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Soy Sauce

Favorite soy? I've always been a Kikkoman guy for all purpose use, but I picked up a bottle of Pearl River Bridge the other day.

Boy, do I regret it! No roundness of flavor at all, just overwhelmingly salty.

What are some good brands?

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  1. I just saw a Cooks Illustrated show where they ranked Eden's brand of organic soy sauce first, Tamari soy sauce 2nd, and Kikoman 3rd.

    1. Pearl River Bridge is an excellent Chinese soy producer. It makes different varieties of soy, chief among them being dark or light. If you want authentic Chinese cooking, you need to know the differences and use them accordingly. Americans are much more accustomed to Japanese soy or tamari sauce.

      1. I love the Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce. It's definitely a different flavor, almost sweet and licorice-like, and very thick. I use it mostly in Chinese marinades.

        1. I use Pearl River a lot, both light and dark. They are both excellent. I find Kikkoman bland and generic.

          1. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but the Pearl River I bought (light) was very thin and dark, and tasted almost only of salt. I did a tasting between PRB and La Choy (among the blandest american supermarket varieites) and the La Choy came out on top. Not nearly as salt, with just a bit of richness that the PRB lacked.

            As for Kikkoman (and maybe this is just a general characteristic of Japanese-style soys), the flavor is salty, sweet, and a bit fermented, winey, almost. It seems much more complex.

            Is it possible that I just got a "skunked" or "corked" bottle of soy? Should I try again?

            2 Replies
            1. re: antrobin

              Maybe this is one of those things that have 2 (or perhaps more) camps: Chinese v Japanese soy sauces.

              It's a combination of preference, nostalgia, familiarity, what we've learned, etc. I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, it's just preference.

              I too prefer Kikkoman (lite) for that fermented taste you mentioned. I'll use Chinese soy sauce for Chinese dishes and Kikkoman for everything else.

              1. re: antrobin

                Sounds like the usual excellent light soy sauce from PRB. That's how it should be. And it has its uses just that way:


                You should try PRB dark soy for contrast.

                I also like Japanese tamari sauce. But each type of sauce is appropriate in different circumstances. To put it another way, "Soy sauce" is no more generic than "BBQ sauce".

                1. I use Kikkoman Low-Sodium and Healthy Boy Thin and Black soy sauce.

                  1. I used to think that Kikkoman light soy ws just for people with high blood pressure. But because of the lessened sodium, the fermented taste shines through more clearly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: crowsonguy

                      I agree. I like the taste of the low-sodium Kikkoman over the full strength.

                      You get the taste while being more in control of the saltiness of what you are making -- can add other salty ingredients more freely.

                    2. Pearl River... this was the brand I grew up with. Also, I dunno how accurate the labels are but Pearl River's does not list MSG ... most other brands do.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: S U

                        MSG is often labelled as other things in ingredient lists.