Grilled Chinese Eggplant with Spiced Vinegar Sauce

This satisfying side dish will steal the show at your next cookout. When you’re shopping for ingredients, look for Chinese eggplants that have smooth, unblemished skin and feel heavy for their size: This means they’re perfectly ripe and ready to grill. Sizzle them over the flames (or on a grill pan) until you see delicious char marks start to form on the tender skin. While the eggplants roast, whip together the spiced vinegar sauce: Known as sukang sawsawan in the Philippines, it features white miso for subtle umami flavor and a red Thai chile pepper for heat. (Feel free to omit the chile if you aren’t a fan of spice.) Fresh cilantro creates a colorful garnish that will entice everyone around the table to have an extra helping.

For more excellent eggplant recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Cleodia Martinez,


  • 4 Chinese eggplants, halved lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown pure cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1 red Thai chile pepper, sliced, or a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)


  • Grill eggplants cut sides down over medium 5 minutes or until tender when squeezed with tongs. Flip and grill 3 minutes more. Transfer to a platter.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the next seven ingredients (through chile, if using). Spoon some over grilled eggplants; serve the remainder for dipping. If you like, top with cilantro.

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About the Author

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About the Author

Cleodia Martinez

Cleodia Martinez is an entrepreneur and whole-food, plant-based nutritionist and the author of Ay Sus!: Whole Food Plant-Based Global Filipino Cuisine. She helps people around the world feel healthier and eat more plants by combining nutrition science with cooking and practical lifestyle skills to create lasting habit change. She is a first-generation Filipina-American currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram for more information.
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