Soy sauce is one of the most iconic condiments you’ll find on the table any time you sit down to an Asian-style meal. But how much do you know about it? The sauce is so versatile you can pour it over rice, or use it with any other meat or fish you can think of cooking. Even eggs and vegetables can be jazzed up with copious amounts of sauce poured on top. Read on to learn more about soy sauce.
In China, the word most often associated with soy sauce is jiangyou. Generally speaking, it’s not always easy to directly translate English into any dialect of Chinese and then back again. But what jiangyou literally means is “liquid drawn from the jiang.” Another term that is rather more obscure, but describes the same thing, is dou-yu, “liquid drawn from soybeans.” The Japanese name is a cognate (it sounds similar): shoyu. Surprisingly, it is the Japanese version of the word that led to its English rendering as soy.
Where Did It Come From?
Although soy sauce is an integral part of many East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, it originally hails from China. If you were wondering where soybeans were first cultivated, and guessed China, then you would be correct. Soybeans were first farmed in China somewhere around the 11th century BCE.
Back in the Day
Let’s travel back in time to the 11th century BCE, when jiang was first used. After all, it enhanced the flavor of many different preserved foods. Salt was also commonly used, and the mixture of these substances created an early form of the sauce we know and love today.
What are some fun facts that you may not have known about this wonderful sauce?
- It is the most popular soy-based foodstuff found anywhere in the western world.
- Instead of using salt, some people even prefer to use this sauce instead.
- You can also use it to marinate your favorite meat dish before you start cooking.
- Did you know it can be mixed with ice cream?
- Even though it’s often left out, you should put it away in the refrigerator when you don’t need to use it.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Opened since 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.