Mentsuyu vs Tsuyu vs Dashi : What is the difference?

When it comes to Japanese soup bases, “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)” is not only relatively well-known even in countries other than Japan, but it seems that the Japanese soup base is actually used by some overseas people.

The difference between Dashi, Tsuyu and Mentsuyu

In addition to Mentsuyu, Kikkoman’s “Hon Tsuyu (本つゆ)” ( is also popular in some countries, so a while ago I posted an article on the difference between these 2 Japanese soup bases. Furthermore, many of us Japanese, including me, can’t clearly tell the difference between “Dashi (出汁, だし)”, “Tsuyu (つゆ)” and “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)”. Therefore, today I searched online what the difference between them is, which I want to share this time.

Dashi (出汁 or だし)

There are 2 different types of Dashi in Japanese cuisine, “Dashi (出汁)” and “Dashi (だし)”. The former, Dashi (出汁) is soup stock, in other words, it is made by simmering various ingredients in water. In Japan, kombu seaweed, dried bonito flakes and dried sardines are typically prepared for taking Dashi stock. As for the latter, “Dashi (だし)” is the Kansai-style liquid soup base made by seasoning “Dashi (出汁)” with light-colored soy sauce “Usukuchi Shoyu (薄口醤油)“, sugar, “Sake (酒)” rice wine , “Mirin (みりん)” sweet cooking rice wine and so on. Kansai’s Dashi broth is light in salty taste and color, which accentuates the original taste and umami of food materials.

Tsuyu (つゆ)

“Tsuyu (つゆ)” is the Kanto-style liquid soup base made by seasoning “Dashi (出汁)” with dark soy sauce “Koikuchi Shoyu (濃口醤油)“, sugar, Sake, Mirin and so forth. Kanto-style Dashi (出汁) is made mainly with dried bonito flakes, so it has plenty of umami and smell of the fish. In order to add a flavor that is as strong as the fishy soup stock, Koikuchi Shoyu is used for making Tsuyu in the Kanto region around Tokyo.

Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)

“Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)” is made combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” and “Dashi (出汁)”, and Kaeshi is made by simmering a mixture of Koikuchi Shoyu, sugar, mirin and so on. Mentsuyu’s Dashi (出汁) is taken from ingredients such as Kombu seaweed, dried bonito flakes, Shiitake mushrooms, and dried small sardines. By the way, all the 3 Japanese soup bases, Mentsuyu, Dashi and Tsuyu are not only used for noodle soups like Udon and Soba, but they can also form the basis of various Japanese dishes.

Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Soup Base

(Reference pages of this article : olive-hitomawashi, Wikipedia 出汁, めんつゆ )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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