HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Soy Sauce

Where can I get soy and other Asian sauces that have more kick than La Choy or Kikkoman"s?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Asian markets and finer grocery stores all carry it, or you can order it online.

    1. Here's my favorite, very flavorful, and not too expensive choice whenever I need some more: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000... (Pearl River Bridge
      )They have a wide variety at Amazon, if the one above doesn't seem to fit your liking as well:
      http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/?_enc... (I excluded Kikkoman from the search, so hopefully it doesn't come up


      Otherwise I would go to a local Asian market as said above, and ask the salesman there to point you in the right direction.

      10 Replies
      1. re: JVHcook

        Pearl River Bridge is a good brand. Since the OP is in Chicago, there should be Asian markets where this would be easy to find. For general use, go with the light. The dark is good for more specific uses.

        1. re: Terrie H.

          Yeah, I've been very happy with them. I didn't realize I linked to the dark, it was the first one to come up. You're correct in that the light is what I use most often.

          1. re: Terrie H.

            If the OP is in Chicago and not too far from the red line, Tai Nam market has a bunch of sauces. It's right off the Argyle stop:


            1. re: Terrie H.

              I say go with the dark. It's worth the extra boldness. It's so far beyond the typical soy sauce brands, I think I'd stroke out if I had one better that Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce.

              1. re: achtungpv

                Dark soy sauce is generally used primarily for color, and is used for different applications from regular soy sauce - they can't be used interchangeably, though they are often used together.

                1. re: achtungpv


                  Cantonese (not sure how it is elsewhere in China) "dark" and "light" soy sauce are two completely different items. The reference is to the colour only.

                  Cantonese light (sometimes called superior) is a flavoring sauce that you can use somewhat interchangably with soy sauces of other places. However, dark soy sauce is completely different: it is used for imparting colour onto the food. They are completely different.


                  1. re: Dalbunosky

                    You did see that I said they *can't* be used interchangeably, right? I don't see anyone in this thread suggesting that they can or should be used interchangeably.

                    1. re: will47

                      The reply was for achtung, and I was reiterating because I found it to be that important.

                2. re: Terrie H.

                  My ma is using Pearl River Bridge because she has to. She's been complaining about the lack of flavor in the sauce compared to that of her childhood. So for a while we have been buying different brands.

                  The result was that Kikkoman is very bad. I also bought a bottle of pat chun, a Hong Kong brand (I live in San Francisco) and turns out the bottle was actually caramel sauce (Same stuff in the little "soy sauce" packets for Chinese takeout)

                  The bright spot was Taiwan's WanJaShan, I gave my mom a blind test and she mixed up WJS and PRB, so for what I know, I'd be buying WJS more in the future.

                  We are still using PRB, but we are using the fancier black bottles.

              2. Kick? How much of a kick do you want in your soy sauce! I'm a big fan now of Wan Ja Shan Organic Soy Sauce. Taiwan company, brewed in NY. Frankly I try to avoid mainland brands like Pearl River given the serious problems in China of corruption, pollution and food safety issues.


                1 Reply
                1. re: scoopG

                  Kick? How much of a kick do you want in your soy sauce!

                  That was my thought as well.

                  Never heard of soy sauce as either having too much or too little "kick".

                2. There are many soy sauces. Kikkoman is more inline with Japanese shōyu. For Chinese style soy sauce, I recommend Koon Chun light soy sauce also known as thin soy sauce. It has very simple ingredients, but very deep favor:



                  I personally dislike Pearl River Bridge a lot. I know many do like it, but I cannot stand it. Now it you like the Tawianese style soy sauce, then Kimlan is a good brand. Taiwan soy sauce often has sugar added.

                  Here is another thread you may find helpful:


                  1. You can get better quality and more nuanced (and considerably more expensive) soy sauce at most of the Japanese supermarkets in the area, however, I would guess that they'll be more subtle than Kikkoman, rather than having "more kick". That's what you're paying for.

                    There will be different types (some made with wheat, some without), and the flavors may be slightly different.

                    Which type will be ideal will probably depend on what you want to use the soy sauce for, how much of it you're going to go through, and what kind of taste you're looking for.

                    1. If I want kick, I add a bit of red chili flakes to soy sauce...started using Kimlan a few years ago & prefer it to kikkoman & pearl river.

                      1. I don't know what you mean by "kick," but some Chinese soy sauce (dark) is intended only for cooking, so you need that and a lighter one.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: GH1618

                          Agreed - the "kick" is going to come come from other ingredients. Hard to tell what kick means in this case.

                          1. If you see it for sale somewhere, try the Thai product, made by more than one manufacturer, labeled golden mountain sauce. It's another style of soy sauce. Also, Indonesia produces several styles of soy sauce (called ketsap ... guess what western product borrowed the name). Ketsap manis is a thick and sweet soy sauce. I prefer Chinese- and Taiwanese-style sauces for general use, but Kikkoman is an excellent sauce for marinades. But that's Kikkoman soy sauce ... I avoid the other Kikkoman options such as ready-made so-called teriyaki sauce, barbecue sauce, etc. And finally, consider fish sauce, Vietnamese or Thai. A magic ingredient for pastas and sauces that would normally include an anchovy or two.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: emu48

                              I have to object on the Kikkoman part: My household uses 1 soy sauce for our daily works, both in cooking and marinating.
                              We once had a bottle of extra fancy Kikkoman and used it for marinating ground pork.

                              The pork turned sour, in a very unnatural way. Not a vinegar or spoiled or citrus way of sour, but a more subtle way, like we used the wrong sauce.

                              We have a very transparent (beer bottle colour) thai soy sauce in the (SE oriented)Asian markets here before. It's literally called "white sauce king" in Chinese. Not sure if it is similar to Japanese light soy or not.

                            2. My hands-down favorite is Wuan Chuang.

                              1. Wuan Chuang- Absolutely great stuff, real dimension & depth of flavor and a hint of sweetness at the finish.


                                I also keep Bragg's Liquid Aminos for when I want a more tamari-like flavor, in a salad dressing for instance.

                                1. I have recently started using Lee Kum Kee Double Fermented Soy Sauce. I just compared it to two others straight out of the bottle, San-J Premium Tamari (reduced sodium) and Kikkoman All-Purpose (less sodium). The LKK DF is the only one that tastes good taking it straight — flavorful and not too salty. I don't have any other Chinese soy sauces to comparw it to at this time, but I like it well enough that I think I'll stick with it.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    This one:


                                    Yeah, this one is pretty good and have one in my refrigerator right now. It is Lee Kum Kee's premium soy sauce.

                                  2. Out of curiosity. I've done a side by side tasting of soy sauces.

                                    Lee Kum Kee, Pearl River, Koon Chun, Kimlan and Kikkoman.

                                    My preference was Lee Kum Kee for dipping while Kikkoman and Koon Chun are good for cooking.

                                    Pearl River and Kimlan just tasted like very salty water.

                                    In regards to Koon Chun, when I sneak peeks into some of my favorite Chinese restaurant kitchens most of the time Koon Chun products are in the back. I'm not sure if it's an indicator of quality or an indicator of price/availability.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      <In regards to Koon Chun, when I sneak peeks into some of my favorite Chinese restaurant kitchens most of the time Koon Chun products are in the back. I'm not sure if it's an indicator of quality or an indicator of price/availability.>

                                      I really like Koon Chun. I think you are correct to question "quality" vs "price/availability". In my opinion, they are all true. Koon Chun soy sauce is some of the best Chinese soy sauce I have used. It uses very simple ingredients without coloring agents and preservatives for its thin soy sauce (also known as light soy sauce).


                                      I am not saying that none of their sauces use coloring agents or preservatives, but many of them do not.

                                      Their prices are also not bad. They are not the cheapest, but they are not expensive. Finally, availability is a factor too. Although they are difficult to find in regular supermarkets, Koon Chun products often come in bulk size which works well for restaurants.


                                    2. Question: When using raw soy sauce/ nama shoyu, is it necessary to pasterise it first or is it ok to use to use raw as a dipping sauce?