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Soy sauce = Kikkoman. Well, not exactly.

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Kikkoman soy sauce Japan's biggest soy sauce brand Marukin Yamasa Kayanoya Shoda by kurumicooks delicious easy to eat healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking for your kitchen

You'd be forgiven here in the UK for thinking that there's only one brand of Japanese soy sauce and that it's name is Kikkoman. It's true that the Kikkoman brand and its iconic hourglass shaped table bottle finds its way into most homes and restaurants in Japan. Kikkoman counts as one of the 4 big soy sauce makers in Kapan. that list also includes Yamato, Marukin and Yamasa that produce nearly 50% of Japanese soy sauce. But there is much more to soy sauce than Kikkoman (and these days, a lot more to Kikkoman than soy sauce). at the other end of the scale, There are an estimated 1500 small soy sauce makers in Japan, most of whom produce very small quantities for local consumption. I use Kikkoman soy sauce for much of my everyday cooking but whenever i am back in Japan, I like to buy soy sauce from smaller

Kayanoya twice brewed soy sauce with added mirin by kurumicooks delicious easy to make healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking for your home

producers because there is a wide regional variation in the flavour of locally made products. So, on a recent trip, I went to the Kayanoya store in Ginza, Tokyo. Kayanoya is better known for its dashi stocks but they also produce a range of interesting soy sauces, so i thought i would try these out. i bought two bottles. one is a twice brewed soy sauce with added mirin for a sweeter flavour. The other bottle (in the picture on the right) is a naturally brewed soy sauce using "maru-daizu" or whole soy beans. A lot of soy sauce (including Kikkoman's product above) use what are called "de-natured" or "de-greased" soya beans, which means they have been subject to treatments which, among other things, allow a much quicker fermentation to produce soy sauce. (In fairness, Kikkoman also sell a "maru-daizu" soy sauce in their product range). Kayanoya brew their soy sauce in Fukuoka prefecture on the island of Kyushu. I tried them out against some Kikkoman sauce with some sashimi and sushi. There was quite a difference in taste between the three soy sauces - the Kikkoman soy sauce was by far the saltiest of the three. The naturally brewed "maru-daizu" soy sauce was much lighter in colour and had an almost floral taste. The twice brewed soy sauce was also less salty and had an extra sweetness from the mirin. I found that the naturally brewed soy sauce with its light flavour, was a perfect partner for sashimi - it complemented the flavours of the raw fish while the Kikkoman soy sauce tended to overpower it. On the other hand, this lighter flavour tended to be a little lost with sushi - here the twice brewed soy sauce lent the sushi an almost fruity taste - quite different from the dominant saltiness of the Kikkoman product. Don't get me wrong - Kikkoman soy sauce is a great product and a good all purpose soy sauce (that's what it says on the label after all) - but you might like to try other options when you can find them. Unfortunately, choice is a little thin on the ground in the UK but if you're ever in Japan or you know anyone going there/living there, ask them to bring back something different for you - hopefully, you'll discover a new world of subtle soy flavours!

Happy cooking. Kurumi XXXX.

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