Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's happened: I am a shoyu whore

Today I committed adultery. All my adult life I was a Kikkoman man. Kikkoman is one of world's most popular and definitely best marketed brand of shoyu, the Japanese soya sauce. You will hardly ever see me declaring my allegiance to brands but in this case I am not ashamed. Kikkoman delivers a superbly manufactured condiment. Its shoyu can be compared to a wine, as it is brewed and contains 0.5% alcohol. You can smell an unmistakeable whiff of alcohol from a freshly opened bottle. (The first character in the Japanese word shoyu (醤) signifies that it is a kind of alcohol.)

But today I went astray. I saw a Yamasa brand shoyu in Wine and Rice Shop on Brewer Street at almost half the price. The shop assistant kindly explained that in fact Yamasa brand has a better pedigree (由緒正しい) as it was established in 1645 as opposed to Kikkoman's 1917. A longer noble line at half the price, how could I resist that?

Yamasa's shoyu turned out to be good quality with a bit drier taste and less heady aroma. I am not sure that I will keep buying it because I think I do miss Kikkoman's delightfully rankish flavour.

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