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Jan 9, 2002 07:29 PM

Soy Sauce brand recommendations?

  • u

I'm grateful to live a short drive from some outstanding asian grocers. So many soy sauces from which to choose.

Anyone have any brand recos for general purpose use? (aside from mushroom soy sauce and other specialty variations).

I've always liked kikoman and have tried yamasa and a few others I can't remember. I'm sure I'm missing the boat here and would appreciate some opinions.


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  1. This is undoubtedly chauvinistic, but I won't use anything but Aloha brand shoyu (aka soy sauce), from (surprise!) Hawai'i. I really do think it has a better taste. Kikkoman, in particular, has a sourness I dislike.

    1 Reply
    1. re: P

      I agree with your choice of Aloha - even though I've moved away from the islands I still use Aloha for most of my cooking, I get nervous when I start running low.I use it as my "light" soy sauce or for making poke'. I use Superior, I think it's Pearl River Dark soy sauce for appropriate dishes - that need both the color and sweetness. Kikkoman as a "finishing" my mind Kikkoman does not do well in marinades and such, though it's my choice for Sashimi, IMHO Aloha does not do well here. Datu Puti for Adobo and other filipino dishes. Many times I'd use a combination, depending on the dish. It's really all a matter of taste. Though I'd say that using the appropriate type of "shoyu"(i.e. much like vinegars) will add/subtract from a dish.

    2. c
      Carol Chubiz

      I like SAN-J reduced sodium Tamari. Very flavorful, not too salty.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Carol Chubiz

        I like SAN-J too. Made from organicaaly grown soybeans.

        1. re: Carol Chubiz

          Yeah, this is my soy sauce of choice. Started for health reasons but now I just like it a lot. Definately won't overwhelm with flavor when used for dipping.
          I try and avoid any of them that just use caramel color like la Choy or something.

          1. re: Carol Chubiz

            here's another vote for San-J!

          2. i am not an avid cook, but my mother is cantonese and cooks only with

            Pearl River Bridge Light Superior Soy Sauce.

            my grandmother (mom's mom) is a tremendously wonderful cook in Hong Kong who use to teach cooking classes, so perhaps this is the soy sauce my grandmother uses!

            i dont believe the label actually says Pearl River Bridge in English (i look for Light Superior Soy Sauce), but fortunately (and miraculously) i found a photo of the bottle online!

            happy stirfrying.

            oh.. and for those who don't know "light" isn't for calories but refers to the darkness of the soy sauce due to the fermenting time.. dark longer than light. light is used primarily for cooking.


            5 Replies
            1. re: starflyer

              I agree. The "Light" is great for flavoring stir-fried dishes, for at table dipping, etc. The Dark (Laoyou) is more for stewing dishes, like red-cooked anything, or for braising. Again, I will only buy Pearl River brand. I like it the best.
              For rice vinegar, go for the black Chinese vinegar from zhenjiang (chinkiang), jiangsu province. Nothing better.

              1. re: Jerome

                Thanks for mentioning the black rice vinegar. I often use it as a substitute in recipes that call for balsamico.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  You remind me that many years ago, all good Chinese restaurants had a cruet of black vinegar on the table to jazz up soups and chow mein. Some people thought it was light soy. What ever happened to that custom???

                  1. re: Jim H.

                    Those cruets have been replaced by the obligatory pot of sambal or other chili sauce. Only room and budget for one condiment, I guess. You can still ask for it, and it will appear in most cases, although often it's just white vinegar. No thank you.

              2. re: starflyer

                Thanks for the rec. i'll try it out.

                I've been using a Japanese soy sauce called Nama Shoya, under the brand name Owsawa. It bills itself as organic and unpasteurized. I use it more as a finishing sauce than a cooking sauce. It's got a delicate, wonderful flavor, not overpowered by salt. The only place I've ever seen it is the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn.

              3. By the company?

                By the type, "marudaizu shoyu" is really great.