Dear Lynne,

How do you spot a really high-quality soy sauce? I shop at a supermarket, but could shop at an Asian market if necessary.

–Samantha in Eugene

Dear Samantha,

You are on to something. Soy sauces taste incredibly different. No matter where you shop, ingredient lists tell all, or almost all. You want soy beans, water and salt, possibly sake, perhaps sugar and rice or wheat. A bottle of La Choy or Chung King reveals what you don’t want—no vegetable proteins, preservatives or coloring agents. One difference between most Japanese and Chinese soy sauces is that Japanese sauces tend to have a slightly sweeter flavor.

Two credible soy sauces that will serve you well are the U.S-produced Kikkoman, found in supermarkets, and China’s Pearl River Bridge brand, found in Asian markets. (Watch my blind soy sauce taste test.) You can keep soy sauce in the refrigerator up to a year.

-Lynne

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.