Soy sauce

Soy sauce

Soy sauce is the emblematic condiment of the Japanese cooking. In its traditional version, soy sauce is black and goes from 2 to 34 years of age. In its white version, the sauce is ideal for the cooks, and when sweetened, for all the Japanese taste lovers.

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    <p>Dashi broth is the base, the root of the Japanese cooking. Dashi broth to infuse or concentrated is well appreciated by professionals or everyday cookers for its usefulness and for the variety of existing flavors : dashi broth with dried bonito, dashi broth with oysters, dashi with shrimps…</p>
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    <p>Sesame is really everywhere in the Japanese cooking, pastry and confectionary. White sesame has balanced notes, black sesame is more powerful and astringent, and golden sesame tasty fragrances. Roasted, the seeds, plain or flavoured, spice up your dishes nicely.</p>
  • Buckwheat & Soba
    <p>Buckwheat, or “soba” in Japanese, when roasted, has unbelievable buckwheat crepe notes and offers great possibilities for cooking, pastries and chocolate sweets.</p>
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Your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri tells you everything


Soy sauce is the emblematic condiment of Japanese cooking. In its traditional version, soy sauce is black and goes from 2 to 34 years of age. In its white version, the sauce is ideal for the cooks, and when sweetened, for all the Japanese taste lovers.


Grands crus and rare soy sauces

In Japan, there are officially 1,200 companies specializing in soy sauce. However, over 90% of them do not manufacture and limit themselves to bottling under their brand or for other establishments.

Until the 1950s, soy sauce was still a luxury item. There were nearly 10,000 manufacturers in Japan, spread over all the Prefectures of the Archipelago, and mainly active in their production area. The best sauces all came from very long and very complex fermentation processes.

The current market demands low, aggressive prices and therefore pushes the majority of manufacturers to produce soy sauces at a lower cost, all resulting from short fermentation.

This competition undermines many artisans, pushing them to abandon long fermentation.

The big manufacturers dominating the sales in supermarkets, restaurant chains, etc., use aluminum cellars, chemical yeasts, defatted soya beans, and alcohol, which have the effect of considerably accelerating fermentation to the detriment of taste, aromas, and textures.

The best manufacturers, and master craftsmen, all work in open cellars, made of «sugi» cedar wood, and confined in protected rooms to preserve bacteria on the surfaces and the ambient air. These bacteria allow the fermentation of soybean must to

follow the seasons:

  • In winter, the must or «moromi» sleeps
  • In spring, the moromi wakes up and activates
  • In summer, under the action of the heat, the moromi is very active
  • In the fall, the moromi cools down

All of these long steps are necessary to make exceptional soy sauces. The cycle can be repeated 2, 3, 5 times, or even 10, 20, 34, and 38 times for the rarest sauces. It is possible to speak of great vintages from 2 or 3 years of fermentation. Of the 1,200 companies declared to be soy sauce manufacturers, only about 100 carry out the entire manufacturing process, and only 20 to 30 of them make good soy sauce.

It’s not common to talk about vintage in terms of soy sauce. Cellars materials, living bacteria in the cellars, master craftsmen know-how, water and salt used quality make them or not grands crus.


The health benefits of soy sauce according to the Japanese:

  • Promotes good digestion.
  • Its consumption may help the gastric system to better process food.
  • Soy sauce may reduce allergic reactions, including inflammation and anaphylactic shock.
  • Rich in antioxidants. ...
  • Reduced overall sodium intake.
  • Soy sauce tends to be used in small amounts. As such, it is unlikely to have many health benefits. Soybeans contain isoflavones, compounds that are said to have benefits such as reducing menopausal symptoms and improving cholesterol.
  • Fermentation of soybeans to make soy sauce creates unique carbohydrates, called oligosaccharides, which are probiotics that feed friendly bacteria in the gut. Soy sauce is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect blood vessels and lower cholesterol.
  • Soy sauce is healthier than salt: it contains almost six times less sodium per 100 g than salt and is made up of many other nutrients.


How is soy sauce made?

The different houses present in the prefectures of Japan, all have their secrets of manufacture. They share these secrets within the family from generation to generation to perpetuate the traditions. Each house has its own way of making high-quality soy sauces, and it is sometimes difficult or impossible to know all the subtleties.

However, Kamebishi-Ya opened the doors of their know-how to us:

  • The wheat is roasted in a wood-fired oven, the roasted wheat is poured over steamed soybeans and the leaven is added to make kôji. This is then poured onto rice straw mats. This process is called mushiro-kôji.
  • The spreading on the mats must be done quickly so that the soybeans and the wheat grains do not separate. The mixture must be protected from the cold so that the leaven can continue its growth.
  • The leavening produces heat as soon as it starts and must be combined with an adequate ventilation system.
  • The making of mushiro-kôji continues for 3 days and 3 nights without interruption.
  • When the kôji are firm enough, they are removed from the mats and broken to air them. This operation allows the growth of the soybean filaments.
  • Once aerated, they are again placed and spread on the mushiro mats.
  • On the fourth day, the kôji changes color and releases all its aromas. Saltwater and the mixture called moromi are then added. The whole is placed in large cedar barrels.
  • These vats are sheltered from the light and contain 230 micro-organisms.
  • The moromi is matured for at least 2 summers. Once matured, it is placed in linen cloths and mechanically pressed, bottled, and pasteurized at low temperatures.

Discover in picture the secrets of soy sauce making by Kamebishi-Ya, the cradle of soy sauce (in French).


Japanese soy sauce manufacturers and their products, the most beautiful soy sauce brands.

Fueki Shoyu in Saitama has been making soy sauce since 1789. The raw materials are simple: soybeans, wheat, salt, and spring water. This house offers two sauces:


Horikawaya Nomura in Wakayama is described as the oldest shoyu soy sauce factory in Horikawaya Prefecture, the birthplace of soy sauce. This company offers two sauces:


Kajita Shoten in Ehime, a specialist in making soy sauce in Nakamura. Since 2002, the Kajita family has been selecting the best ingredients to make its soy sauces. The company offers five sauces:


Kamebishi-Ya, in Kagawa, is the only company in the world that still uses the traditional method of making "mushiro kôji" and continues to pass on its secrets orally from generation to generation. This company offers various exceptional soy sauces:


Is soy sauce good for your health?

Soy sauce has many benefits, find out the benefits regularly attributed, in Japan, to soy sauce for health.

What is in soy sauce?

The raw materials needed to make soy sauce depend on the type of soy sauce, but are quite simple: soybeans, wheat, salt, and spring water.

What is the difference between Tamari and shoyu?

Tamari soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans while shoyu soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans and wheat.

What does soy sauce taste like?

Soy sauce is salty or sweet with a pronounced flavor, its notes are malty, tannic, and sometimes woody depending on the roasting method and its fermentation time.

Why is soy sauce black?

The fermentation of the moromi (must) causes the progressive change of color until it becomes black.

Does soy sauce contain gluten?

Soy sauce contains gluten from the cereals it is made of.

Where does sweetened soy sauce come from?

Sweetened soy sauce is not a traditional product in Japan.

It was developed at the request of a multitude of Japanese and Asian restaurants around the world and is a resounding success in Europe.

Sweet soy sauce, which is thicker and traditionally used to coat kebabs and grilled meats, was the basis for the creation of this sweet soy sauce.

You can use it as well to taste your sushi, rice, fried fish, grilled meats, chicken skewers, duck breast, scallops, and fried foie gras.

What is clear soy sauce?

Clear soy sauce or white soy sauce is a more liquid soy sauce than dark soy sauce. Its wheat-rich composition gives it a golden color.

Its use in seasoning does not alter the color of food. In Japan, this sauce - relatively salty - is famous for its seasonal coloring.

Clear soy sauce may darken after opening the bottle due to natural oxidation, but this does not alter its flavor.

Where to find clear soy sauce?

In your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri, online, and in your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri Paris you will find tasty clear soy sauces or white soy sauces

What is the best brand of soy sauce?

In your Japanese grocery store Nishikidôri you will find different brands of soy sauce, whether it is white or black you will find your happiness, let yourself be tempted.

How to use soy sauce?

In cooking, soy sauce can be used to season sushi and sashimi, salads, raw or steamed fish, vegetables, woks... It also brings a lot of flavors and power to a vinaigrette or in marinade associated with mirin to coat your yakitoris.