Artisan soy sauces
I'm a weird guy. I think soy sauces are akin to fine wine and should be treated as such. It is such an unappreciated artform because of what is available these days in the US. As a result, I've been exploring the world of high quality, artisan, traditionally made soy sauces to break away from the La Choys of the world. And the world is endless, with soy sauces aged for years in oak barrels, unpasteurized soy sauces, etc.
I've only bought a couple of brands so far and open a few.
Mitoku Brand Johsen Organic Shoyu, and Mitoku Brand Sakurazawa Yuuki unpasteurized Shoyu
Johsen shoyu is quite different than most soy sauces I've tried, as it has toasty flavors of chocolate and coffee in it. Something about it reminds me much of a nice dark beer.
Sakurazawa is basically the essence of umami. It has an incredibly sweet aroma and flavor and is very subtle on the salt.
I have a small bottle of Mitoku's Yaemon Organic Tamari and Eden's select Shoyu that I plan on trying later, but there are so many out there (some that are quite expensive and are made by family owned breweries).
What are some soy sauces out there that you would treasure like your favorite bottle of wine?
re: Miss Needle
Simply Natural is a company out of New Hampshire that caters to macrobiotic products. They carry a lot of Mitoku products. (Including my favorite mirin, as mentioned on other threads.)
George Ohsawa is one of the primary names for macrobiotics on the west coast as Michio Kushi is on the east. Since food is primary for macrobiotics, whether or not one is macrobiotic they're usually a great source of quality stuff.
re: Richard 16
I just found out (I tend to be slow on the uptake at times) that Mitoku is Ohsawa Japan's US sub-distributor and that what Goldmine sells is NOT from Ohsawa Japan; they trademarked the name "Ohsawa," which is pretty misleading. Regardless, the nama shoyu I've been buying all these years is still delicious, regardless of whose name is on it. I'm now wondering if this is actually Mitoku's Sakurazawa Yuuki shoyu.
Awesome! I found a new brand called Yamato Hishio
From the latter link, it seems to be made from the same process of draft beer, keeping all the nutritional goodness and subtle flavors. Amazing
I am very inexperienced with soy sauce. I basically pour the little packages into a bowl and mix with wasabi for my take-out sushi, and I use it as an ingredient in dressings and marinade. Most of my family dumps it on rice.
So I was wondering. If you're "tasting" soy sauce, exactly how are you eating? Do you eat it on rice, or rmaybe (?) drink it? (Like I said, I'm clueless.)
I love using my special soy sauces for tamago kake gohan, which is basically just plain rice, raw egg, and soy sauce. I put a little sesame seeds and nori on top. Man it is heaven. But I usually use it as a dipping sauce or an after-seasoning for soups or fish. I guess if I could, I would also drink it, but I'm not sure if that's too healthy.
Tamari is a great dipping sauce for sashimi, but you can splurge with some real high grade stuff. There is the famed Ohara Hisakichi I've been trying to get my hands on, but man that stuff is expensive.
The Sakurazawa according to the Mitoku description on the back of the bottle is "soy sauce is made exclusively for the Ohsawa Japan Company. Uncompromising when it comes to quality, Ohsawa's brewmaster uses the finest ingredients: special washed Oshima Island "umi no sei" sea salt, "yuuki" soybeans and wheat ecologically grown by farmers with a deep commitment to sustainable agriculture. Each step of the traditional process is carefully performed by hand, from the critical preparation of koji (cultured wheat and soybeans) to daily stirring of shoyu. Naturally aged for two years in cedar casks, Sakurazawa Shoyu is an outsanding savory saesoning that is ideal for sushi and brings out the natural flavors in any recipe calling for soy sauce. Unpasteurized. Refridgerate after opening."
On the website I bought it (http://www.simply-natural.biz/Sakuraz...
)it says "In honor of George Ohsawa, we are using his Japanese family name "Sakurazawa" as the brand-name of this exceptional soy sauce."
Basically this stuff has living koji in it. I'm not really sure if it means it gets better with age or it has specific health properties like yogurt, but the taste is sure magnificent.
Speaking of Ohsawa, they also make something called "nama shoyu" which literally means "Raw soy sauce". I think it was the favorite pick for America's Test Kitchen. I have to get my hands on that.
i just got some organic Nama Shoyu (unpasterized soy sauce) made by Ohsawa. $21.65 for a 32 fl. Oz bottle. Somewhere in the back of my mind i remembered seeing that name from this thread so I bought it and then came home to make sure. Now, reading the thread, I realized that i had gotten (still have some) a small bottle of the Mitoku shoyu when i was looking for something for my hand ground soba. It tasted good but a while later i found some white stuff floating in the bottle ...oops, probably should have refridgerated it...but then i took a skimmer and skimmed th floating stuff off, and now the rest is in my fridge.
anyhow, thanks for putting these names in my head. They are so much tastier than store bought soy sauce!