Japanese 4 Year Double Barrel Fermented Saishikomi Soy Sauce – A Revelation -

Japanese 4 Year Double Barrel Fermented Saishikomi Soy Sauce – A Revelation -


I have used Pearl River Brand soy sauce my entire life. I love it because it has a mellow flavor that doesn't come entirely from salt. It adds dimension to a recipe without overwhelming it.


A few months ago my husband and I were watching a documentary about how traditional barrel fermented Japanese soy sauce is made and aged. The film was so inspiring I quickly googled the artisanal maker featured in it – Yamaroku. Surprise,surprise! I could order it on Amazon for an astonishing $40. So I did.

Because I have spent my life immersed in food and wine, splurging on small luxuries like aged soy sauce, a pricey cheese that is only available in the winter or a good Pinot Noir brings me joy. So the leap from a $4 bottle of Pearl River to a $40 bottle of Yamaroku wasn't hard for me to make. I could think of so many ways to justify it.


When the bottle arrived a few days later, my husband and I gathered around it to inspect. It was nice to look at, with it's squarish bottle and calligraphy, although the plastic pull off cap seemed incongruous. We poured a dab on our fingers and tasted. Insert 'mind blown' emoji here. Where had this soy sauce been all my life? It was strong, intense, deep.


It was so intense I wondered what I would use it for. One of my standard weekday dinners is broiled salmon with wasabi, soy sauce, scallion and chili crunch. I did like Yamaroku for this dish, although I didn't drizzle as much on it as I would of the Pearl River, so there was a bit less of the yummy blended juices on the plate.


My favorite application so far is for fried rice. I know, it sounds maybe antithetical to take a high end condiment and use it for what is basically leftovers. But to me, it takes an everyday stir fry and elevates it to something “can't stop eating”. I just drizzle in a little bit of the deep, dark soy sauce towards the end of the stir fry and try not to mix it in completely, so I get some bites that are more intense than others. If you want to understand the umami concept, this fermented soy sauce will spell it all out for you. As with many luxuries, a little goes a long way.


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