In both East and West, people have searched for centuries for better ways to preserve foods, discovering through experience that the use of salt not only preserves, but improves flavor. This is because proteins contained in food are broken down by microorganisms 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. Different types of jiang were produced from meat, seafood, vegetables and grain. 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 originate from this seasoning.
After being introduced 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 had been established here, and began to spread throughout the country.
Discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago, soy sauce is thought to be one of the world's oldest condiments. It has remained a cornerstone of many Asian cuisines. Today, it is increasingly known in the West as a flavoring and flavor-enhancing ingredient for many types of foods.
Most of the soy sauce in Bo Ling's restaurants is Kikkoman. They serve it on the tables and cook with it in the dishes you eat. It serves as the base for many of our sauces. What might surprise you, though, is that our Kikkoman soy sauce is brewed in Wisconsin! Even better, most (if not all) of the soy beans are grown right here in the Mid-West! Who knew that here in Missouri we're serving some of the freshest soy sauce made with local ingredients?
Wednesday, April 10, 2013