Savory, umami-packed, with a touch of sweetness — soy sauce brings so much flavor to a dish. The dark liquid is made from fermented soybeans, and authentic bottles take roughly 180 days to make. The longer the fermentation process, usually, the more premium the bottle.
Soy sauce is a highly versatile seasoning, perfect for vegetables, meat, soups, and noodles. The endless possibilities can be overwhelming, so we ask local soy sauce makers how they like to cook with soy sauce at home. Read on for practical tips on how to make a simple noodle stir-fry, marinate meat and elevate simple fried eggs with soy sauce!
Click here for the best places to shop locally-made soy sauce.
Look, we all have a quick-fix pasta or noodle dish that we can whip up within 30 minutes by memory for those busy WFH days or when the late-night cravings strike. And this soy sauce noodle stir-fry is a great one to add to your arsenal.
According to Kui Lee Sauce (G/F, 10A, Canal Road West, Wan Chai), it’s as easy as getting your favorite noodle — any kind from flat rice noodles and egg noodles to udon works — and stir-frying with soy sauce and a bit of dark soy sauce (老抽). That’s it! The result is a noodle dish highly reminiscent of local cha chaan tengs. Add a bit of bean sprouts, onions and beef slices, and it’s basically the CCT classic beef noodle stir-fry (乾炒牛河).
Another easy variation is to mix soy sauce with curry powder, a dash of turmeric powder, and warm water. Stir-fry that with rice vermicelli, shrimp, char siu, scrambled eggs, and peppers, and you’ve made Singapore-style noodles (星洲炒米), another CCT classic!
The simple steamed fish is a Cantonese staple. And that delicious soy sauce with scallion and ginger? It’s the soul of the dish, a perfect complement to the tender fish meat and plain white rice. According to Tai Ma Sauce (G/F, Majestic Apartments, 301 King’s Road, North Point), the sauce is a breeze to recreate at home. As your fish is steaming, heat up your saucepan or wok, add cooking oil, then quickly stir-fry some ginger and scallion slices until fragrant. Pour the hot oil onto the fish, then add soy sauce on top.
Many recipes tell you to heat up the soy sauce along with the oil in your wok, but Tai Ma Sauce advises against this, as it will evaporate some of the water content and make the soy sauce overly salty. If a whole fresh fish is too intimidating, this recipe works just as well with frozen fillets.
Make a fancy-looking tofu dish with this Koon Chun Sauce Factory (Room 303, Chuk On Building, 23 Mercer Street, Sheung Wan) recipe. Inspired by Japanese Dengaku Tofu Skewers, this tofu dish is similarly sweet and savory and requires only three ingredients! All you need is tofu, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Firstly, pan-fry the tofu until golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare a soy sauce and hoisin sauce mixture. Spread the sauce on the tofu, use a cooking torch to caramelize the surface, and it’s ready to serve.
You’ve probably had fried eggs with salt and pepper, ketchup, or sriracha. How about some fried eggs with soy sauce and sesame oil? This is Kui Lee Sauce’s favorite way to prepare eggs, and it makes a delicious pairing with white rice. The creaminess from the runny yolk, the soy sauce’s strong umami flavor, along with the satisfying chew of the white rice — a super comforting combo.
Tai Ma Sauce (G/F, Majestic Apartments, 301 King’s Road, North Point) swears by marinating meat with soy sauce, for it adds a delicious depth of flavor. Wipe the meat dry with a towel or kitchen paper, add sugar, soy sauce, oil and mix well. Add a bit of cornstarch, but only at the end — so that the oil can coat each piece evenly. Wait 15 minutes, and the meat is ready, which you can add to your noodle or vegetable stir-fry.
Soy sauce-flavored rice (豉油撈飯) is something most Hong Kong kids had growing up, and it remains to be Yuet Wo 1945’s (G/F, 33, Tsuen Wan Market Street, Tsuen Wan) most beloved soy sauce dish. For the company’s fourth-generation owner, this is what reminds him of his grandfather the most. To make soy sauce-flavored rice, it can be as simple as mixing soy sauce with plain white rice or adding in condiments like pork lard, garlic, and shallot crisps.