Nama Shoyu vs. Regular Soy Sauce: What’s the Difference?

A new type of soy sauce called Nama Shoyu (生しょうゆ) became a big hit several years ago, and now, it has become a standard household seasoning in Japan.

Nama Shoyu (生しょうゆ)

Nama Shoyu from Kikkoman

As you may know, in the name of Nama Shoyu, Shoyu (醤油) is the Japanese word for soy sauce, while Nama (生) means raw, fresh, or uncooked. 

Then, how does the variety differ from the regular soy sauce we commonly use in everyday life, such as Koikuchi Shoyu (dark soy sauce) and Usukuchi Shoyu (light-colored soy sauce)?

vs. Regular Soy Sauce

Nama Shoyu vs Soy Sauce

One primary reason why Nama Shoyu includes the word Nama (生), meaning raw or fresh or uncooked, in its name is;

Unlike ordinary soy sauce, such as Koikuchi Shoyu and Usukuchi Shoyu, the sauce isn’t heat-treated in the final production process to keep its umami components and enzymes alive.

Instead, to get rid of germs, the unheated raw soy sauce is filtered through special filters over and over again. 

In contrast, the production of regular soy sauce usually involves heat sterilization. But that results in stopping the activity of enzymes and diminishes umami.


Kikkoman Nama Shoyu Features

So compared to heat-treated soy sauce, Nama Shoyu generally has a brilliant brown hue and smooth umami.

The sauce is mild and brings out the flavor of the ingredients in dishes. It has plenty of umami and becomes more aromatic when heated.


Kikkoman Nama Shoyu Soy Sauce Usage

As for usage, the maker (Kikkoman) recommends using the Nama Shoyu for Nimono (simmered dishes) and Itamemono (stir-fries), in addition to using the sauce the same way as regular soy sauce. 


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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