There's only one way to make the highest quality soy sauce: follow time-honored traditions that have endured centuries.
Discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago, soy sauce is thought to be one of the world's oldest condiments. It has remained a cornerstone of many Asian cuisines. Today, it is increasingly known in the West as a flavoring and flavor-enhancing ingredient for many types of foods.
To prepare for winter, people of prehistoric Asia preserved meat and fish by packing them in salt. The liquid that leached from the preserved meat was subsequently used as a base for savory broths and seasonings.
In the sixth century AD, the practice of Buddhism flourished in both Japan and China. Many Buddhists practiced vegetarianism, which created the need for a meatless seasoning. One such seasoning consisted of a salty paste of fermented grains including soybeans, the first known product to resemble modern soy sauce.
While studying in China, a Japanese Zen priest came across this new seasoning. Upon returning to Japan, the priest began making his own version and introduced it to others. Over the years, the Japanese modified the ingredients and brewing techniques. One change was the addition of wheat in equal proportion to the soybeans. This produced a soy sauce with a more balanced flavor profile that enhanced food flavors without overpowering them.
During the 17th century, legend has it that the original recipe for Kikkoman Soy Sauce was developed and brewed by a resourceful widow in Noda, Japan. Through the centuries, the soy sauce grew in popularity outside the borders of Japan.
Kikkoman began exporting soy sauce to the U.S. in the 1800s. In 1972, to meet the growing demand for traditionally brewed soy sauce in the United States, Kikkoman opened its Walworth, Wisconsin, brewing plant in the heart of America's wheat and soybean country. In 1998, a second plant was opened in Folsom, California.
Today, Kikkoman Soy Sauce is the best-selling and most widely recognized brand name of soy sauce in the United States, prized for its versatility as a flavor enhancer, sauce and marinade base, and table-top condiment.
To learn more about the history of soy sauce visit the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum.
500 B.C. - Soy sauce was discovered in China.
500 A.D - While studying in China, a Japanese Zen priest came across soy sauce. Upon returning to Japan, the priest began making his own version and introducing it to others.
1600s - Kikkoman establishes the first commercial brewery to produce soy sauce in Noda, Japan.
1800s - Kikkoman began exporting soy sauce to the U.S. in the 1800s.
1957 - The Kikkoman Corporation established its first U.S. arm, KIKKOMAN INTERNATIONAL, INC., to market and distribute Kikkoman products to the North American retail, foodservice and prepared foods industries.
1972 - To meet the growing demand for traditionally brewed soy sauce in the U.S., Kikkoman Foods, Inc., opened a plant in Walworth, Wisconsin.
1998 - A second plant was opened in Folsom, California.
2001 - Kikkoman is the best-selling and most widely recognized soy sauce brand in America.
2008 - Kikkoman Corporation announced that Kikkoman International Inc. would be renamed as KIKKOMAN SALES USA, INC.