Different kinds of Soy Sauce

We all know there are a lot of soy sauces out there but there is a big difference between one soy sauce and another, with celebrity chefs and food writers at pains to point out the difference between Chinese and Japanese-style sauces.

Chinese soy sauces are available in both light and dark versions. Some are chemically produced and others are only partially brewed. However, any brewing is usually only for a matter of weeks without yeast, unlike Japanese soy sauces, which are brewed with specially cultured yeast for many months. Caramel colouring (E150) is often added to Chinese soy to create its trademark powerful, dark appearance. Many also contain added sugar, monosodium glutamate and preservatives, which may give an artificial taste and a consistency that is syrupy. Chemically produced soy sauce often has an overpowering flavour. Just a few drops too many and the dish is ruined!

In Japan, the home of Kikkoman, chemically produced soy sauce is a taboo. The Japanese soy sauce, sometimes referred to as 'shoyu' generally has a lower salt content and includes roasted wheat in the recipe. This not only improves the flavour and aroma, but also the colour of the sauce. Our advice is to always look at the label before buying. The fewer ingredients, the better!

See the difference

The superb colour unique to Japanese soy sauce is the result of the “Maillard Reaction”, which begins two or three months after brewing starts. In this reaction, glucose and other sugars combine with amino acids to produce a brown pigment called melanoidin, which gives soy sauce its beautiful reddish-brown colour.

And of course – our traditionally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce is served in its iconic dispenser. Developed in 1961 the 150ml bottle has become so popular and well recognised it still sits unchanged today, with its elegance and modernity making it eye catching.

Smell the difference

During the brewing process that takes several months, roughly 300 different aroma components are produced, including those of flowers, fruits, whiskey and coffee. Altogether, they create the exceptional and distinctive aroma unique to soy sauce.

The aroma of roasted soy sauce stimulates the appetite. It is this aroma that has made Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce the select seasoning around the world.  Soy sauce that isn’t naturally brewed has a very intensive aroma with chemical overtones.

Taste the difference

In Japan, soy sauce has been cherished for centuries as an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine. It’s because of its taste - the harmonious combination of the five basic flavours - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, and the subtle balance between them gives soy sauce its delicious taste.

Sample a few drops of Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce and you’ll immediately notice that it has a rich, complex aroma and a delicious full-bodied flavour. Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce rounds off the flavour of foods without masking it. Chemically produced soy sauce has a salty, overpowering and artificial flavour.

Feel the difference

The viscosity between one soy sauce and another is also very different. Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce is easy to swirl around a small bowl, which can expose its aroma, while a chemically produced soy sauce is hard to swirl.

Do the Chopstick Test!

Find out for yourself the consistency of a good soy sauce. Dip a chopstick into each soy sauce. Dark-coloured, chemically produced soy sauce forms a thick droplet at the end of the chopstick. Kikkoman Naturally brewed soy sauce, on the other hand, hardly sticks to the chopstick. That’s a clear sign of quality.

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