Dark Soy vs Light Soy Sauces

29 March 2023|General Discussion

There is a huge difference between light and dark sauces thus they can’t be interchanged in use cases; Don’t use light in place of dark if the recipe says use dark, and vice versa. Also note that Japanese and Chinese soy sauces differ despite both being made from soybeans, water, salt and wheat. However the processing/brewing is different. For Japanese case, the wheat is first roasted thus giving a different flavor.

Due to variations in regions, the classification of whether dark or light will vary. However note that dark soy sauce is common in Japan while light soy sauce is common in China. In Japan 10% of production is light, while 80% is dark. So if the recipe calls for ”soy sauce” without specifying, checking the cuisine might help you decide the right one for the job.

Also note that in Japan soy sauce is not identified by either “dark” or “light”. Light and dark are mostly Chinese terms, instead Japan has 3 common variations  (actually in total they are five): koikuchi which is the common all purpose one, usukuchi which is lighter in color and saltier, and tamari which unlike the previous one, its wheat-free and darker.

Case Comparison

In Chinese cooking, light soy sauce is the default.It is all purpose, light coloured and more saltier compared to a dark variation.It is thin with consistency of water.Mostly used for seasoning finished foods or for dipping.

Dark soy sauce is darker in color, thicker in consistency, and mild with sweetness. It is however less salty than light soy sauce. In production, its is fermented longer than light soy sauce thus turns out more viscous. Dark soy is used for adding color, sautéing or for marinades. It should be used in moderation since it may overpower the dish or make it bitter.

I will be comparing two bottles light vs dark from the same manufacturer;

In comparing the ingredients, they are the same for the most part only that the dark bottle has Xanthan Gum (E415), a food additive and a thickener.Also Sodium Benzoate used instead of Potassium sorbate as in the lighter bottle. Both are preservatives

Moving on to the nutritional information, the darker one has more calories, by over 187%.

  •  The darker one has more protein by over 35%
  •  The darker one has more carbs by 445%
  •  And finally and obviously for the sodium(salt) content, darker one has more by just 3.4% (honestly i expected a bigger different here)

Kindly note this comparison is specific and doesn’t apply out there as a rule of thumb.

This is not a sponsored post.

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