Soy Sauce and Sushi, this is just one of those food pairings made in heaven. As you are probably aware, it takes a great deal of time and effort to make a delicious roll of sushi. The masterful taste is a product of great care and precision to the culinary art. That said, its potential is unleashed when you find the right kind of soy sauce to pair it with.
It should go without saying that not all soy sauces are made alike. Similar to tasting wine, you need to find the soy sauce that is specifically designed to unlock your palate and complement the natural flavors of the sushi.
So what is the best soy sauce for sushi? The best soy sauce for sushi is Shoyu, which is a type of fermented soy sauce that contains water, salt, soybeans, and wheat. This is the traditional soy sauce in Japan and plays an essential role in sushi.
We reviewed and ranked 5 of the best soy sauce for sushi in the market today. We also provided readers an overview of soy sauce so you can better understand what to look for.
Sushi Soy Sauce Overview
An indispensable and versatile part of Japanese cuisine, soy sauce helps transform and elevate dishes. For instance, it can help transform overpowering tastes into smooth flavors.
With the right kind of soy sauce, you can even get rid of any strong and unappetizing odors.
We shall be focusing on a specific variant of soy sauce called shoyu. It plays an important role in the way the Japanese appreciate the culinary arts and is widely used for a wide array of dishes including sushi.
Shoyu contains four main ingredients: water, salt, soybeans, and wheat. They are then introduced to kojikin, which is a fermenting agent.
Take note that sushi rolls already have well-defined and naturally distinctive flavors. As a general rule, you would want to use a soy sauce that helps complement those flavors instead of overwhelming them.
Be sure to remember this as we take a closer look at the different sushi soy sauce products out there.
The Best Soy Sauce for Sushi
Presented here is the ranking of the 5 best soy sauce for sushi in the market today. We found each entry in this list to be incredibly delectable as they work to enhance your sushi-eating experience.
We also did our best to make the list as diverse and inclusive as possible – mixing in some artisanal stuff with some of the high-quality commercial brands. That said, be sure to give them a look.
|Kishibori Shoyu (Pure Artisan Soy Sauce)
|Fermented in aged cider barrels
|Whiskey Barrel Aged Shoyu Soy Sauce
|Fermented in Japanese whisky barrels
|Black Garlic Shoyu Soy Sauce
|A blend of shoyu soy sauce and black garlic
|Yamaroku Shoyu Pure Artisan Soy Sauce
|Aged in century-old Kioke barrels
|Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce
1. Kishibori Shoyu (Pure Artisan Soy Sauce)
Categorized as an artisanal soy sauce, Kishibori Shoyu follows in the footsteps of a proud and storied tradition of making high-quality products in the heart of Japan.
Upon putting it on some sushi, there should be no doubt why we chose this as our favorite.
In terms of taste, the first thing that you will notice is how this shoyu strikes you with its rich flavor profile. The depth of flavors that you get with each bite is simply phenomenal.
In addition to this, the sauce also has the right levels of umami. It is far from overpowering. Rather, it gives off an incredibly distinct and undeniably perfect flavor that any serious sushi lover will surely appreciate.
It breathes new life to the natural flavors of the fish and brings it to another level.
It is worth stating here that a lot of its success comes from the manufacturing process. It is obvious that its manufacturer takes its craft seriously. You can taste the high-quality ingredients inside the Kishibori Shoyu.
Undoubtedly, the slow fermentation process also does wonders to bring those qualities out.
The shoyu is reportedly fermented in century-old cider barrels for at least a whole year. This would certainly explain the exceptional flavors.
Similar to aging wine, storing soy sauce in an aged barrel helps create the large volumes of complex organic acids and slowly cultivates a sharp but subtle flavor profile for the soy sauce.
2. Whiskey Barrel Aged Shoyu Soy Sauce
Coming in at a close second, the Haku Mizunara Whisky Barrel Aged Shoyu is another soy sauce that is simply perfect for sushi.
Another artisanal soy sauce, it boasts of a delicious and well-balanced flavor that can only be characterized as a truly sublime experience.
We immediately took note of how subtle and mellow this sauce is compared to the salty and straightforward flavor palates of other sauces.
There was also a bit of sweetness that we didn’t expect but undoubtedly enjoyed. Of course, this bold decision may be a double-edged sword as some sushi fans might not appreciate it as much as we did. Regardless, calling the sauce less than exceptional would be a lie that we can’t abide by.
Interestingly, this soy sauce is also slowly fermented through the use of specialized barrels.
This time, its manufacturers made use of Japanese Whisky Barrels that are constructed from a specific type of Japanese oak called Mizunara hardwood. This would explain all the complex flavors that you get with this sauce.
3. Black Garlic Shoyu Soy Sauce
The third entry is something of a trend-breaker on our list. Albeit artisanal, it represents some of the newer trends that are currently in flux in Japan’s culinary scene.
This sauce, while far from being traditional, makes for a perfect dipping sauce and sushi partner if you are willing to try something new.
If its name doesn’t serve as the perfect giveaway, this soy sauce blends the properties of shoyu and black garlic into one sauce.
We loved the final result as it perfectly showcases how these two ingredients were able to play off another’s flavor profiles without eclipsing the distinct elements that define them. That is by no means an easy task to pull off.
In the end, you have a complex sauce filled with earthy aromas with hints of the different spices. Don’t be confused though, you can still taste the things that define shoyu.
You can tell that it still seeks to honor the long tradition that came before it. However, the stark and crucial difference is that this sauce is now looking at the potentials of culinary experimentation.
In our opinion, they did their job well enough. You know that you are dipping your sushi in shoyu, after all. However, now you can also taste subtle earthy undertones of garlic, fig, molasses, and raisin, to name a few.
4. Yamaroku Shoyu Pure Artisan Soy Sauce
The fourth entry on our list is the Tsurubishio from Yamaroku. Upon first tasting it, we fell in love with the Tsurubishio’s rich and mellow flavor.
The sauce’s subtle flavor profile makes it perfect for pairing with a wide array of dishes like sushi and sashimi. Instead of drowning out the flavor, it helps the dish stand on its own.
A lot of care when into the manufacturing of this sauce as its ingredients were brewed and aged in century-old Kioke wooden barrels for a period of four years.
It is worth noting that this method is a dying art in Japan as less than 1% of all soy sauces are made in this way. As culinary sentimentalists, we can’t help but be impressed.
We highly recommend that you give this sauce a try.
5. Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce
For our last entry, we will be shifting away from the artisanal sauces and into commercial territory. However, this does not mean that we are sacrificing taste and quality in doing so.
Like with the rest of our picks, we made sure to choose only the best sauces for sushi. The Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce certainly fits that description.
By now, you are probably aware of Kikkoman as a brand. After all, it is one of the biggest soy sauce brands in the market today. Looking at its Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce, it is made clear how they got to the position they are in.
Their latest sauce is a twist on their classic soy sauce formula. Despite being brewed in the same way, it sports a lighter and subtler taste that true sushi lovers will surely appreciate.
In Conclusion: Choose A Soy Sauce That Works For You
These are just a few of the sushi soy sauces we loved. As you have probably noticed, we gave special attention to the individual flavor profiles of the sauces and what they can bring to the table.
This way, you can better understand what to look for in a sushi soy sauce. So, be sure to give them a try when you get the chance.