Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Shoyu products

The key brands in the industry

eShoyuf the ubiquitous Japanese ingredient, has made its way into many homes and is used all around the world. It is seen by many as the most well known japanese food ingredient and easiest to use. It may be that you have some in your home right now or that youfve been interested in trying it for some time. Regardless of which type you are, you may be interested to learn more about the different brands of shoyu as well as the various types of shoyu. As you will know from many of your favourite foods, one brand can differ greatly to another, itfs quite common to see variations on overall taste, levels of healthiness, size, various aspects of quality, availability and many, many more factors. So today, letfs have a look at the products you're likely to find in your local supermarket, what they are and learn a little bit about the key brands to help you choose the right soy sauce bottle and brand for your personal needs.


The first is the eKikkomanf brand. I believe that there are only a few people that wouldnft know this brand. Kikkoman is like another name for eShoyuf. This Shoyu is rich and sharp, and it has a very strong colour, taste and scent. This richness is a characteristics of the Kikkoman brand, and it has become a very versatile seasoning for cooking strong flavoured fish or meat. This is a brand you must try at least once if you were to try Shoyu. Have a taste of the traditional flavour that has been passed down since the company was established in 1917.


The next brand is eYamasaf. You often come across this brand in supermarkets also. Many are probably sold in supermarkets because this brand tends to be slightly cheaper compared to Kikkoman. Although Yamasa was established as a commercial business in 1928, it was originally founded in 1645. This historically traditional brand received a title as the best soy sauce by the shogunate during the Edo era. Like Kikkoman, Yamasa is also eKoi kuchif, and the company is located in the same area as Kikkoman.


The last brand to introduce is eHigashimaruf. This is a famous brand for making eUsu kuchif Shoyu (light flavour soy sauce). It is located in the Kansai area, and the company is also famous for udon noodle soups. The company started in 1942, it is said that their usu-kuchi shoyu is the best in Japan. Usu kuchi flavour is a distinct characteristic of Kansai. All of the cooking in Kansai that uses soy sauce as a base is light, and udon, stews, and food cooked in hot pots are cooked using a combination of Usu kuchi Shoyu and Japanese broth. Therefore, the colour of the Kansai foods tend to be lighter than the food from Kanto, and the flavouring seems have a stronger taste of the broth rather than the soy sauce. This is a matter of personal taste of course, but itfs fair to say that people who prefer a lighter flavour always choose to buy the Higashimaru brand.


You will find that all the Shoyu brands found in stores have eHonjouzou (authentically brewed)f written on the labels, this means that the Shoyu is for eDomesticf use. Apart from eHonjouzouf, there are other mixed brewing methods which are used to make Shoyu for more commercial purposes, but because it is for commercial use, you would not find it in regular shops. It is better enotf to purchase this type of Shoyu if you ever come across it. eHonjouzouf basically means that it has been ematured for a long period of timef. Ones that are for commercial use are often made in a short period of time by adding some amino acid solution and not matured.

What to choose

In total, there are five different types of Shoyu that you can chose from and use, each type has a different characteristic and usage regardless of brand. Here is a breakdown of each type and its key characteristics.


The first is Koi kuchi Shoyu. This is the most typical type of eShoyuf. It makes up about 80 percent of the production of Shoyu. The raw materials are soybeans, 50% wheat, and salt.
This type of Shoyu tastes great as a dipping sauce, flavouring sauce, sauce to make stew with, and as a sauce to blend with other sauces.


The next is Usu kuchi Shoyu. It is produced nationwide in Japan. It makes up about 15 percent of the Shoyu production. The raw materials used are the same as eKoi kuchi Shoyuf but it is a lighter and slightly sweeter product. This is a Shoyu that is indispensable in Kansai cuisine and is often used to enhance the natural flavours of vegetables and white flesh fish.


Another type is Tamari Shoyu. It makes up about 1.8 percent of the Shoyu production. The raw materials used are mainly soybeans, and a very small amount of wheat is added. The colour is thick; it has a rich and strong flavour. It is used in foods such as tsukudani (food boiled down in the strong flavour of soy sauce) and rice crackers. It is also often used as a dipping sauce for sashimi (raw fish fillets), etc.


Sai Shikomi Shoyu is another Shoyu that makes up about 0.7 percent of the Shoyu production. The raw materials used are the same as those to make eKoi kuchi Shoyuf. Instead of salt water, raw soy sauce which has not been heated is used to make this type of Shoyu. Sai Shikomi Shoyu has a stronger scent than Tamari Shoyu. The colour and the flavour are thick and rich, and it is also called eKanro Shoyuf (sweet soy sauce). It is used to make Kanro-ni (dishes boiled in sweet syrup) and as a dipping sauce for sashimi and sushi.


Lastly, Shiro Shoyu is a transparent and amber-coloured shoyu(the colour of this Shoyu is even lighter than that of the eUsu kuchi Shoyuf). It makes up approximately 0.6 percent of the Shoyu production. The raw materials used are mainly wheat and a small amount of soy beans. it is known as a plain tasting shoyu with a pronounced aroma with a high sugar content. It is used to make soups, noodle soups and hot pot dishes and is perfect for enhancing the flavour of vegetables and white fish.


So there we have it, all you need to do now is try these products and brands out to see which ones are right for you. Enjoy.