Your favorite soy sauce brands and more

I’m a sucker for anything made in Japan, but the Trader Joe’s soy sauce from Japan is no good. It took me a long time to accept that.

I started with Pearl River, then moved to Kimlan. Then, my local HMart and Great Wall were out of both for a few weeks, so I sampled far too many other brands and eventually settled on Koon Chun as my new favorite. It’s made in Hong Kong.

I do this, too! And I really think it makes a difference. The Koon Chun bottles would often leak for me, so I actually transfer all of it to another bottle first. I use mostly the “thin” variety.

I’ve given up trying to convince people fried rice should not be brown. I’ll take some out for myself (and immediate family) and “brown” the rest. If I’m out of soy sauce, I’ll add tamarind and people tend to enjoy that a lot (we are Pakistani so tamarind is a familiar flavor.) I agree the dark soy sauces are better for coloring, but I wasn’t using them for much else, so I only keep the thin soy sauce now.


Kimlan is good too. (Well, soy sauce is kind of a personal thing, so everyone has their favorite). The only thing is that I think some of Kimlan soy sauce has sugar. I have nothing against sugar. It is just that I rather have the ability to adjust sugar for my dishes. A minor thing really.
Yeah, same here for me, I don’t use dark soy sauce very often – only maybe a few dishes here and there. I am talking about less than 2-4 tablespoon in a year…

Tamarind is nice, but I don’t use it often. I think the last time I use it for was for Pad Thai noodle…Tamarind fried rice will be yellow, right? Not brown. What about turmeric? :slight_smile:

I don’t think that’s just soy sauce that gives the Chinese-American fried rice it’s super dark coloring. My dad used to work in one of those places and they added additional sauce that made it that color. My parents made fried rice with soy sauce, and they both lived in HK and cooked that style of food for many years, yet our fried rice came out looking like your picture above. That’s how I make mine too, and it doesn’t look darkened.


Ah! Good to know!

Somewhere I was told it was Gravy Master in old school (Queen’s?) NYC “Chinese Fried Rice”.

Who remembers “Egg foo yung”? Pretty sure THAT’S an interesting story. I LOVED the ribs. I can finally afford them, and they are not to be found anywhere around here. i can make do with the chopped ones.

From The Telegraph, circa 2006
Spare ribs, egg foo-yung, chop-suey and plenty of fried rice: how to murder a Chinese

I agree. It takes the dark soy sauce to give that darker stir fried Hor Fun color – thin soy sauce will have a tough time yielding a dark brown.


Conversely, regular thin soy sauce will not be enough to give the darker brown color we see in some fried rice.


That looks amazing - is there a recipe you like?

For disclosure, that is a random photo I found on the internet. :slight_smile: I didn’t make it.

Recipe for fried rice? All my various versions of fried rice are really based on the simple egg fried rice. I do have recipes, but I think they don’t really capture what I aim for.

A couple key points for my fried rice are:
(1) I try not to overwhelm my stove/wok. If I need to stir fry the rice in 2-3 batches, so be it. It is important for me to make the fried rice at hot temperature.
(2) Add oil to the hot wok first, then add beaten egg. When the egg is about 70-80% done (solidified but still soft), then I add the rice
(3) Constantly moving the fried rice in the wok at hot temperature – as hot can I get it to be
(4) I try to aim that my fried rice can freely move in my wok as individual grain. They should not be stuck together at the end. So, I will constantly break the rice grain up if I need to
(5) Also, I try to add enough oil, but I also try to add as little oil I can get away with. This way my end product won’t be as greasy and oily. However, if I don’t add enough oil, then the fried rice won’t have that “fried” flavor. It will have more grill/burn flavor

– I suppose I could have just say making my fried rice at “hot” and “fast” conditions


For chow fun / ho fun, which I love, but have never made at home. Thanks for the fried rice recipe though! Bookmarking it…

1 Like

I’m going to try to save this in the fried rice thread.

I’ve used all kinds of brands but for the last twenty I’ve tended to use Wan Ja Shan (esp. the aged) and Kimlan.

Wow, that’s kind of an odd read. The writer comes off as kind of a jerk. Also inaccurate - there have been Chinese restaurants in England since the 19th century.

From the chinadaily article:

"However, the earliest Chinese eateries in London predate Poon’s by a century, says the British Chinese Heritage Centre. They stretch all the way back to the 1880s when stalls sprang up around London’s docklands, where Chinese sailors had settled.

The Limehouse area of East London housed the first Chinatown in the British capital but it was the International Health Exhibition in the West London district of South Kensington in 1884 that introduced Chinese food to the British public in a big way, something that was followed in 1908 by the first recorded opening of a formal Chinese restaurant, in Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly Circus, which was appropriately named The Chinese Restaurant.

Similar things were happening in other cities. In Liverpool in the 1930s, ex-Chinese sailors were serving dishes from Ningbo, Fuzhou, Hainan, Shantou, and Shanghai, including chop suey (a mix of meat and vegetables cooked together), fishcakes, and black jam cakes. And, in 1938, chop suey, chow mein and fried rice were popular among students at a restaurant in Cambridge because of their affordability.

A key moment in the journey of Chinese food in the UK came with the introduction of simple Chinese recipes on BBC broadcasts by Jean Sterling in 1939 and with Chinese cooking ingredients becoming available at the Shanghai Emporium on Greek Street in London."


Second a great recipe for beef ho fun.

I was a longtime Koon Chun thin user, but I have recently switched to Pearl River Bridge Golden Label when I can get it. I keep a bottle of San-J soy-only tamari around.

I am always trying out different salt-fermented protein sauces - some coco aminos are pretty good, and Red Boat 40° fish sauce is pretty amazing. But the 2 above are constant staples.


Thank you! I was thinking that I never see the items I remember eating at the Chinese restaurants of my youth on the East coast, and was wondering what happened, besides me moving to California. I know it was a good thing, but I miss this ribs!

About egg in fried rice: I’ve noted that most recipes and online videos start with egg in preheated oil, which I’ve done some times. But the first recipe I came across is one I mostly use: it involves putting the egg(s) in near to last (before herbs and green onions), whereby you have all the main ingredients in and hot, and then add egg(s), break the yolks and stir a bit, fold the rice, etc. over the egg(s), and leave it to let the eggs cook mainly in residual heat. Take about 30 seconds, and then give a stir, so the whites and the yolks are well broken up but still somewhat distinct.

I think it keeps the egg element from overcooking, but I haven’t done a side-by-side, and I bet much depends on one’s pan and BTUs.


Yeah, you are right. There isn’t one way to do it. As you have said, one can put the beaten egg at the end and fold/mix the rice to cook the egg. This allows the beaten egg to be further absorbed into the rice and also resulting much small egg pierces.
The other way I used to do (and many do) is to cook the beaten egg in the beginning much like an omelette. Take the omelette out and then slice/cut it. Then put these egg slices back in toward the very end. This results in almost no egg absorption into the rice, and very neat equal size egg slices in the fried rice. I cannot find a good photo. The below one is somewhat an exaggeration, but you get the idea.


No, it is brown, unless we are talking about different types of tamarind.

I like to add. For Chinese soy sauce, I like Koon Chun Superior Soy Sauce. For Japanese shoyu, I like Chiba Shoyu/Kiokejikomi


I remember once someone asked me about white soy sauce. For people who like a clear soy sauce, Shiro shoyu is a good alternative.


Have fun


I have never seen that Superior First Extract variety. Where do you purchase it?

Googling for an answer I came across this article which I found almost as interesting as this thread. :slight_smile: I learn a lot hanging out here.