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A Taste Test: A Comparison of the Most Popular Shoyu Sauce Varieties

shoyu sauce on a tablesource: thedailymeal.com

Enhancing the food’s taste and colour cannot be obtained without the use of sauces. And, a great example of such sauce that can enhance the taste of your favoured food and make it richer is soy sauce. But what exactly is soy sauce?

Well, this all-purpose seasoning sauce originates from China and is at least 2500 years old. It’s made from fermented soybeans and wheat which are mixed with the help of brine. Slowly but steadily, this sauce became popular in Asia and later in the rest of the world and nowadays, it’s one of the most commonly used sauces in the world. When tasting it, soy sauce is salty and is mainly used in marinades, for seasoning rice and in stir-fries.

What Is Shoyu Sauce?

shoyu sauce and japanese food next to it
source: shopify.com

Shoyu sauce also known as Japanese soy sauce is a bit different than the regular soy sauce. First of all, it’s sweeter and secondly, it has a more complex taste because of its longer fermentation complex. This makes Shoyu ideal for being used in dipping sauces, sushi and much more. 

This sauce is made by using equal amounts of soybeans and wheat which results in having sweeter taste. The traditional method of making the sauce involves fermenting wheat and soybeans for several months in large vats and then pressing the liquid out of them after which the liquid is aged for several more months. By doing this, the sauce will obtain the needed flavour and colour.

What Are the Different Types of Shoyu Sauce?

If you like to experiment and try new food and tastes, you should know that you can choose from a wide range of tasty Shoyu sauces. That’s because sauces coming from each part of Japan have their own characteristics and history of brewing, so knowing them better will help you make the right choice.


This is maybe one of the most commonly used types of Japanese sauces so far. It’s known as a general-purpose sauce that can find use in cooking and at the table thanks to its salty and deep umami–savoury flavour. This sauce is also known for its rounded sweetness, refreshing acidity and a bit of bitterness which is key for tying up everything together.


This light-coloured sauce comes from the Kansai region and it contains about 10% more salt than the previous type of sauce. This is essential for making the fermentation and maturation process more gradual. The colour and fragrance of these sauces are more subtle so that the ingredients’ original flavours can be felt better. The Usukuchi sauce is mainly used in dishes that should preserve the taste and colour of the ingredients, such as takiawase and sugar-boiled stews in which the ingredients should be cooked separately but served together.


Tamari is a sauce that comes from the Chubu region and is known for its thickness, unique fragrance and dense umami. It’s also known as sashimi tamari and it is mainly served with sushi and sashimi which is different from sushi. This sauce can also be used when grilling, and when heated, the sauce obtains a red tint. Aside from grilling, it can be also used in processing products like senbei rice crackers.


This sauce comes from Yanai city, in Yamaguchi prefecture. Compared to other soy sauces that are made by blending the Aspergillus oryzae, (also known as kōji mould) with brine for brewing, the production process of the Saishikomi includes a blending stage with other soy sauces. This is why the Saishikomi sauce is called refermented, and this also explains its denser colour, flavour and fragrance. This sauce is also known as sweet soy sauce and is mainly used at the table for flavouring different kinds of food.


The Shiro sauce is a light type of Japanese-style soy sauce, known for its pale amber colour. It comes from the Hekinan district of Aichi prefecture and it’s known for its bland flavour, strong sweetness and unique fragrances. It is mainly used in soups and chawanmushi egg custard, rice crackers, pickles, etc.

How to Store It?

soy sauce in a bottle
source: thethingswellmake.com

As you can see, the choice of these sauces is huge which means you can try and taste different ones. They are quite affordable and can certainly make a lot of difference in your cooking, making the dishes tastier and more flavoured.

To keep them in their perfect condition, you should store them in a dark place away from light and heat. Once you open the bottle, you should it in the fridge, especially if you don’t plan to use that often.

If stored properly, the sauces can last for a long time and maintain their quality. This makes them a great pantry staple to have on hand for all your cooking needs. Experiment with different types and brands to find your favourite and elevate your dishes to new levels of deliciousness.

By Jessie Sanner

Always weighing things, the life of a Libra isn’t easy and that’s something Jessie is well acquainted with as a Libra herself. The confusion with having to choose between things is what helps her write for the blog, in the hope of making it easier for readers who are indecisive themselves. Interested in contrasts, like period dramas and sci-fi, casual and classy outfits, fries and detox shakes, the life of this young lady is anything but boring. Or is it?