I believe I'm like most people – we tend to consume soy sauce as a part of our everyday meals. (Sometimes, I even have soy sauce with rice for a quick and easy meal).
Yet, a small seed of questions always lingers in my mind: how is soy sauce made? Why are some so tasty, while others are dark or incredibly salty? This question has always been in my mind but never get to find out the answers.
Have you ever wondered the same questions?
In 2016, this curiosity led me on a journey to uncover answers. Unlike many other aspects of cooking or sauce making that have numerous books and research to draw from,, Soy Sauce making remains surprisingly limited mentions from books. Yet, its significance part of our life across the globe.
I continued to ask myself a question: How would soy sauce have tasted 200, 300, or even 1000 years ago, in an era untouched by modern technology and scientific shortcuts? Which they relied on the craftsmanship and knowledge passed down from ancestors, where the focus was on creating excellent handcrafted soy sauce rather than aiming for mass production in a short amount of time
I began dive deeper into the history of soy sauce, tracing its origins back all the way to first written history of “醬” from The Tang dynasty “唐朝” over 1,333 years ago, It was a time when the original form of soy sauce was significantly distinct from the soy sauce that we are familiar with today. And also the controversial argument about the “Original birth place” of Soy Sauce, But that's a story for another point in this blog.
Since then I have been obsessed in soy sauce making,. try to find and tastes all sort of different soy sauce in particular those vanishing small handcraft soy sauce brewery in Hong Kong, which is very rare, The city's urban landscape has made it increasingly difficult for these traditional artisans to carry on their craft due to space constraints and escalating production costs. . Then there's Japan, renowned for its soy sauce. Soy sauce brewing skill handed down through generations. It's truly remarkable to witness how the specialty soy sauce breweries in Japan are dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors that were passed down to them by their ancestors 200 to 300 years ago.
To truly comprehend the authentic taste of soy sauce from 100 of years ago. the best way is to re-create in traditional method on my own, to experience the quality of the soy sauce firsthand. Fortunately, there's no need for complex equipment or special ingredients. All we need are just Wheat, Soybeans, Salt, and Water.
However, since there is not many books available on how to make soy sauce, i tried to piece together information from books, online resources, and started to make my very first batch in 2016..
The first batch didn’t came out as planned, as there are too much of unknown..Unlike many other food or beverage creations that are usually tested within a few days to determine success, soy sauce is a different story. With soy sauce, you might not even know if it's working for a minimum of 6 months, and in my experience, the real transformation doesn't happen until about 12 months into the brewing process. This might seem like a longer wait, but observing the gradual evolution of soy sauce is absolutely fascinating.
Numerous batches later, The process seems heading to the right direction, and I can finally feel confident to extract my first drop of soy sauce.. That initial sip was nothing short of "amazing”
It all began with a single question, a tiny seed of curiosity that has now grown into a strong notion of starting my very own soy sauce brewery.