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Soy Sauce in Montreal

Can someone recommend me a brand of soy sauce and a place to buy it? This is an ongoing 'thing' for me. I hate Kikkoman - especially on sushi, but in general as well. It tastes too salty, strong and heavy. I have tried other soy sauces from the grocery store and never found one I liked. Someone said I should buy the China Lily stuff because it was sweeter, but it was just like sweet Kikkoman - still heavy and strong. I am not a soy sauce snob, in fact I always like the little packagaes of it that come with supermarket sushi (yes, I sometimes buy spicy salmon sushi from loblaws - it comes with little soy sauce packets) - that stuff seems a lot lighter and slightly sweet but not *sweet*. So I'm pretty sure this isn't about me needing to go out of my way to get something pricey and high end. I'm not familiar with any of the terms I should be using. So if anyone can recommend a light, sweetish soy sauce that would be good on sushi (Kikkoman *did* do a version for sushi specifically, and it still wasn't good), as well as where I can get it, please do so. Also, if there is a term for the thing I am looking for, fill me in. :)

EDIT: I would also like to know where to find thin/skinny dry egg noodles (for an Asian noodle dish) - I can only find large/flat/German-style egg noodles at the regular grocery store.

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  1. For Japanese dishes you are probably looking for tamari soy sauce a sauce made from mIso soy.
    VH was the sauce I grew up with in Montreal and they make a low sodium soy. Conagra has purchased VH but i cannot vouch for quality.
    There are a number of brands of tamari soy and I suggest you do your own taste test.
    Cook's Illustrated tested a number of Soys in 2007 and reached the conclusion of different soys for different uses but if you can get a hold of Cook's illustrated january 2007 or read the article on line Nama Shoyu might be what you are looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Moedelestrie

      Thank you! I just signed up for their 14 day trial (must remember to cancel it!) and read the article. Very interesting, it seems like the favourites were wildly different - literally the most and least salty sauces won. Also, the saltier one was the favourite for cooking, and the least salty best for dipping. I am fine to use plain ol Kikkkoman when cooking with it, but I am specifically looking for a soy sauce to use as a dip or just sprinkled over veg. So I'm going to try the winner (Ohsawa Nama Shuyu Organic Unpasteurized) and also the 'recommended with some reservations' San-J Organic Shoyu, because the word "vinegary" in the description makes me think I might like it. I may also pick up the Lee Kum Kee (co-winner and saltiest) just to see if it's something I can stand.

      Thanks so much for the link. I can now hit Miyamoto tomorrow armed with SOME knowledge. :)

      EDIT: Question: It doesn't look like Cooks Illustrated tested any tamari soy sauce. I'll get them to recommend me one at Miyamoto.

      Also, interesting, my sister uses soy sauce a lot and likes to do gluten-free. I don't know whether to tell her about the wheat or not.

    2. Try LEE KUM KEE brand Premium Soy Sauce. It's available in oriental grocery stores and in some large food stores. In Asian food stores it is cheaper than Kikkoman brand products. — Thin noodles are commonly available in Asian food stores

      4 Replies
      1. re: JMPSR

        Thank you (both). I am going to Miyamoto in an hour or so with a big list, I will add the Lee Kum Kee to it (I want to buy a few small bottles to try out different ones) - they also said they have the noodles, frozen. Yay!

        Moedelestrie - it's funny you mentioned Cook's Illustrated in the context you did - almost as soon as I got to the website I felt like I would like it, and am going to go ahead and get the online subscription. There's no such thing as too 'sciencey'! :) I spent over 2 hours just combing through their taste test sections last night.

        1. re: montrealeater

          If you can't find it at Miyamoto (not sure how much Chinese stuff they have) you can head west on Sherbrooke to Epicerie Coréene et Japonaise at the corner of Beaconsfield (across from Akhavan) - they have tons of soy varieties.

          1. re: kpzoo

            +1 on this. I have purchased a few different ones (sometimes, they don't stock the same ones) there, and liked them.

            There is one I esp. like right now, I can't tell you the name because there's not a single western alphabet character on the packaging.

            However, if you go to that Korean store, check their soy sauce section. My faves is located leftmost, on the top shelf, where three kinds of soy sauces (probably same brand) come wrapped in paper and are priced from about 11$ to oh, about 18$. I bought the cheapest of the three and wow, it is ever good! It's a little smoky, which I love.

            1. re: TheSnowpea

              11$ is a lot for a bottle of soy sauce. In Asian stores, LEE KUM KEE Premium Soy Sauce and other varieties is more like 3$ to 5$ for a 500ml bottle.

      2. Hope you had success in finding the right soy. For thin dry egg noodles I would suggest your ethnic or kosher food section of your local supermarket. Manishevitz, and several other companys make a number of styles of egg noodles that are excellent in oriental cuisine including thin and broad and flat varieties and the quality is very good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Moedelestrie

          Moedelestrie, you're going to laugh at me. I called Miyamoto before going, just to check if they had the kind of soy sauce I was after. The guy understood me an assured me he would pick a good one. So, off to Miyamoto - got the noodles, some kombu, some gluten free soy sauce for my sister and then asked the person behind the counter to get me "the soy sauce for sushi and dipping" that we had discussed on the phone. I did not realize they were not the same person, so didn't bother checking the bottle at all when he came back with it.

          Arrive home. Check purchases. Soy sauce is Kikkoman! The stuff made especially for sushi and sashimi, which I have tried, don't like, and specifically mentioned to the person on the phone I didnt want. Nobody's fault but my own - will go back and exchange it soon. DUH.

          I'll try a Jewish store, too, because although Miyamoto had the noodles they are of the frozen variety and I want the dry kind so i can throw em in the cupboard and leave em there.

          Thanks for all of your help, Moedelestrie. I hope my tale hasn't forced you to decide I am too hopeless to give advice to! :)

          1. re: montrealeater

            I am going into Montreal this week and will do a shop at Thai Foo in Brossard and will let you know about the soy.

        2. On this week's trip into Montreal business and friends were the priority so I did little shopping. Thai 1875 Panama in Ville Brossard has a huge assortment of Soy sauce but I could not find a tamari sauce. They have a large number of dry thin egg noodles if that is still on your shopping list. I did pick up a bottle of soba noodle dipping sauce and a light as opposed to dark soy.
          It was only when I got back home that I realized that Akhavan has a large number of oriental soys and even though I had purchased the tamari almonds and sushi crackers I had forgotten to see if they had tamari. I guess I will have to check that out on my next trip to Montreal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Moedelestrie

            Thanks for the report, Moedelestrie. I bought an assortment of noodles from Mikimoto and have tried a couple - one was very successful (labeled as 'Cantonese style') - the other extremely unsuccessful as they were goopy, tasted strongly eggy and clumped together too easily. I have kept the packaging for the ones I liked and I will see if I can find them anywhere closer, maybe Akhavan? Do they do noodles?

            Anyway thanks for the update!

            1. re: montrealeater

              I am fairly certain Akhavan does noodles and I remember buying noodles there. The are Halal and therefore their selection is limited to kosher and halal but I really like their quality. By the way their tamari almonds are terrific and not at all too salty. The egg noodles at Thai Foo are labeled egg noodles and have various nations of manufacture. With more and more food out of China carrying halal and kosher certification I am finding new things on every visit to Ahkavan. I have been buying Pearl River Soy for 40 years and it is amazing to me to find the halal certification on what I considered the ultimate Chinese food export.

          2. Found Akita Brand Tamari soy in local IGA in Stanstead I wonder if it is not available everywhere with it having a DElson Quebec distributor.

            1. I know this post is a few weeks old but anyway... The best soy sauce I've ever bought is from Thailand. Its simply called "Soya Seasoning Sauce" manufactured by Transhing Investment Inc. I was introduced to it by a Vietnamese grocer. It has a very good flavour, not too heavy and less salty. Once I started using it, I didn't buy any other brand as I could see that other products dominated the food too much. Most Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese grocers carry it. For the noodles, they are easy to find in any Asian store. Across the street from P & A on Fort street is a great Asian grocery with a small produce, meat section downstairs. Reliable place.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Professional_Amateur

                After working in sushi restaurants for a few years I am a convert to YAMASA soy sauce. In general, I find japanese soy more refined than chinese. Depending on the sushi dish I often water it down. You can find it at Miaymoto on Victoria, or the large asian market by Plamondon metro (name escapes me). I believe the korean and japanese asian market on St Catherine by du Fort stocks it as well.

                1. re: tocino.

                  I agree and so did the chef at Miyamoto's cooking classes . He said Kikkoman is made in the states and batch is uneven ( quality control) and the low sodium stuff is actually saltier in taste!
                  I have their ( Yamasa) Mirin.

              2. Kim Lan light soy sauce is very good. It's a brand from Taiwan. They also have low sodium soy sauce and ponlai soy sauce which is described as similar to Japanese soy sauces. Places like Kim Phat, Marché Hawaii and Chinatown will carry it - along with fresh skinny egg noodles (chow mein).

                1. As a Chinese Canadian, I like Kimlan soya from Taiwan for eating sushi. You can buy it in Chinatown. China Lily is an awful product which I think is targeted at an unknowing audience. In Chinese cooking at least there are "cooking soyas" including Mushroom Soya and Dark soya, both used in small quantities for coloring the dish, whereas Light cooking soyas are for most stewed dishes. Light soya in Chinese brands means light in colour only, not in salt or flavor. No one wants a pitch black stewed pork rib dish.....sounds like you need to take a trip to Chinatown. It's all there, noodles too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Mandarine

                    Are there any tasty GLUTEN FREE soya sauces available in Canada?

                    1. re: JMPSR

                      Tamari is gluten-free and many brands are widely available.

                    2. re: Mandarine

                      Yes, or Marché Hawaii where you'll find aisles and aisles of different soy sauces. We're going through our big bottle of kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) pretty quickly. And there are four aisles of dried noodles there from all Asian countries. Tamari is easy to find at Tau and Segal's, also maybe Les Freres Sakaris (as they also own Thai Hour). Eden likely has very good soy sauces too. Also, there is no shame in mixing or watering down soy sauces for eating with sushi - I think a lot of places do that. Like Mandarine, I keep a few different sauces on hand for different dishes, and never use China Lily.

                      1. re: Mandarine

                        On mushroom soys: that explains why I found my one bottle so awful and wondered how the heck this was supposed to be good. Thanks for the tip!