The birth of oyster sauce, which has greatly influenced Chinese culinary culture was purely coincidental. Its inventor, Lee Kam Sheung, was a farmer at Qibao Xinhui, Guangdong Province. Threatened by local gangsters, Lee left his hometown and went to Nanshui, Zhuhai. There he opened a tiny eatery and made his living selling cooked oysters. One day, Lee Kam Sheung was cooking oyster as usual, but he lost track of time until he smelt a strong aroma. Lifting the
lid of the pot, he noticed that the normally clear oyster soup had turned into a thick, brownish sauce which astonished him with the most fragrant smell and unique, delicious taste. He started to sell this new invention which turned out to be very popular. So in 1888, he formed Lee Kum Kee to mass produce oyster sauce for sale.
In 1902, after the Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce plant at Nanshui Village was ruined in a fire, Lee Kam Sheung moved to Macau to rebuild his business. In 1932, he was succeeded by Lee Shiu Nan and Lee Shiu Dang, the kingpins of Lee Kum Kee's second generation who relocated their headquarters to the more prosperous city of Hong Kong and started to develop an overseas Chinese market for their product. When the American president visited China in 1972, and the panda was used as a symbol of Sino-American friendship, third generation Lee
Man Tat capitalized on this idea to launch the more affordably priced Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce. This venture further heightened the popularity of oyster sauce. Today, Lee Kum Kee is succeeded by Lee Man Tat's childen. Headed by Lee Wai Man, they form a concerted effort in mapping out development strategies for the company which is well on its way to yet another era of momentous success.
Today, you can find Lee Kum Kee plants all over the world in Hong Kong, Mainland China, USA and Southeast Asia. Fully equipped with computerized production systems, these factories supply Lee Kum Kee products worldwide. with an ever innovative spirit and commitment to offering products of the finest quality, Lee Kum Kee has developed over 200 gourmet sauces and condiments. In addition to oyster sauce, there are soy sauce, XO sauce, chili sauce, convenience sauces, cooking and dipping sauce and seasonings etc.
Lee Kum Kee is dedicated to promoting Chinese cuisine by building a cultural bridge between the East and West. The company is committed to achieve its mission of "Wherever there is Chinese, there is Lee Kum Kee products" and is hopeful that ultimately Chinese cuisine will reach the four comers of the world.