French: sauce soya
Soy sauce was used in the Orient for the first time 2,500 years ago. It was brought to Japan by a Buddhist sect slightly later in the 6th Century. Buddhism was widespread at the time and forbid the consumption of meat. Meatless, vegetarian food became very popular. Soy sauce is a strictly vegetarian food and thus fitted into the diet excellently.
This original soy sauce soon became popular in Japan. It gave life to dull tasting rice dishes. Furthermore it was very suitable for preserving food and toned down strong fish smells. This original soy sauce tasted slightly different to the sauce we know today, however.
It did not start to taste like today’s soy sauce until the 16th century. Wheat was the key. By adding wheat the taste, aroma and colour was improved again substantially.
Thanks to Dutch traders soy sauce at last found its way to Europe in the 17th Century. In France chefs in the court of Louis XIV called it "black gold”.
Hints & Tips