Soy sauce is a staple in many households and is used to add flavor to a variety of dishes. With so many different brands and types of soy sauce available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.
One brand that is well-known for its quality and taste is Kikkoman Soy Sauce. But what about the red label soy sauce that you may have seen on store shelves? Is it the same as Kikkoman?
In this article, we’ll explore the differences (or lack thereof) between these two popular soy sauces. So, let’s dive in and find out if red label soy sauce is indeed Kikkoman.
Is Red Label Soy Sauce Kikkoman?
The short answer is yes, red label soy sauce is Kikkoman. The red label simply refers to the packaging of the soy sauce, which is different from the classic Kikkoman bottle.
Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a well-known and respected brand that has been used in Japanese cuisine for centuries. It is a versatile seasoning that can be used in a variety of dishes, both as a cooking ingredient and as a finishing touch.
The red label soy sauce is no different in terms of quality and taste. It is made using the same traditional brewing process as classic Kikkoman Soy Sauce, using only natural ingredients such as water, soybeans, wheat, and salt. It is also aged for several months to develop its characteristic rich and mellow umami taste, appetizing aroma, and distinctive reddish-brown color.
The only difference between the two is the packaging. The classic Kikkoman bottle has a clear reddish-brown color, while the red label soy sauce comes in a different bottle with a red label.
It’s worth noting that there are other brands of soy sauce that also use red labels, so it’s important to check the label to ensure you are getting the Kikkoman brand if that’s what you’re looking for.
What Is Kikkoman Soy Sauce?
Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a naturally brewed soy sauce that has been made using the traditional Japanese brewing process known as “honjozo”. This method uses the natural powers of fermentation to create a rich and mellow flavor that is similar to that of fine wine. The soy sauce is made from four basic ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. These ingredients are carefully selected because they have a direct impact on the flavor of the soy sauce.
Kikkoman Soy Sauce is aged for several months to develop its characteristic rich and mellow umami taste, appetizing aroma, and distinctive reddish-brown color. The soy sauce can be used in a variety of dishes and cuisines, from traditional Asian dishes to mainstream American foods, classic Mediterranean dishes, or Caribbean cuisine. It is a versatile seasoning that can be used as a cooking ingredient or as a finishing touch.
Unlike other types of soy sauce, such as Chinese soy sauce, Kikkoman Soy Sauce contains only four ingredients and no artificial additives whatsoever. Chinese soy sauces tend to be chemically produced or partially brewed using little or no wheat or yeast and come in light and dark varieties. They often have a higher salt content than Japanese shoyu and do not have the same level of translucence.
Kikkoman Soy Sauce is an excellent substitute for both light and dark soy sauces in recipes, whether in stir-fries, marinades, dipping sauces, dressings, or as a universal seasoning in any type of dish. It is a natural food that is perfect for those who pursue a healthy lifestyle and nutritious balanced diet with foods that are free from artificial additives and flavor enhancers.
What Is Red Label Soy Sauce?
Red Label Soy Sauce is a type of soy sauce that is produced by Kikkoman, a well-known and respected brand in the world of Japanese cuisine. The red label simply refers to the packaging of the soy sauce, which is different from the classic Kikkoman bottle.
Like classic Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Red Label Soy Sauce is made using natural ingredients such as water, soybeans, wheat, and salt, and is brewed and fermented for several months to develop its characteristic rich and mellow umami taste, appetizing aroma, and distinctive reddish-brown color.
Red Label Soy Sauce is a versatile seasoning that can be used in a variety of dishes, both as a cooking ingredient and as a finishing touch. Its “fine” flavor allows it to be easily incorporated into all cuisines, whether Oriental or European.
To distinguish between Red Label Soy Sauce and other brands that also use red labels, it’s important to check the label to ensure you are getting the Kikkoman brand. When performing the bottleneck test, naturally brewed Japanese soy sauce like Kikkoman Soy Sauce is reddish-brown, transparent and thin in consistency. Other soy sauces, such as the chemically produced ones, have a syrup-like consistency and are dark in color or opaque.
Differences In Taste And Flavor
When it comes to taste and flavor, Kikkoman Soy Sauce and its red label counterpart are virtually identical. Both have a rich, full-bodied, aromatic, and harmonious flavor with a smooth texture. They also have the unique quality of enhancing the natural flavor of meat, vegetables, and other foods without masking it.
The taste of soy sauce is predominated by saltiness, followed by moderate umami, sweet taste, and slight bitterness. The overall flavor of soy sauce is a result of the balance and interaction among different taste components. The saltiness is largely attributed to the presence of NaCl (common salt) in brine. The sugars hydrolyzed from starch add sweetness into soy sauce.
Umami is largely caused by the presence of free amino acids, mainly glutamine and aspartic acid. Sodium from the brine and disodium ribonucleotides from the soy also add to the umami. Other amino acids cause additional basic flavors, with sweet coming from Ala, Gly, Ser, and Thr; bitter coming from Arg, His, Ile, Leu, Met, Phe, Trp, Tyr, and Val; and no taste in Cys, Lys, and Pro.
Kikkoman Soy Sauce and its red label counterpart have a more assertive salty flavor with a slight sweetness and acidity. This can come naturally from the brewing process or more commonly from additives like mirin, a sweet rice wine, corn syrup, and vinegar.
In terms of color, Kikkoman Soy Sauce has a clear reddish-brown color. Soy sauce containing the color additive of caramel color will not be transparent and will cause food cooked with it to become the color of the soy sauce.
Differences In Ingredients
Kikkoman Soy Sauce is made using four carefully selected natural ingredients: water, soybeans, wheat, and salt. These ingredients are completely GMO-free and are used in their natural form to create the iconic seasoning.
The color of Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a clear reddish-brown, which is achieved through the natural brewing process. In contrast, soy sauce that contains caramel color additives will not be transparent and will affect the color of the food it is used in.
When it comes to using soy sauce in cooking, it’s important to choose the right type. Koikuchi shoyu is the most commonly used soy sauce in Japanese cuisine and is a good all-purpose choice for marinades, sauces, gravies, braising liquids, and stir-fries. Kikkoman’s All-Purpose Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce is a popular option that falls under this category.
There are also premium versions of koikuchi soy sauce that are produced in smaller batches with a longer fermentation process. These tend to be more expensive but offer a fuller and more nuanced flavor. Takesan’s Kishibori Shoyu and Yamaki Jozo’s organic soy sauce are two recommended premium options.
It’s important to note that there are many types of soy sauce available for different Asian cuisines, each with their own unique flavor profile. Chinese light soy sauce, for example, is different from Japanese soy sauce and should be used in Chinese cooking for the best results.
When it comes to price, the red label Kikkoman Soy Sauce is generally priced similarly to the classic Kikkoman Soy Sauce. The price can vary depending on the size of the bottle and the retailer, but in general, you can expect to pay around $3 to $5 for a 10-ounce bottle.
It’s important to note that there are other brands of soy sauce available at lower prices, but they may not have the same quality and taste as Kikkoman. Cheaper soy sauces may contain additives or be made using a different brewing process, which can affect the flavor and aroma.
In terms of value for money, Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a great investment. A little goes a long way, and the versatile seasoning can be used in a variety of dishes, making it a staple in many kitchens. Plus, it has a long shelf life when stored properly, so you can stock up without worrying about it going bad.
Which One Should You Choose?
When it comes to choosing a soy sauce, it ultimately depends on your personal preference and the type of cuisine you are cooking. However, there are some general guidelines to follow.
For general purpose seasoning in cooked and raw applications, koikuchi shoyu is the most commonly used soy sauce in Japanese cuisine. It is a good all-purpose choice that can be used in marinades, sauces, gravies, braising liquids, and stir-fries. Kikkoman’s All-Purpose Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce is a widely available option that falls under this category.
If you’re interested in a more premium product, marudaizu shoyu is a type of koikuchi shoyu that has been made with whole soybeans. This results in a fuller and more nuanced flavor, but it can be harder to find and more expensive. Takesan’s Kishibori Shoyu and Yamaki Jozo’s organic soy sauce are two recommended premium options.
For Thai cuisine specifically, Healthy Boy Brand Mushroom Soy Sauce is a popular choice. There are two types of “regular soy sauce” in Thai cuisine: mushroom soy sauce and non-mushroom soy sauce. They are interchangeable in recipes, but it’s a matter of personal preference which one you use.
When it comes to light or dark soy sauce, Japanese and Chinese light soy sauces are thinner and lighter in color but more intense in flavor than their dark counterparts. Dark Chinese soy sauce tends to be sweeter due to the addition of molasses or another sweetener. Dark Japanese soy sauce is what’s most available and used, even if the bottle isn’t labeled as such. Light soy sauce is more common in Chinese cooking.
Ultimately, it’s important to choose a soy sauce that complements the flavors of your dish and fits your personal taste preferences.