Soy sauce is one of the most common seasonings you will find in most kitchens. This amazing sauce has a long history behind it, and there are many types too. Different brands may make their soy sauce using either traditional or chemical methods. And then, some brands add taste enhancers, while some others don’t. Many people have concerns with one common enhancer, MSGs. Non-MSG soy sauce is becoming the cynosure of such people’s eyes. But they are quite rare to come by. So we have compiled a list of the top 3 brands of non-MSG soy sauce that you can buy.
Soy sauce is ancient in origin. People have been using it from way back in the 6th century. At that time, people used salt to preserve pork, fish, meat, and chicken. What happened then was that a liquid by-product will often leech from these foods. Many people later used this liquid by-product as a seasoning for other meals. After this, many people became vegetarians and could no longer use meaty seasonings. So they replaced the meats with grains. The most commonly used grain was soybeans because they were very rampant at the time. This was how soy sauce came to be in China. From there, it spread to other places like Japan, where slight variations have been made to the mix. The recipe kept evolving until it was standardized in the 1800s for worldwide circulation.
Getting the Best Soy Sauce Type
Generally speaking, people classify soy sauce into 3 types.
1. Light soy
This is common in many Chinese recipes. If you see any Chinese recipe that requires soy sauce, what they are asking for is the light variety. If they mean any other thing aside from this, they will specify it.
The typical color of this variety is light red-brown, and it has an opaque view. It is thin and salty. You can use this type as a flavor enhancer for most dishes, especially the Taiwanese and Chinese dishes.
2. Dark soy
The dark sauce takes a long time to age. The light sauce, on the other hand, takes shorter. Aside from this, the dark sauce also includes a few other ingredients. These include caramel or molasses, as well as some cornstarch. This variety is sweeter and has a darker color and thicker texture than the light variety. You can use dark soy in your salad dressings, dips, and stews.
3. Thick soy
You need sugar to make thick soy. You also need more wheat, as well as a starch-based thickener. This sauce gives a sweet taste to stir-fry foods. But you can also use it for your pork dishes.
All of these varieties are good. However, it is always best to get certified organic products if you are buying soy sauce. This is because many brands, especially in America, now use genetic modification. It may surprise you to find out that 90 percent of the soybeans you find in the American market are GM (genetically modified).
Certified-organic means you need not worry about pesticides and other unwanted contaminants. So they are always the best. The soybeans used for organic brands were grown with the best practices.
How About Non-MSG Soy Sauce?
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a type of glutamic acid with so much controversy surrounding it. It is a natural by-product of soy sauce fermentation. Glutamic acid, an amino, may play a role in giving food an umami flavor.
This means that MSG is naturally present in soy sauce and is partly responsible for its taste. However, some brands add some more MSG to their products to add to its flavor.
Some experts believe that MSG is a very dangerous neurotoxin. They believe that it can cause severe headaches. But then, some other experts say the scientific evidence supporting this claim is too little to conclude.
Anyways, a lot of people prefer to limit MSG in their diets. So here are 3 top soy sauce brands that do not have added MSG in their mix:
1. Lee Kum-Kee’s soy sauce (Premium)
This product does not have any added preservatives or chemicals. The producers brew it using natural and traditional methods. More so, its aroma and flavor are very rich. It is, therefore, healthier than many other brands that have added MSG to their product.
2. Best-of-Thailand Soy Sauce (Lite)
This product is Asian-brewed and has lower sodium content than most other brands. Aside from being free of MSG, it is vegan and certified kosher. It is very good for vegetarians. But you can also use it to marinate your fish and meat. It is even recommended for this purpose.
Although this product is low-sodium, it has a very rich taste. More so, this one contains a preservative, sodium benzoate. That can be a downside if you are looking for a brand that contains no preservatives
3. Kikkoman brand (Soy Sauce)
They brew this product naturally like wine. The ingredients contain wheat, soybeans, salt, and water. The process takes months to complete. This allows the mix to develop a rich and complex, but mellow flavor. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in this product. It is also organic and contains no MSG.
Soy Sauce Benefits
We all know that say sauce can help enhance your meal’s flavor. But aside from this, it can also offer certain benefits to your body system. These benefits include the following:
- It supplies sodium to your body and can help up-regulate your body’s sodium levels. Sodium is vital for your body’s proper functioning.
- Soy sauce has some anti-allergenic properties. This is due to certain compounds that the fermentation process yields.
- It also has some antioxidant properties. This is due to the high amounts of natural antioxidant, shoyu flavones, in it.
- It gives good coloring to your meals, most especially, barbecues.
If you are looking for non-MSG soy sauce, you may have to search wide before you find what you are looking for. But then, the list above can serve as a guide to help you get the best non-MSG brands for your meals.