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Coconut aminos as soy sauce alternative

RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 09:37 AM

Okay, so curiosity has gotten the best of me, and I've been hunting down info on coconut aminos, as I've been seeing this product mentioned in more and more recipes. Basically, it's fermented raw coconut sap and salt, which is supposed to taste like soy sauce, but be healthier for you because of all the amino acids in it.

The best comparison site I've seen to compare soy sauce, tamari and coconut aminos is this page:


My question is, does it really taste like soy sauce, or does it have a different taste, like tamari does vs. soy sauce?

I'm having a devil of a time finding a bottle to try out without paying outrageous shipping costs for a single bottle. Even the new Hong Phat supermarket here in Portland—which stocks several high-end 40°N fish sauces—doesn't have it, but one of the employees there was nice enough to google it on his phone to see where they might stock it if they did carry it, as he'd never heard of it.

Has anyone ever tried it? Been successful finding a store which stocks it? Have any personal pros or cons to report based on personal use?

Thanks in advance for any info you might have.

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  1. c oliver RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 09:50 AM

    I've not been able to find any reputable citation that soy is unhealthy for anyone. Here's an article that may help in your decision making.


    1. rmarisco RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 09:55 AM

      whole foods carries it

      it tastes much different than tamari or soy to me, but will give some semblance of an umami flavor. it's different - but worth trying if you can find a bottle, and the only real alternative for raw "cooking" (i have also seen raw nama shoyu at WF.. it costs even more than the coconut aminos!) Personally, i use it sparingly. I definitely taste a sweetness to it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rmarisco
        RelishPDX RE: rmarisco Apr 20, 2014 10:09 AM

        Well right you are! Don't know why I didn't think of WF. I just called and they have an 8 oz. bottle for $5.95 at the location right around the corner from the Trader Joe's I was planning on swinging by this afternoon in the Hollywood District.

        Thank you!

        I've some chicken drumsticks in the fridge just waiting for a turmeric marinade I wanted to use on them today—think I'll try it out in that recipe.

        1. re: rmarisco
          Chris VR RE: rmarisco Apr 20, 2014 07:05 PM

          Is there any kind of coconut flavor?

          1. re: Chris VR
            Ttrockwood RE: Chris VR Apr 21, 2014 06:20 PM

            Not at all

        2. Ttrockwood RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 03:10 PM

          Unless you have some serious medical situation that prevents you from having sodium i would stick with soy sauce. Coconut aminos are similar in flavor but really not quite the same depth or umami factor as soy. And easily 4xs more expensive.

          1. o
            ohmyyum RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 03:50 PM

            Whole foods carries it. It's popular with the paleo and gf crowd.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ohmyyum
              c oliver RE: ohmyyum Apr 20, 2014 06:33 PM

              Why is that please?

              1. re: c oliver
                sedimental RE: c oliver Apr 20, 2014 07:00 PM

                Because, as ohmyyum indicated, coconut aminos are GF and Paleo. Soy sauce is not.

                1. re: c oliver
                  Chris VR RE: c oliver Apr 20, 2014 07:04 PM

                  Soy sauce typically has wheat gluten, so gluten free eaters avoid it.

                  1. re: Chris VR
                    c oliver RE: Chris VR Apr 20, 2014 07:06 PM

                    Thanks for answering a sincere question.

                    1. re: Chris VR
                      KarenDW RE: Chris VR Apr 21, 2014 07:06 PM

                      Bragg's soy aminos are also gluten free. So, if soy is not an issue...

                2. s
                  sedimental RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 07:05 PM

                  Netrition has them, they have a shipping rate at under 5 bucks most of the time.

                  1. r
                    RelishPDX RE: RelishPDX Apr 20, 2014 07:14 PM

                    Quick update: I was able to find an 8 oz. bottle of the 'Coconut Secret' brand at Whole Foods, but I had to go to two of them to find it. It's on sale this week for $5.95, and it was sold out at the first WF I visited.

                    I put a little dab on my fingertip and it didn't taste like anything, but I've got some plain white rice in the fridge, so later I'll do a taste test against the teaspoon of Kikkoman regular soy sauce I have left.

                    My main interest in coconut aminos is the nutrition aspect of it, plus basic curiosity about a trending item, as there's so little info out there about it.

                    1. r
                      RelishPDX RE: RelishPDX Apr 21, 2014 07:02 PM

                      Okay, so I did the white rice taste test last night, drizzling standard Kikkoman soy sauce over one bowl of reheated rice, the coconut aminos drizzled over the other bowl.

                      Result: I could barely taste the coconut aminos. There was almost zero flavor there, except a hint of sweetness as was mentioned in another reply. What a huge disappointment.

                      Next, I used the coconut aminos for a batch of Turmeric Chicken, using this recipe which listed coconut aminos as an ingredient, letting the chicken legs marinate overnight last night:


                      I couldn’t find the recipe I’d used the last time I made Turmeric Chicken (it’s on the HD of a computer that’s in storage, darn it), but I remember wolfing it down it was so good. This recipe was an absolute ‘meh’ when it came out of the oven. Since I’d split up the marinating into two separate ziploc bags, I added a tablespoon of regular, everyday soy sauce that I picked up today to the second bag, and let it marinate for a couple more hours. Man, what a difference. The recipe still wasn’t what I remember, but the result was that the chicken simply came alive flavor-wise in comparison. I don’t know how else to describe it.

                      Verdict: Don’t believe the hype that coconut aminos are a soy sauce alternative. The flavor just isn’t there. If what you eat is rich and varied enough that you don’t need to specifically boost your diet with amino acids, give this fad a pass. You won’t be missing a thing, and simply making your food taste unnecessarily bland at 3x the cost of normal, everyday soy sauce. If you’re thinking about buying a bottle for the gluten-free aspect, there are plenty of GF tamari sauces out there to choose from instead which actually do taste like something.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: RelishPDX
                        c oliver RE: RelishPDX Apr 21, 2014 07:07 PM

                        I SO appreciate your post.

                        1. re: RelishPDX
                          Ttrockwood RE: RelishPDX Apr 24, 2014 05:28 PM

                          Great post! Kind of amazing what kind of flavor salty soybeans can add.......

                          1. re: RelishPDX
                            meatn3 RE: RelishPDX Apr 24, 2014 10:53 PM

                            I agree. I did a taste testing of several brands when they first hit the markets (was a buyer for a health food store).
                            From a flavor perspective I was very underwhelmed.

                            But the raw food people really are gung ho so they continue to to serve a niche.

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