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Preferred brand of soy sauce


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22 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

All my life I've used the grocery store versions of La Choy or Kikkoman.  Kikkoman was what was on the tables of every Chinese restaurant I ever ate at - even in Chinatown, DC.  It wasn't until I started reading about food in serious magazines and online that I even realized that, of course, there were differences in soy sauces, just like there are differences in the quality of all condiments.  But I never did anything about it until last week when my need for going to an Asian market coincided with running out of soy sauce.  So I did a little cellphone eG research standing in the sauce aisle (not as easy as it sounds) and came up with this:

 

How did I do?  And if I didn't do well, give me some advice so I can do better next time.

 

 

As in all things - taste - to you  - is the defining factor. Also different soy sauces have different applications. My everyday preference is Kikkoman - the version with ingredient list below. Barbara Tropp turned me onto Pearl River Mushroom Soy for certain dishes. It is a big field and cheap to play with. I get my Kikkoman at Asian markets in bigger bottle. Out now (thank you CV19).  

Ingredients

Water Soy Beans, Wheat, Salt, Alcohol.

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37 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

All my life I've used the grocery store versions of La Choy or Kikkoman.  Kikkoman was what was on the tables of every Chinese restaurant I ever ate at - even in Chinatown, DC.  It wasn't until I started reading about food in serious magazines and online that I even realized that, of course, there were differences in soy sauces, just like there are differences in the quality of all condiments.  But I never did anything about it until last week when my need for going to an Asian market coincided with running out of soy sauce.  So I did a little cellphone eG research standing in the sauce aisle (not as easy as it sounds) and came up with this:

IMG_4034.jpg.e02937c190d7e8171862f767820153b2.jpg

How did I do?  And if I didn't do well, give me some advice so I can do better next time.

 

Years ago, I lived in an otherwise all-Chinese neighbourhood. Over a period of a few months, I came to realize that all of my neighbours used PRB soy sauce, so I started using it as well. It's not at all artisanal, just a mass-market product, but to my taste it's a good one and still my default.

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Though I know they exist I haven't found any real discernable differences from the obscure Asian mrkt varieties to the Kikkoman's of the world.  For a while I thought low-sodium was the way to go but found it to be no more than a watered down version of regular so I usually get it and cut it w water when desired.  

 

Of course someone had to come up w a recent best of https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-soy-sauces-4691499  

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That wasn't chicken

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black bean soy sauce2.jpg

 

This is my new favourite. It is 黑豆原酿酱油 (hēi dòu yuán niàng jiàng yóu), which means "black bean soy sauce". Regular soy sauce is made from yellow soy beans, but this from black soy beans. The sauce has a deeper flavour than regular, but is less salty and with a more mellow aftertaste.

 

black soya beans.jpg

Black Soy Beans

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  • 5 months later...

 

Somewhere on eGullet a soy sauce called Takesan Kishibori Shoyu was mentioned.  I went to order something from Amazon today and noticed it was on my wish list.  Is anyone familiar with this?  I'm trying to decide whether or not to treat myself to this.

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36 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

In this topic! 6th post.

 

How stupid of me not to know that Takesan Kishibori is the same thing as Tokusen Maru-Daizu.  Thank goodness you're right here to correct me by pointing this out.

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2 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

How stupid of me not to know that Takesan Kishibori is the same thing as Tokusen Maru-Daizu.  Thank goodness you're right here to correct me by pointing this out.

 

If that is correct, I like Kikkoman Marudaizu.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I know some other Canadians will be familiar with China Lily Soy Sauce. It may be a bit coarse, but I have been known to have some in the cupboard and get the odd craving for it. A bit of a panic when it seemed to be in short supply last year, more pandemic buying? 

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/china-lily-shortage-1.5817336

 

https://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2020/11/toronto-soy-sauce-factory-shuts-down-neighbourhood-wonders-whats-coming-next/

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  • 1 year later...

For what passes as my attempt at Chinese stir fry I have been most pleased with Pearl River light.  The Pearl River recommendation was probably from another soy sauce thread I cannot now find.

 

Sadly I killed my last bottle of Pearl River light the other night.  (I still have some Pearl River dark in the refrigerator.)  Amazon just cancelled my replacement order of Pearl River light due to lack of availability.  I shan't starve.  I have several bottles of soy sauce in the bedroom, but nothing that is a good replacement for Pearl River light.  Are there any soy sauce products similar to Pearl River light that might be a step up in quality?  Ones that are available to me sitting in front of a computer in America?

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Sadly I killed my last bottle of Pearl River light

This still appears to be available on amazon.ca. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

This still appears to be available on amazon.ca. 

 

Different incarnations of Pearl River can be found here too.  I saw some in plastic bottles available from third party sellers.  When I can I always try to buy food products (or anything for that matter) that are sold directly by amazon.  I've had bad experience with counterfeit goods and strange products from third party sellers.  Most recently olives with no label.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tonight's dinner is to be stir-fried baby bok choy.  Rice is cooking.  Mise is en place.  Mai tai is in hand (technically hands, however I keep having to put the glass down to type).

 

The problem is I have yet to replenish my supply of Pearl River.  I found in the refrigerator an opened bottle of Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark and a bottle of Kikkoman brewed in Taiwan.  Neither are getting any younger.  I have about an hour to decide which goes in my stir-fry.

 

The stir-fry recipe is from Hsiao-Ching Chou.  I make it often.  There is not much to the recipe:  stir-fry your choice of cut Chinese leafy green with garlic.  I prefer baby bok choy.  Add soy sauce and water, and continue stir-frying for a couple minutes.  That's it.  But since the ingredients are so simple there is a lot riding on the soy sauce, although Chou says if you don't have soy sauce you can just use salt..

 

When I ordered the Kikkoman they sent a case of six liters.  And it was the wrong Kikkoman.  I had ordered Marudaizu.  If something on amazon is unexpectedly inexpensive there is probably a reason.  Of course I did not have to pay, and eventually I got my Marudaizu.  I gave one of the Taiwan Kikkoman bottles to a Taiwanese friend of my son's who proclaimed it very good.  Of course he may have been being polite.

 

Hsiao-Ching Chou's parents were from Taiwan, and she says she prefers Taiwanese soy sauce because it is what she grew up with while her parents ran the family Chinese restaurant.  Left unspoken is the question of whether what Kikkoman brews in Taiwan is Taiwanese soy sauce, or Japanese soy sauce for the Taiwanese domestic market.  I am so confused.

 

Meanwhile amazon has Pearl River Bridge back in stock.  A liter bottle is only $7.57 in plastic.  A liter packaged in glass is still a lot more, $18.12.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

The problem is I have yet to replenish my supply of Pearl River.  I found in the refrigerator an opened bottle of Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark and a bottle of Kikkoman brewed in Taiwan.  Neither are getting any younger.  I have about an hour to decide which goes in my stir-fry.

 

9 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Hsiao-Ching Chou's parents were from Taiwan, and she says she prefers Taiwanese soy sauce because it is what she grew up with while her parents ran the family Chinese restaurant.  Left unspoken is the question of whether what Kikkoman brews in Taiwan is Taiwanese soy sauce, or Japanese soy sauce for the Taiwanese domestic market.  I am so confused.

 

Meanwhile amazon has Pearl River Bridge back in stock.  A liter bottle is only $7.57 in plastic.  A liter packaged in glass is still a lot more, $18.12.

 

 

Japan has had a huge influence on Taiwan's cuisine. The Japanese did occupy it for 50 years, ending in 1945.

I wouldn't use Lee Kum Kee. Apart from that company being low quailty, dark soy sauce in stir fried greens is not a great idea. Dark soy is only really used for colour; not flavour.

 

I'd go with the Kikkoman until you can replenish your Pearl River supply.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

 

Japan has had a huge influence on Taiwan's cuisine. The Japanese did occupy it for 50 years, ending in 1945.

I wouldn't use Lee Kum Kee. Apart from that company being low quailty, dark soy sauce in stir fried greens is not a great idea. Dark soy is only really used for colour; not flavour.

 

I'd go with the Kikkoman until you can replenish your Pearl River supply.

 

You saved me from myself.  The Lee Kum Kee went back in the bottle.  No complaints with the Kikkoman.

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't know what this is, but it's the best I've had.

 

 image.thumb.jpeg.8ef1fd71752eb9cd3de91fc4b79a1927.jpeg

 

[Edited to add: just did a reverse image search and found it here: https://www.amazon.com/Kishibori-Shoyu-Artisinal-Unadulterated-preservatives/dp/B004XX1NKQ. Kishibori Shoyu, aged in cedar. I got it at Japan Village in Brooklyn and am pretty sure I didn't pay this much.]

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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12 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

I don't know what this is, but it's the best I've had.

 

 image.thumb.jpeg.8ef1fd71752eb9cd3de91fc4b79a1927.jpeg

 

[Edited to add: just did a reverse image search and found it here: https://www.amazon.com/Kishibori-Shoyu-Artisinal-Unadulterated-preservatives/dp/B004XX1NKQ. Kishibori Shoyu, aged in cedar. I got it at Japan Village in Brooklyn and am pretty sure I didn't pay this much.]

Huh.  I have a bottle of that in my pantry but hasn't been opened yet.  I'll get right on that.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I have some of that as well, @paulraphael. And - I got it at Japan Village (which has quite an assortment of soy sauces).

 

Have you been to the sake store around the corner?

I walked by, but am not really a sake drinker.

 

They do indeed have quite a selection. I was overwhelmed, so video called a friend in Chicago who cooks a lot of Japanese food and does all his grocery shopping at Matsua. He said, "that one, get that one!"

Edited by paulraphael (log)
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1 hour ago, paulraphael said:

I walked by, but am not really a sake drinker.

 

They do indeed have quite a selection. I was overwhelmed, so video called a friend in Chicago who cooks a lot of Japanese food and does all his grocery shopping at Matsua. He said, "that one, get that one!"

 

I even got the white soy called for in any number of recipes in the Donabe cookbook. (eG-friendly Amazon.com link)

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