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Taste test: Kikkoman top soy sauce

From left, the panel’s top three soy sauce picks were Kikkoman, La Choy and Publix.


From left, the panel’s top three soy sauce picks were Kikkoman, La Choy and Publix.

Our panelists tasted their way through eight brands of soy sauce this summer and couldn't stop complaining about the salty taste of the samples. A few days later, news outlets all over the country were reporting the near-death of a Virginia teen who drank a quart of soy sauce on a dare. While our judges hardly suffered salt poisoning, they did get a good sense (or taste, rather) of how much salt it takes to make the sauce so delicious. We opted to taste the regular sauces rather than the low-salt varieties to get the full impact of the flavor. Our judges plan to continue stir-frying and dipping their foods in soy sauce, but maybe not as often as they have in the past.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Kikkoman 68La Choy 61Publix 56

Salt in this sample was balanced nicely with a smokey flavor. "It's almost a malty-tasting soy," said one judge. "This would compliment crispy vegetables quite well." Another described the sauce as nice, dark and silky. "It's very smooth like Jennifer Hudson singing anywhere in front of a mic," he said.Judges said this sauce tasted very traditional. "Delicious!" said one. "Yummy," said another, adding that it had a "happy, salty flavor." The color reminded one panelist of condensed beef soup. Another said, "This is very dark and alluring, like an intriguing alleyway in Chinatown after midnight." He added, "If you had a nice bowl of steamed white or brown rice, this sauce would be perfect."Panelists were split on their preference for this store brand of soy sauce. Two said it was way too salty, even for a light dressing on veggies or seafood. The others enjoyed the robust flavor. One said, "It's bouillon-like with a beefy sub-bottom." The other said it had an appealing salt-to-smoke flavor.


they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.74 for a 10-ounce bottle from Walmart.$2.12 for a 15-ounce bottle from Walmart.$2.19 for a 15-ounce bottle.

Also Sampled: Crystal ($1.32 for a 12-ounce bottle from Walmart, 37 points); Hannaford ($1.49 for a 10-ounce bottle from Sweetbay,

36 points); Market Pantry ($1.97 for a 15-ounce bottle from Target, 31 points); Ohsawa Organic ($8.99 for a 10-ounce bottle from the Fresh Market, 37 points); and San-J International Organic ($3.99 for a 10-ounce bottle from the Fresh Market, 41 points).

Panelists: Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne tablespoonOne tablespoonOne tablespoon
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g0g / 0g0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 920mg0g / 920mg0g / 910mg
Carbs/Protein0g / 2g0g / 1g1g / 1g

Taste test: Kikkoman top soy sauce 07/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 11:49am]
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