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How to choose your soy sauce?

Among the countless condiments around the world, there is one ingredient that has become a staple in cuisine the world over: soy sauce.

Originating in Asia, this brownish sauce derived from the fermentation of soy and wheat beans is much more than a simple seasoning - it's a cornerstone of Asian and Japanese gastronomy! If you're a fan of Japanese cuisine, you're probably wondering about soy sauce! How do you choose it? How to use it? Follow our guide to find out.

Sauce Soja iRASSHAi

What is soy sauce?

Soy sauce, also known as shôyushôyu(しょゆ) in Japan, is a staple of the Japanese cupboard. It's made from soybeans, wheat, water and salt, and is used every day to season dishes.

The traditional method involves mixing soybeans and wheat, to which yeast or ferment is added. This mixture ferments until an amber-colored liquid is obtained, varying in intensity from brown to reddish.

Initially adopted in East Asian kitchens, soy sauce's popularity has spread worldwide, becoming an essential element in many cuisines across the globe. Low in fat and salty, it enhances the taste of any dish. Once opened, it can be stored for months in a cool place.

The different types of soy sauce

  • Dark soy sauce Dark soy sauce: fluid, with salty and umami flavors, it's ideal for cooking. Its dark color is due to a longer fermentation time, which also gives it more flavor.
  • Light soy sauce (light): fluid and low in salt, it has a milder taste and is ideal for dipping ingredients.
  • Sweet soy sauce : This popular French variety doesn't exist in Japan! That's right! It's only used for export, to satisfy Western tastes. Sweet sauce is thicker and darker, and contains added sugar. It is often served in popular restaurants as an accompaniment to sushi, in response to demand from French restaurateurs. In France today, it sells as well as its salted version. In Japan, however, there is a soy sauce similar to sweet soy sauce: mitarashi dango sauce, made from soy sauce, mirin and sugar. It is only used for dango.

How to choose your soy sauce?

Your choice of soy sauce will depend on how you want to use it and your personal taste. However, there are a few points to bear in mind when choosing a quality soy sauce:


Depending on the country of origin, sauces can have different characteristics.

In Japansoy sauce is called shôyu. It is the most widely used and exported. The dark soy sauce is the most commonIt is slightly sweet and is used in most dishes. The light soy sauce is saltier and thinner than dark soy sauce.
There are also more original soy sauces, flavored with yuzu, sake, ginger... !

In ChinaChinese soy sauce is called jiàng yóu (酱油). It contains less wheat than Japanese soy sauce. Soy sauces are generally categorized as "dark" or "light". The Chinese use light soy sauce most often. light soy sauce to season dishes. The dark soy sauce is thicker and a little sweeter than light soy sauce. Both sauces can be mixed in the same recipe.

In Korea, soy sauce soy sauce is called ganjang (간장). There are two different types:
The most common is dark soy sauce used in sauces and meat marinades. Lood soy sauce called guk-gangjang 국간장, made with less wheat, comes from the manufacture of doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste), and is used to season vegetable soups or banchan (small side dishes). This sauce is lighter in color and saltier.

In Thailandsoy sauce is called sii-íu (ซอสถั่วเหลือง). A distinction is made between white and black soy sauce. The white sauce is the most commonly used. It can also be called "light", and can be recognized by its white cap. The black sauce is much less salty than whiteIt is used in cooking to add color to dishes.


Choose natural ingredients, with no additives or flavor enhancers, for the best-quality soy sauce! The level of salt or protein is also indicated on the label and can be a decisive factor. Protein content is a guarantee of quality.


The more it is fermented, the more pronounced the taste. High-quality soy sauces are often fermented for a longer period, which intensifies their flavor. Fermentation times are usually indicated on the packaging. Natural (non-industrialized) fermentation is also preferable: low-end soy sauces are not produced by fermentation but by a chemical hydrolysis process that takes only two or three days, but results in a sauce with much less flavor. If it doesn't say "natural fermentation" on the bottle, it's probably a chemically-produced soy sauce.

Salt content

Japanese sauces tend to be much less salty than Chinese ones. As a general rule, dark soy sauce will be saltier. However, you can also find low-salt soy sauces on the market.


Salty, lightly salted, lightly sweetened, thin, thick or flavored, soy sauce never ceases to surprise! There's a wide variety of soy sauces to suit every taste!

How to use soy sauce

The darker, thicker variety is preferred for cooking, while the lighter, more fluid and saltier soy sauce is often chosen for dipping.

In Japan, soy sauce is never added to rice! Even when eating sushi. The Japanese turn the sushi over so that only the piece of fish comes into contact with the sauce, never the rice. Soy sauce is also perfect for stir-frying vegetables, flavoring noodle dishes or dressing salads with sesame oil.

What can I replace soy sauce with?

Tamari (or gluten-free soy sauce): tamari is normally made without wheat, making it suitable for people with gluten intolerance. It has a stronger taste and darker color than conventional soy sauce.

Sauce soja forte sans gluten - 200ml

Tsuyu sauce: mainly composed of soy sauce, mirin, dried bonito and kombu seaweed. Tsuyu sauce is very versatile, most often used as an accompaniment to soba and udon noodle dishes, but can also be diluted with a little water for tempura dipping.

Sauce Tsuyu pour nouilles - 100ml

Ponzu sauce: similar to tsuyu sauce. It is generally made with soy sauce, lemon or citrus juice (such as yuzu), rice vinegar and dried bonito. Some types of ponzu may also contain mirin and seaweed. Its fresh, tangy taste makes it a delicious complement to many Japanese dishes.


The health benefits of soy sauce

Soy sauce is often recommended as a healthy alternative to salt. It is a source of protein, iron, magnesium and vitamins. Fermentation of soy sauce produces antioxidants that can help protect cells against oxidative damage. It also contains essential amino acids that are important for good health. However, excessive consumption of soy sauce can increase sodium intake. As with any condiment, we recommend moderate use. Soy sauce contains soy and wheat. These ingredients represent an allergy risk for some people, and are not suitable for people with gluten intolerance. We advise you to check labels before use. Prefer high-quality, traditionally-made soy sauces, which may offer more benefits than cheaper versions that may contain undesirable additives.

There's a soy sauce for every taste! Discover iRASSHAi's recommended sauces:

Sauce Soja en Grains
The most originalThe most original Bean Sauce
The best price : Classic Soy Sauce
Sauce Soja Fumée
Our favorite: Smoked Soy Sauce
Ideal in salads : Yuzu Ponzu Sauce
Reduced Salt : Salt Reduced Soy Sauce

Some recipes using soy sauce :

- Sesame Fried Carrots

- Salmon Teriyaki

- Ginger pork

- Hijiki carrots, konnyaku and tofu

- Sunomono cucumber and seaweed

Carottes sautées au sésame Teriyaki de saumon Porc au gingembre Hijiki carottes, konnyaku et tofu Sunomono concombres et algues