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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

ketchup a general name for a range of salty, spicy, rather liquid condiments. These belong to the cuisines of the western world, but all are descended from oriental ancestors. The word ‘ketchup’ comes from the Chinese (Amoy dialect) kêtsiap, meaning a fermented fish sauce, probably via the Malay word kechap, now spelled kecap, which means soy sauce. The word was brought back to Europe by Dutch traders who also brought the oriental sauce itself. The sauce has changed far more than has the word, although the name has appeared in a large number of variations such as catchup and catsup.