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Jun 5, 2013 12:54 PM

Soy Sauce: Does the Brand Matter?

Is soy sauce one of those products where you get what you pay for, or is there not much difference between the cheapo stuff and the dear? I've never done a taste test, but I recently purchased Roland soy sauce, which is almost 50 percent cheaper than Kikkoman, and it seems pretty good to me.

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  1. I think that if it doesn't make a difference to your enjoyment, then it doesn't make a difference. They definitely taste different, but whether it's a difference you appreciate is the thing that matters. :)

    1. It matters. The cheaper soy sauces are water, caramel coloring and flavoring. Real soy sauce starts with beans which are fermented over time. Time costs money. Time makes for flavor. I think Kikkoman as the minimum baseline. Much pricier stuff out there.

      1. I'm one that doesn't notice much difference between the fancy stuff and the cheap stuff, so I actually buy a cheap store-brand low sodium (gasp) version. I don't do a lot of extensive asian cooking either though. I usually just use soy sauce in marinades or for a quick pan sauce. I would think if you're wanting to do authentic asian cooking, then it matters.

        1. Definitely makes a difference.

          Japanese soy sauce is different than Chinese and usually better in my opinion...but that opinion aside, most serious cooks agree that the two are different enough to not really be interchangeable.

          But stay away from the cheap crap, definitely. Though to be fair, there are ones far, far worse than Roland.

          7 Replies
          1. re: The Professor

            it makes a difference to me in taste and it also makes a difference if you have any friends with celiac - only tamari marked "no wheat" can be used - all cheap soy sauces and many expensive ones have wheat added. there are also many different soy sauces if you are seriously cooking asian food, from thin to thicker, lighter to stronger, so you might want to experiment based on your recipes on your taste. But I do believe you will find the taste of good quality soy is deeper, richer, more nuanced, and worth investing in.

            1. re: The Professor

              So what is the salient difference between Chinese and Japanese? And is there a Korean soy sauce?

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  And yes, there are Korean soy sauces. In the early 80s there was a small scandal in Korea when they discovered that some of the big manufacturers in Korea were adulterating their soy sauces with salt water and carmel coloring.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Yes, there is Korean soy sauce. It's called Kamjang and it tastes quite different than Chinese and Japanese SS's

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      The Korean word for "soy sauce" is kamjang. It's not specific to Korean soy sauce though - any soy sauce is called that.

                      1. re: Shazam

                        It's actually gan-jang. Translates sauce/paste?

                        It's typically differentiated into:

                        Josun/gook Ganjang (Josun being the old term for Korea, gook being the soup)

                        Wei/jin Ganjang (Japanese style).

                        Yangjo Ganjang (not sure what it means :D).

                2. "Soy Sauce: Does the Brand Matter?"

                  Not to me.