellow mustard is, what mustard seeds are, and what dry mustard is.


Chinese mustard is so hot that it is sometimes called Chinese hot mustard, and Chinese mustard is mainly known for the heat it gives to food.

Now known all over the world, Chinese mustard can be paired with many dishes, especially Chinese recipes.

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