Best Soy Sauce For Chinese Cooking

The best Soy Sauce for Chinese cooking depends on what type of cooking you’re doing. Cantonese cuisine calls for a lighter sauce, which is often made from a darker soy sauce that is thicker and has darker colors. A more lightweight soy paste is used for stir-frying dishes and light meals. A lighter soy paste is used for stir-frying dishes and light meals. Those accustomed to using creamy soy sauce for dipping or light meals should opt for touch.


Chinese soy sauce is available in two forms. The dark variety is milder, while the light version is used in South China. In addition to the creamy soy sauce, you can also find touches on soy sauce. This type of soy is made with a small amount of wheat and has a rich, salty flavor. It is used in both light and deep dishes. For Cantonese cooking, Haitian soy sauce is the best choice.

Soy Sauce Nutrition Fact

soy sauce

What Exactly Is Soy Sauce?

Even Western cooks are familiar with soy sauce these days. It is special in our list of 10 Essential Chinese Pantry Ingredients because it is vital for Chinese and Asian cuisine.

However, some of our recipes specify “light soy sauce,” while others specify “soy sauce” alone, and still, others select “dark soy sauce.”

Soy sauce (jiàng yóu) is a Chinese liquid condiment and flavoring made from fermented soybeans, grains (typically wheat, which is why most soy sauce is not gluten-free), and mold cultures/yeast.

What Does It Mean To Use “Light Soy Sauce”?

We always refer to Chinese light soy sauce (sheng chu) when we say “soy sauce,” “normal soy sauce,” or “light soy sauce” in Chinese recipes. ((In a later section of this essay, we’ll discuss the differences between Chinese and Japanese soy sauce.)

In a later section of this essay, we’ll discuss the differences between Chinese and Japanese soy sauce.) It’s thinner and lighter in color than the familiar (Japanese) Kikkoman you’ve probably seen on sushi restaurant tables and takeaway menus. The term “light” distinguishes light soy from dark Chinese soy, which is darker, thicker, and slightly sweeter (see the photo below, where dark is on the left, and light is on the right).

On our blog, “Light Soy Sauce” does not mean “low sodium,” which can be confusing because several manufacturers, such as Kikkoman and La Choy, have previously used the words “light” or “lite” to describe their low sodium products. Some bottles have “light” on them, whereas others do not. Some bottles have “light” on them, whereas others do not.

Kilman Soy Sauce, Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce, Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce, Haitian Superior Light Soy Sauce, and Wan Ja Shan Soy Sauce are some examples of Chinese light soy sauce products on the market. See the bottles for these various brands in the photo below. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s a Chinese brand of naturally brewed soy and doesn’t state “dark” on the label, it’s light soy!

5 Best Soy Sauce For Chinese Cooking:

1. Kikkoman Soy Sauce

This soy sauce is made in the United States, and we think it’s one of the best because of its versatility. According to a traditional recipe, it’s a kosher soy sauce produced from soybeans, water, and salt. It’s versatile enough to be utilized in both Asian and Western meals. Marinades, basting, stir-frying, and dipping are terrific uses for this versatile ingredient.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce


2. Kishibori Shoyu Imported Soy Sauce

The best part about this sauce is that it is entirely free of additives and preservatives. Soybeans, wheat, and sundried sea salt are the only ingredients. Isn’t that fascinating? And there’s more: the ingredients are fermented in aged cider barrels for a year. While this sauce can be cooked, we think it tastes best when eaten raw.



3. Best of Thailand Lite Soy Sauce

This MSG-free soy sauce has a reduced salt content and is kosher and vegan-approved. Marinades fish and meats beautifully.

Squeeze bottles come in sets of two (soy sauce in squeeze bottles oxides in a long time and keeps its flavor robust ). Tastes salty. For Asian cuisines, the flavor is said to be diminished, yet it works well in western cuisine.



4. Kimlan Soy Sauce

The flavor of this sauce is well-balanced and neutral. It’s neither too sweet nor salty to make a stir-fry taste strange. It’s manufactured naturally from soybeans and wheat and takes about a year to ferment. It can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Kimlan Black Bottle with Yellow



5. Yamaroku Kiku Bisiho Soy Sauce

This sauce is complex, flavorful, and mild at the same time. It doesn’t dominate foods and is reasonably priced. It doesn’t dominate foods and is reasonably priced. It’s one of the best-bottled soy sauces, and it’s no surprise given that it’s been matured for four years in 100-year-old barrels.

Yamaroku Shoyu Pure


How Does Soy Sauce Get Used?

In Asia, soy sauce is arguably the most significant condiment. It serves as both a spice and a color enhancer, deepening the color of meals to a rich amber hue. Stir-fries, sauces, soups, braises, fillings, noodle meals, dumplings, and more will all benefit from it.

Different varieties are used for other purposes (for more detail, click the links for each type of soy sauce above). However, when cooking a dish from a specific Asian cooking tradition (say, Chinese), always use the correct types of soy sauce––in this case, Chinese light and dark soy sauce., Chinese Pantry Ingredients
We’re not trying to sound snobbish, but using Japanese soy in a Chinese dish versus Chinese soy in a Japanese dish will result in distinct flavors!

Kikkoman is a friendly brand, and we’ll use it while making Japanese cuisine or eating sushi, but we’ll only use it for Chinese cooking on rare occasions (if at all). However, if you like the flavor of one sort or brand over another, go ahead and use whatever you want. That’s the pleasure of cooking at home: you’re in charge!

How To Buy And Store Soy Sauce?

Sauces aren’t all made equal. There are organically brewed/fermented ones, which you should seek, and chemically brewed/fermented ones, which you should avoid. Look for fewer ingredients, soybeans in the ingredients list, and the word “brewed” on the container on the ingredients label.

This ingredient is best acquired at a Chinese or Asian grocery store, but you can get it online if you don’t have one nearby. Pearl River Bridge is our favorite brand (and they didn’t pay us to say that! ), but you can buy whatever brand you choose. It should be kept in a superb, dry, dark location, such as your pantry or cupboard. There’s no need to keep it in the fridge.

Soy Sauce Substitutions

It’s challenging to find a substitute for soy sauce because it’s used in many cuisines. Gluten-free soy sauces and gluten-free tamari are very easy to come by these days if you have a gluten allergy.

However, coconut and aminos can be used instead if you are allergic to soy. We haven’t tried cooking with coconut aminos, but we’ve heard that this salty-sweet sauce is a beautiful soy-free option.


Low-sodium soy sauce works best for Chinese cuisine. It is the most prevalent variety in North China and the darkest in South China. In both locations, soy sauce is used in various ways, with the light and dark types being the most popular.

In terms of ingredients, the two varieties are comparable. This particular brand contains less wheat than the light version. Soybeans are traditionally used to make Chinese soy sauce, and in North China, soy sauce is known as Jiang you, which means “sauce oil.”

There are eight different regional cuisines in China, and they use soy differently. For example, in Cantonese cooking, the Chinese use light soy sauce and dark soy for other dishes, but the light one is used in most of them. The two types of soy sauce are mainly similar.