Shoyu is the term broadly given to Japanese style soy sauces that are made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt and water. Everyone who knows a thing or two about Japanese cuisine knows soy sauce is one of the essential seasoning ingredients in Japanese food.
But did you know that Japanese soy sauce differs from other soy sauces?
Japanese-style soy sauce is called Shoyu. The classic soy sauce, widely used in the rest of the world, is Chinese-style soy sauce.
While Shoyu and Chinese-style soy sauce are made with the same ingredients, their recipes and, subsequently, tastes differ. Shoyu soy is made with a 1:1 ratio of fermented soybeans, toasted wheat, water, and sea salt that acts as a preservative (Chinese-style soy sauce uses more soybeans and regular wheat flour).
Japanese soy sauce also often uses Koji, a fungus widely used in Japan for rice and barley saccharification purposes. It’s broadly used in Japan for fermentation purposes (in miso paste, for example).
The most common types of Japanese soy sauces are dark shoyu sauce, the standard, all-purpose shoyu sauce, light soy sauce used in soup bases and marinades, tamari soy sauce made from soybeans alone and thus completely gluten-free, and sashimi soy sauce, most often used as a dip.