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Oct 10, 2012 07:40 PM

Soy sauce

Are all brands of soy sauce more or less the same or are some considered better than others? I ask because a recipe I want to try calls for soy sauce so, before going out and buying a bottle, I'd welcome any advice on what I should purchase. TIA.

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  1. all brands are very different. Kikkomon is Japanese and probably the most famous. Some people will say its not the best, but for general purpose its fine, and its what is used the most by everyone I have met in Japan. A lot of people also like Lee Kum Kee which is Chinese I believe. Whatever you do, stay away from VH1. I always have 2-3 different Kikkomon soy sauces in my fridge at any time.

    The recipe you have might also change which one you would use, if its a Chinese dish or Japanese dish for example.

    1. If you go to a Chinese grocery, you will find some soys intended for cooking only. These are darker and thicker than table soy found in ordinary supermarkets.

      1. Similarish inquiry - any recommendations for a good brand of dark soy sauce? I really enjoy seared tuna and usually use an Asian marinade with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, etc. I usually use light soy sauce but thought I might try dark instead. Would this work? At H Mart last week, I was very overwhelmed with the selection and did not actually see any products which were "dark soy sauce."

        12 Replies
        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Barbara Tropp (The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking) recommends Koon Chun brand, which she writes has a red, blue, and yellow label, is marked "black soy sauce," and is widely available. I don't know if that information is accurate today. I don't know what mine is, because I transferred the remainder to a large Worcestershire bottle years ago.

            1. re: GH1618

              Any tips for substitutions vs light soy sauce? Same amount OK? Marinade is usually 2:1:1/4 soy sauce:rice vinegar:sesame oil

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                same amount, it's more a a color difference.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  There can be a significant difference in saltiness between different soy sauces. I suggest experimenting, starting with a reduced amount of soy sauce. It's easy to add a little more, but you don't want to overdo the salt.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I mentioned the same thing about fish sauce - the salinity of different brands - and even within the same brand can vary fairly widely within the same type of soy sauce sauce. Same adding tamarind juice. That is why a recipe for asian food cannot be followed by rote without tasting the food (taste test).

              2. re: GH1618

                YEARS AGO? You have opened soy sauce that you have in your cupboards (or fridge) for years? Tell me I am not reading that correctly :o Soy sauces can be kept in the cupboard, but last longer in the fridge - but they do not last forever.....

                1. re: cacruden

                  I used to do a lot of Chinese cooking, so had a quart bottle of dark soy sauce. Now I rarely cook Chinese. But now that you mention it, I can't find my dark soy but found the Worcestershire bottle I kept it in. I must have dumped the remainder during a rare episode of tidying up my kitchen. Now I have the same problem as the OP, but since I live near Chinatown I have a lot of choices.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Have the same problem recently - very little cooking.... to easy just to go downstairs and about a 10 metre walk.... and have a professional cook it for me :o

                  2. re: cacruden

                    The Chinese are masters of preservation. Ever heard of a century egg? I had some "preserved vegetable" which I kept in a jar in my refrigerator for years, as I used so little of it. Now it seems to be gone, too. Drat!

                    1. re: GH1618

                      Not the same for soy sauces - I can taste the difference if I leave it in the cupboard in a matter of months. I actually store all my condiments in the fridge since I don't cook very often these days and even though it is not necessary - it does last longer/fresher in the fridge. I had a bottle of dark soy sauce in my cupboard a few years ago that was there for a year.... and it had a wee bit of mould growing atop it.

              3. It's just like EVOO.

                You get what you pay for. 'Natch.

                1. Many years ago I came across a brand called 'Yamasa' that I just loved. It had a yellow and blue label, no Asian charachters that I recall--and I haven't been able to find it in ages. Maybe it just isn't available in New England any longer?

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: KSlink

                      I loved that brand too, and now I can't find it. It was the best, and I'm pretty picky about soy, being not a big fan.

                      1. re: KSlink

                        Yes, Yamasa is a very good quality 'true brewed' soy sauce. Soy sauce is like wine or vinegar, you could spend a lifetime learning about it. Some of the cheap stuff is barely more than salt water with caramel coloring, while a really good brand will have all kinds of subtle nuance and character.