In this guide, we'll address the question: Is Soy Sauce Vegan? We'll also get into the vegan status of many popular soy sauce brands, such as Kikkoman, La Choy and Amoy.
We'll also answer a common question about lactic acid.
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Is Soy Sauce Vegan?
Yes! Rest assured that soy sauce is vegan. Ingredients vary depending on the brand, but we weren't able to find any containing animal products.
But being vegan is about more than avoiding meat, dairy and animal byproducts. It's a lifestyle that includes steering clear of companies that don't meet ethical standards of animal treatment, so we'll be taking a closer look at some popular soy sauce brands below.
For right now, let's get a little more acquainted with what's actually in soy sauce and answer the most common questions...
Read Also: Is Wasabi Vegan?
What Is Soy Sauce Made out Of?
Originating in China, soy sauce is made from a base of fermented soy beans, just like tofu and tempeh. Basic additional ingredients are grain products, salt, water and a preservative of some sort.
Soy sauce undergoes a fermentation and aging process, which, according to Kikkoman (one of the biggest brands on the market), is a several month-long process. (1)
Check out this short and informative video on how it's made. It's an interesting watch...
What Are the Ingredients in Soy Sauce?
Based on our research, there are a few different types of soy sauce on the market, some of which aren't really soy sauce at all. Kikkoman's (2) most popular All-Purpose Soy Sauce has the following ingredient statement:
WATER, WHEAT, SOYBEANS, SALT, SODIUM BENZOATE; LESS THAN 1/10 OF 1% AS A PRESERVATIVE.
Kikkoman also has a preservative-free version (no impact on the vegan status), but the above is what you're likely to find in the store.
Some other (less expensive) brands of soy sauce like La Choy rely on sweeteners and colorants to emulate the soy sauce experience. In our opinion, this isn't the best in terms of flavor profile—even though it is still vegan.
La Choy's ingredient statement looks like this:
Water, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative). (3)
Sometimes, there are ingredients that just sound suspect. What if you pick up a bottle of soy sauce with lactic acid in it?
Conclusions About Soy Sauce
There's no need to worry about the vegan status of soy sauce, but when it comes to culinary excellence, go for Kikkoman or SAN-J Tamari—preferably the latter.
Fermented soy products such as soy sauce and tamari provide umami in vegan dishes, bringing out whole new dimensions of flavor. They are critical ingredients in the arsenal of any vegan chef.
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