What soy sauce should I buy?

Not all soy sauces are created equal, not by a long shot. The good stuff is brewed and the cheap stuff is chemically produced. Plus there are differences in flavour and colour. These are all brewed and are all best suited to different types of cooking. Find out which soy sauce is the best here…

Kecap Manis

This is an Indonesian soy sauce with added aromatics and palm sugar. It is sweet and is widely used, especially with noodle dishes.



Shoyu Japanese soy sauce is clear and thin and Kikkoman, in its iconic bottle, is the most well known brand. All purpose is darker than light soy, and the latter has a saltier, sweeter flavour, but less colour. Use both for dipping and in recipes depending on whether you are after colour (all-purpose) or saltiness (light).


Traditionally, tamari is made without wheat, though to be absolutely sure, check for gluten-free brands. It is quite strong in flavour and can be used in recipes and for dipping.


Chinese soy sauce

You can buy light and dark varieties. Light soy (shown here) has a more assertive flavour while dark has more colour and is thicker; if in doubt, use light. Many Chineserecipes call for some of each to balance both colour and flavour; Pearl River is a well known brand with a good flavour.