Here's a gold lacquered tray (at right) bearing two ceramic tasting dishes. Each dish has a bull's eye pattern on the bottom of the dish. In one dish you pour a small amount of non-brewed soy sauce. In the other, the same amount of traditionally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
The bull's-eye pattern in the dishes immediately reveals the first major difference. You notice that Kikkoman is delicately translucent with an attractive, reddish-brown color, which you can see through the pattern; the non-brewed soy sauce is black and opaque. No bull's-eye is revealed there.
Next swirl the sauces as you would fine wine and take in their aromas. Kikkoman's is slightly sweet, rich, a bit earthy, decidedly appetizing. The non-brewed soy sauce has an acrid, chemical aroma.
Now sample a few drops of Kikkoman, letting its flavor spread across your tongue. You'll be struck by its complexity, its delicate balance of flavors, the play of salty, sweet, sour and savory on your palate. That's because Kikkoman has nearly 300 flavor and aroma components. Now try a taste of non-brewed soy sauce. It has a sharp, overpowering, unpleasant flavor.
Once you experience the difference, there is just one last step: cooking. When you cook with traditionally brewed Kikkoman, you quickly discover that it is more than just an Asian flavoring. It's a remarkable flavor enhancer that rounds out the flavors of other ingredients, adding depth and richness to all kinds of foods, from burgers to green salads, soups to casseroles.
There are two distinct types of soy sauce on the market today: traditionally brewed (or "fermented") sauces and non-brewed products.
Traditionally brewed soy sauce is translucent, with a reddish-brown color and a wonderfully balanced flavor and aroma.
Non-brewed soy sauce is often opaque and has a harsh, overpowering flavor and pronounced chemical aroma.
Kikkoman is traditionally brewed and aged for full flavor, just like fine wine. We start with the finest soybeans and wheat. We blend them with a starter culture, water and salt. And then we add the most important ingredient of all: time. Despite the advances in technology, our fermentation process simply can't be hurried. It takes several months for the rich, mellow flavor and the complex bouquet of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to develop.
Non-brewed soy sauce, on the other hand, is made in hours from ingredients like hydrolyzed vegetable protein and caramel coloring. Its flavor is harsh and one-dimensional. Kikkoman enhances and balances other flavors, while non-brewed soy sauce can mask and overwhelm them. From flavor and aroma to color, there's just no comparison.