History of Soy Sauce
People around the world today appreciate and enjoy soy sauce.
Let us take a look at the history of this versatile seasoning—and an even closer look at Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
In both the East and West, people for centuries have sought better ways to preserve food, discovering through experience that the use of salt not only preserves but also improves flavor. This is because microorganisms break down the proteins contained in food into taste-enhancing umami components.
In ancient China, preserved foods and their seasonings were known as jiang—perhaps the forerunner to what we now know as soy sauce. Meat, seafood, vegetables and grain were used to produce different types of jiang. Of these ingredients, grain was the most easily available and manageable, and so the jiang made from soybeans and wheat in particular developed more rapidly. The process of making this “grain jiang” eventually spread from China into Japan and other neighboring countries. Today’s soy sauce is said to have originated from this seasoning.
After its introduction into Japan, the development and processing of jiang took a distinctive turn; by the middle of the seventeenth century, the process of producing naturally brewed soy sauce using the traditional Japanese brewing process had been established here, and began to spread throughout the country.