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Soy sauce


glenn
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New to Chinese cooking...

I'm in South America and my choices are extremely limited unless I order online. My options are basically only a Latin American brand and Kikkoman. The guy I get tofu from is selling Teshima though. Is that appropriate for Chinese cuisine? Or, am I better off with Kikkoman?

Thanks.

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9 minutes ago, scott123 said:

Question :) Are you looking to make authentic Chinese cuisine from a particular province- or are you looking to recreate your favorite Chinese American restaurant dishes at home? 

That's a really good question!  Because if it's the latter (what I'd be trying to do), Kikkoman is tasty and perfect.  The usual choice of many Chinese American restaurants.  

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13 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Although Kikkoman is Japanese, it'll be fine in most Chinese dishes, if that's all you can get. Not my first choice, though

 

 

So funny - I knew that Kikkoman was Japanese, but it didn't register because it truly is on the table of just about every Chinese American restaurant I've ever gone to.  I wonder if it's a regional (Southern US or Eastern shore US) thing?

 

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1 minute ago, Kim Shook said:

So funny - I knew that Kikkoman was Japanese, but it didn't register because it truly is on the table of just about every Chinese American restaurant I've ever gone to.  I wonder if it's a regional (Southern US or Eastern shore US) thing?

 

No here too. Kikkoman used to give the restaurants little clear glass decanters with their logo for tabletop. I still see them around.

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43 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

I wonder if it's a regional (Southern US or Eastern shore US) thing?

 

 

I think it's more to do with good marketing.

 

Kikkoman is available here, but only in one expensive import store.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Thanks for the responses. 

 

I am an amateur and recently started cooking Chinese food for myself and SO. I don't get very adventurous due to difficulty in finding ingredients and my skill level. I asked about Teshiman because I thought it might be something special. I couldn't find much info about it. Based on the feedback though, Kikkoman seems like the best option.

 

15 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Although Kikkoman is Japanese, it'll be fine in most Chinese dishes, if that's all you can get. Not my first choice, though

 

I don't know Teshima.

 

What is your first choice?

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12 minutes ago, glenn said:

Thanks for the responses. 

 

I am an amateur and recently started cooking Chinese food for myself and SO. I don't get very adventurous due to difficulty in finding ingredients and my skill level. I asked about Teshiman because I thought it might be something special. I couldn't find much info about it. Based on the feedback though, Kikkoman seems like the best option.

 

 

What is your first choice?

 

Well, for a start, let me say that I am in China and have ready access to literally hundreds of brands in the various stores and supermarkets around town. Few if any of them are likely to be available in Colombia, I would guess. I wrote about soy sauce here about a year ago. The black bean soy sauce mentioned there  is my go-to choice for everyday cooking, but I have about 6 other types..

 

black bean soy sauce2.jpg

Black Bean Soy Sauce

 

I understand that is not very helpful, but my chances of finding anything needed to cook Columbian food is equally limited, if not more!

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Liuzhou, interesting post from a year ago. 

I'm guessing I shouldn't sweat over using Kikkoman (light and dark) for basic recipes? 

As for Colombia, it's the perfect place for those with gastro issues. The food is bland and flavorless unlike much of Latin America. That's one reason I took up Chinese cooking.

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27 minutes ago, glenn said:

Liuzhou, interesting post from a year ago. 

I'm guessing I shouldn't sweat over using Kikkoman (light and dark) for basic recipes? 

As for Colombia, it's the perfect place for those with gastro issues. The food is bland and flavorless unlike much of Latin America. That's one reason I took up Chinese cooking.

I believe you have Amazon in Columbia. Have you checked the soy sauce options there? I order several very good soy sauces on line, things that I can't find even here on Bay Area shelves.

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1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

I believe you have Amazon in Columbia. Have you checked the soy sauce options there? I order several very good soy sauces on line, things that I can't find even here on Bay Area shelves.

Amazon delivers to Colombia but it's shipped from the US. They also do not deliver food products. Still, not a big issue for me as I regularly use a freight forwarder. If it would make a noticeable difference for my needs, I have no problem ordering from Amazon. If you care to recommend something, I'm all ears. Thanks.  [I checked a couple of recommendations from Liuzhou and didn't see either available online.]

 

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Personally your primary ingredients (protein, veg, rice, noodle), how you prep things and your cooking methods, to me, are more important than your soy sauce. I'd suggest trying out some recipes and maybe then investing in different soy sauces. It us not a make or break or magic bullet. It is a seasoning and subtle flavor and quality variations, though discernable and impactful in some applications - until you have a taste reference - hard to tell.  Kikkoman will get you going.

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First of all, in Chinese cooking, it is important to differentiate between light and dark soy sauces. They will usually be labelled as appropriate (although light is sometimes labelled as 'superior sauce' while dark is labelled as 'sauce, superior')

 

Chinese light soy sauce is the most important. It is used for flavour. Dark is used primarily for colour. Both are often used together in the one dish, but light will predominate. A bottle of light soy lasts me maybe a month to six weeks. A same size bottle of dark lasts over a year. If you only have one, that should be light for sure.

 

The problem with Kikkomnan regular soy sauce is that it is technically a dark soy sauce. They do make a light version, but it is uncommon. In practice Kikkoman is somewhere between the two Chinese sauces. Kikkoman regular is more of a finishing sauce. Hence why @Kim Shookfinds it on "just about every Chinese American restaurant" she has frequented. Soy sauce is never on the table in Chinese retaurants in China. That said, cooking with it won't destroy your dish, although it won't be at its best, either.

 

My general recommendation would be to find a naturally brewed Chinese light soy sauce (brand matters little) to start, then supplement that with a dark as and when.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

This Epicurious article is a good primer on the differences between Japanese and Chinese  soy sauces. It makes many of the sdame points I have already made.

 

Link does not work for me.  However I still appreciate your recommendation for Pearl River Bridge.

 

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

 

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10 hours ago, liuzhou said:

This Epicurious article is a good primer on the differences between Japanese and Chinese  soy sauces. It makes many of the sdame points I have already made.

This is a nice article. I've been using a Korean soy sauce and realise now (to my horror) that it isn't naturally brewed 🙈

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@glennThese are my favorite current splurges: one is a smoked soy sauce, the other is black garlic. Both are Japanese, both intense; and definitely specialty artisanal items. I order from Amazon because I can't always find these locally. My one local source for the black garlic shoyu disappeared, but with Amazon Prime it is the same price anyway. I also use Kikkoman to thin sauces out. There are lots of products out there I want to try. I also keep a dark Chinese soy sauce on hand; I am cooking Chinese food with all of them.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G7MOHJO/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_8?smid=A3VDBPE82S43CG&psc=1

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HN2YPV4/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_4?smid=A3EG2S0U6KWUM9&psc=1

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I had no idea my question was not straightforward! Thanks to everyone for the enlightenment.

I decided to experiment a bit starting with Golden Label Superior light to be used alongside Kikkoman.

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8 hours ago, glenn said:

I decided to experiment a bit starting with Golden Label Superior light

 

Is that the Pearl River Bridge brand? If so, good choice. But beware. "Golden Label Superior" is not trademarked - several companies use  that description.

What are you planning on making? What style of Chinese?

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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14 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Is that the Pearl River Bridge brand? If so, good choice. But beware. "Golden Label Superior" is not trademarked - several companies use  that description.

What are you planning on making? What style of Chinese?

 

Yes, Pearl River. I'm glad I guessed that it was a good choice :).

 

As I mentioned, I've only been making simple/basic dishes due to difficulty in finding ingredients. But more so, due to my lack of cooking skills. That said, I've made chicken curry, kung pao chicken with cashews, Szechuan string beans, spicy snow peas, chicken with oyster sauce, fried rice, ants climbing a tree (I need to find a better noodle) and Szechuan tofu stir-fry. I started cooking Chinese food about 2 months ago and generally make 1 dish every week.

 

Thanks for your insights and helpful info.

 

 

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1 minute ago, glenn said:

As I mentioned, I've only been making simple/basic dishes due to difficulty in finding ingredients. But more so, due to my lack of cooking skills. That said, I've made chicken curry, kung pao chicken with cashews, Szechuan string beans, spicy snow peas, chicken with oyster sauce, fried rice, ants climbing a tree (I need to find a better noodle) and Szechuan tofu stir-fry. I started cooking Chinese food about 2 months ago and generally make 1 dish every week.

A number of my Chinese friends ended up in areas of the US (Stevens Point, WI, for one) that lacked local sources of Chinese ingredients back in the '70s & '80's.  I was surprised at some of the substitutions they came up with, though they had the advantage of knowing what they were aiming for in terms of flavor and textures.   If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend reaching out to any Chinese expat groups in your area.  Perhaps affiliated with a college or university?  I suspect your interest would be well received and you may get some good suggestions for tracking down ingredients or good local substations. 

All the best with pursuing your interest

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26 minutes ago, glenn said:

I've only been making simple/basic dishes

 

Most Chinese family cooking in China is simple and basic. Don't worry about that.  A good introduction to Chinese home cooking is Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop (eG-friendly Amazon.com link). That is the food my neighbours are cooking every day.

 

If you  want to get more advanced, any of her books are worth a look.

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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