Do You Know the Different Kinds of Soy Sauce?

How well do you know your soy sauce?

IMAGE Miguel Nacianceno

It’s easy to take soy sauce for granted, but there’s more to the Asian-cooking staple than meets the eye. Here’s a list of the most common varieties in the market.


Chinese soy sauces differ from Japanese ones in that they are made primarily of soybeans. Light Chinese soy sauce is the lighter and thinner variety. It’s sometimes referred to as pure-bean, thin, or fresh soy sauce. Mostly used to season dishes, it’s what you should reach for when a recipe calls for Chinese soy sauce.


Dark Chinese soy sauce is darker in color but lighter in flavor. It’s fermented for a longer period of time, with sugar and molasses added to give it a sweet-salty profile. Aside from flavoring dishes, it’s also used to give them color, usually being added during the last stages of cooking.


Japanese soy sauce lists wheat, alongside soybeans, as its primary ingredient. The all-purpose Japanese soy sauce that’s usually sold in supermarkets is largely considered to be dark Japanese soy sauce. Deep in color but light in taste, it can be used in marinades, and for basting and dipping.


Reduced-sodium soy sauce has 40 percent of its salt content removed after aging and brewing. It can be used for cooking and dipping.


Indonesian soy sauce or kecap manis has a sweet flavor profile, thanks to the addition of palm sugar, and is thick and molasses-like in consistency. It’s widely used in Indonesian cuisine and is a popular marinade for satays and grilled meats.


This story originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Yummy magazine.
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.


More from
Like mixing soy sauce and wasabi!

More from
These give your dishes Asian flavors!

Comments. Join the discussion below!

Ex-OFW Now Makes Millions of Pesos by Reinventing the Simple Leche Flan

Princess San Diego developed as many as eight flavors of the popular Filipino dessert.

6 Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes You Can Make For As Low as P32 Per Serving!

Chicken thighs are the tastiest, juciest part that you can eat all week long.

WATCH: We Have a Really Easy Tiramisu Recipe

Get to enjoy this classy dessert we made easier to make with affordable, accessible ingredient substitutes!

My Lola's Cure to Homesickness: Making Hot Pandesal in Cold Canada

For this lola, her family, and many other homesick immigrants like her, pandesal is the taste of home.
Load More