Soy Sauce

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

soy sauce the universal condiment of China and Japan, is also widely used throughout SE Asia. It is the main condiment in Indonesia, where soya beans are grown extensively. In Vietnam and the Philippines it competes with the fish sauces of the region, which it resembles in composition. The ingredients are normally soya beans, wheat, and salt.

Soy sauce is used in the Orient as freely as salt is in the West, and indeed often instead of salt, as it has a salty taste. This is but one element in its flavour, which is difficult to describe since it interacts with the flavours of the various foods to which it is applied. It can be described as having a sharp, tangy, almost meaty quality (see umami).