- The Plate
How Was Ketchup Invented?
Even the most barren of refrigerators has a lingering bottle that clatters with the whoosh of an opened door. It is the hero of American condiments: ketchup.
In the U.S., 97 percent of households report having a bottle at the table. How did a simple sauce come to be so loved by America? It turns out ketchup’s origins are anything but American. Ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China.
The British likely encountered ketchup in Southeast Asia, returned home, and tried to replicate the fermented dark sauce. This probably happened in the late 17th and early 18th centuries as