As far as dollars spent, soy sauce is a cook's bargain. Which is exactly why we wanted to do a soy sauce tasting. This is one of the things you've got to have in your kitchen arsenal. Why? Well, soy sauce is packed with umami. It's that substance that lifts the flavors of everything it touches.

But not all soy sauces are created equal.

So what makes a fine soy sauce? It's cultured, it has a starter and is aged -- sometimes for several years -- which is why you can find sauces in Asian shops selling for double figures.

However, there are also soys made without a soybean in sight. Can you actually taste the difference? We went out to a supermarket and picked up five national brands, and then we dug in.
 

Soy Sauce Contenders

  1. Kikkoman, $1.99
  2. Pearl River Bridge, $1.79
  3. Eden Organic Tamari, $5.39
  4. La Choy, $1.12
  5. San-J Organic Tamari (Gluten-Free), $4.89

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.