Alternative to Kikkomans soy sauce?
January 22, 2009 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Any readily available (you can buy it in the grocery store) soy sauce with a similar taste to the Chinese take-out packets?

I hate Kikkomans. I think their soy sauce is horrible. My favorite brand of soy sauce is the kind Chinese take out places give with their meals. Specifically the Kari-Out packets.

I've emailed Kari-Out asking if they supply to consumers, but they tell me they don't.

Anyone have any suggestions?
posted by royalsong to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There is a difference? Perhaps you get a higher quality of take-out soy sauce where you live. I think of it as pretty much the lowest common denominator. Plenty salty though.

Head to your local Asian supermarket and try some tamari soy sauce. It is all the rage.
posted by caddis at 6:23 PM on January 22, 2009

How well do you know your local take-out place? Maybe for a few bucks they could give you a whole bunch of packets? Or better, they could buy an extra box with their next order and pass it along to you.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 6:25 PM on January 22, 2009

I'm sure that you could get me-fites to send you some. I have a bunch of Kari-Out packets hanging out in my fridge at the moment, as a matter of fact.

Send me a message if you'd like 'em.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:02 PM on January 22, 2009

There is a difference. Japanese soy sauce tends to be yeast fermented beans vs Chinese soy which has a shorter non-yeast brew and is made from hydrolyzed soy protein (this applies only to cheap Chinese soy sauce, like you'd get with your take out. There's also yeast brewed Chinese soy from proper beans but I've never seen it in packets). Subjectively, Chinese soy tends to taste 'thinner', more vinegary and salty. Try looking for a bottle of light Kimlan, it's the brand most commonly given out in my local Chinese take outs and it has that characteristic vinegary note. Lee Kum Kee is also vinegary but has a richer/deeper flavor.
posted by jamaro at 7:04 PM on January 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

You might be interested to know that Kikkoman (made in Wisconsin) is the most popular brand of soy sauce in Japan.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:23 PM on January 22, 2009

Not an answer to your search (sorry), but I read somewhere that those little packets of soy sauce given out with Chinese takeout isn't real soy sauce, as it isn't even made of soy. It's an American-ized version, very much similar to Americanized Chinese food such as crab rangoon and General Tso's Chicken
posted by Jimmie at 7:26 PM on January 22, 2009


The Chinese takeouts I frequent don't really give out soy sauce -- they give out salt water with caramel coloring. Literally.

Otherwise, you might consider going to an Asian grocery and trying a bunch of different brands until you find one you enjoy.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:53 PM on January 22, 2009

Chinese soy sauces might be more to your taste. Try Lee Kum Kee (mentioned above), Pearl River Bridge, or even Dynasty. Dynasty should be available in any large chain supermarket that has an "Asian" section.
posted by zompus at 8:14 PM on January 22, 2009

Nthing go to an Asian grocery.
posted by demagogue at 9:32 PM on January 22, 2009

You might like La Choy. It's my boyfriend's favorite brand, and he also hates Kikkoman and likes the packets from Chinese restaurants.
posted by Silly Ashles at 9:48 PM on January 22, 2009

Well, I'm not in the U.S., so I have no idea what the Kari-Out packets taste like.

But all soy sauces are not made equal - when I figured that out, my cooking got a *lot* better. Some are better than others, and some are just better suited for different purposes. All the restaurants have Kikkoman on the tables here, but I bet you they're not using it in the kitchen.

I reckon you should buy a bunch and try them out. I have at least 5 bottles in my cupboard at the moment. It's a bit ridiculous actually...but soy sauce is cheap (or at least, it is in the Asian grocers here), and you could buy a bunch of dumplings and have a taste test. Fun! And you will be really surprised at how different they are from each other.

But for my two cents, the one I use the most for condiment purposes is Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce which comes in a bottle with a green and yellow label. It came recommended by a Chinese/Vietnamese friend, but it's actually made in Thailand. I also like the Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce, but it's much richer and stronger.
posted by Emilyisnow at 12:31 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Try Superior Brand Light Soy Sauce, (comes in regular too) it comes in a tall bottle with a red cap. It's quite delicious.
posted by perpetualstroll at 6:34 AM on January 23, 2009

Oops, that should be Pearl River Bridge Brand, Superior Light Soy Sauce :)
posted by perpetualstroll at 6:50 AM on January 23, 2009

Nthing Lee Kum Kee.
posted by Citrus at 7:53 AM on January 23, 2009

Thank you everyone for your answers! I will try out some of the chinese branded soy sauces mentioned here.
posted by royalsong at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2009

Yeah, the packets from American-Chinese takeout aren't really soy sauce. They are dark-colored salt water that sometimes contains MSG/hydrolyzed soy protein. You want LA CHOY brand to replicate that gross flavor.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:47 PM on January 23, 2009

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