Soy sauce (soya sauce) is a dark brown liquid derived primarily from fermented soybeans (soya beans). Soy sauce is common in the cuisines of Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and there are many varieties.
Soy sauce is shelf-stable because it contains added salt, alcohol, or sodium benzoate. Since alcohol quickly boils off when stir-frying (a typical use of soy sauce), an alcohol-based soy sauce is preferable when using copious amounts.
While all soy sauces consist largely of fermented soy, distinct varieties exist that impact the flavor of a dish. Some common varieties are described below.
- Chinese brewed soy sauce: Brewed soy sauce made primarily from soybeans with some other grains.
- Chinese dark soy sauce: A dark and thick variety of soy sauce often used to add color during cooking.
- Kecap manis: A sweetened Indonesian soy sauce
- Koikuchi shoyu: This is considered the standard Japanese soy sauce. Its production uses a significant amount of wheat, which gives it a slightly sweeter taste than Chinese soy sauces.
- Tamari shoyu: A thicker Japanese soy sauce usually made without wheat.