Kikkoman Soy Sauce is world-renowned for its fabulous taste, but do you know why it is so mouthwatering? And how does it appeal to your other four senses? Turn yourself into a soy connoisseur with our guide to recognising premium quality Soy sauce.
Look at the sauce
The superb colour unique to 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.
Soy sauce grows darker owing to oxidization when it comes in contact with air. Storage at lower temperatures inhibits this colour deterioration, and so we recommend that you store Kikkoman Soy Sauce in the refrigerator once the bottle has been opened.
Look at the label
At the supermarket, the quality of soy sauce can be checked even before you buy it!
First, simply compare the nutrition facts labels, especially the protein amounts. Generally speaking, higher protein content is better for soy sauce.
Second, check the ingredients list. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is made from only four natural ingredients: water, soybeans, wheat and salt. Sometimes other brands have seven or more ingredients. Why? It is because they need more ingredients to make their products cheaper and the taste acceptable.
Taste the basic flavours
In Japan, soy sauce has been cherished for centuries as an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine. Why is Kikkoman Soy Sauce the seasoning of choice around the world today?
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 Kikkoman Soy Sauce its delicious taste.
Taste Umami: The Fifth Flavour
Soy sauce is particularly rich in naturally produced umami components that are generated during the brewing process. These umami components are composed of about 20 different amino acids produced as the koji mold dissolves the proteins contained in the soybeans and wheat.
Umami alone doesn’t have any particularly flavour, but it does round out the overall flavour of a dish. With the right seasoning, umami can transform any kind of cuisine from anywhere in the world into a very special flavour experience.
Experience the complex aroma
During the brewing process that takes several months, roughly 300 different aroma components are produced, including those of flowers, fruits, whiskey and coffee.
Every one of these 300 components occurs in such minute amounts, they cannot be identified; yet together, they create the exceptional and distinctive aroma unique to Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
The aroma of roasted soy sauce stimulates the appetite. It is this aroma that has made Kikkoman Soy Sauce the select seasoning around the world.
Listen to the Pros
Listen to what professional chefs have to say about Kikkoman Soy sauce. Michelin-starred chef Simon Hulstone loves using Kikkoman Soy Sauce in the dishes he prepares at his restaurant The Elephant in Torquay.
Simon likes to use the very best ingredients, fresh produce and suppliers to ensure he can prepare the best dishes for his restaurant. Simon says “We use Kikkoman in our kitchen due to its quality and versatility. We use it in so many different dishes, from savoury to sweet to get that umami richness into dishes without compromising any flavour.”
“I always use a good quality soy sauce like Kikkoman, because it’s been naturally brewed for a long time. What’s great about it is that it has no fat whatsoever so I use it instead of salt in most dishes.”
“Kikkoman Soy Sauce is naturally brewed which means it has a much cleaner and for me superior flavour, which is why I use it.”
Feel the natural difference
What really makes Kikkoman Soy Sauce different from other soy sauces available is that it’s naturally brewed, it is pure. The viscosity of the soy sauce can help to see this difference. Kikkoman naturally brewed soy sauce is easy to swirl around a small bowl, which can expose its aroma, however a chemically produced soy sauce is hard to swirl.
Feel the chopstick difference
You can use the chopstick test to see the real difference between Kikkoman naturally brewed soy sauce and other soy sauces on the market today. Chemically produced soy sauce forms a thick and dark drop at the end of the chopstick. Kikkoman naturally brewed soy sauce on the other hand hardly sticks to the chopstick due to its smooth texture.
Feel the award winning difference
Our iconic Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce Dispenser was one of the most famous designs of the late Kenji Ekuan, an inspirational Japanese designer whose motto was “design is a source of life enhancement”. Our traditional dispenser is synonymous with Kikkoman soy sauce and in turn the quality of our soy sauce which fills every bottle. 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.
We all know there's a lot of soy sauces out there (although there's only one Kikkoman!) but the big difference in soy sauces – and the one celebrity chefs and food writers are always at pains to point out – is 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.
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!
Just a taste or a smell of Kikkoman soy sauce will tell you that it’s something truly special. The fact that it is enjoyed in more than 100 countries and used in a wide variety of cuisines, only serves to reinforce this idea.
But what about official Japanese quality standards? How does Kikkoman Soy sauce compare? Soy sauces are graded by the level of total nitrogen / protein under the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS). The grade of soy sauce indicates the level of umami it delivers.
The facts speak for themselves. With 10g of protein per 100ml, Kikkoman Soy Sauce is officially categorized as a ‘Special Grade’ soy sauce.