Mentsuyu vs Tsuyu vs Dashi : What is the Difference?

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

The Difference between Dashi, Tsuyu and Mentsuyu

Dashi Soup Stock

Actually, in addition to Mentsuyu, Kikkoman’s “Hon Tsuyu (本つゆ)” is also popular in some countries, so a while ago I did some research on the difference between the 2 Japanese soup bases and posted this article.

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 also searched online what the difference between them is. This time I will share the result.

Dashi (出汁, だし)

Kombu Dashi

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 taken from various ingredients by simmering in water.

In Japan, Kombu seaweed, dried bonito shavings “Katsuobushi (鰹節)”, and dried sardines “Niboshi (煮干し)” are typically prepared for making Dashi stock.

On the other hand, “Dashi (だし)” is the Kansai-style liquid soup base made by lightly seasoning “Dashi (出汁)” with light-colored soy sauce “Usukuchi Shoyu (薄口醤油)“.

In the Kansai region around Kyoto, “Dashi (出汁)” is taken primarily from Kombu, together with Katsuobushi and Niboshi.

Kansai’s Dashi broth is rich in umami and light in saltiness and color, which accentuates the original taste of food materials.

Tsuyu (つゆ)

Katsuobushi Dried Bonito Shavings

“Tsuyu (つゆ)” is the Kanto-style liquid soup base made by combining “Dashi (出汁)” with dark soy sauce “Koikuchi Shoyu (濃口醤油)“.

Kanto-style “Dashi (出汁)” is taken primarily from Katsuobushi and is characterized by its good bonito scent.

In order to add a flavor as strong as the fishy soup stock, Koikuchi Shoyu is prepared for making Tsuyu in the Kanto region around Tokyo.

Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)

Mentsuyu Soup Base

“Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)” is made combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” and “Dashi (出汁)”.

Kaeshi is made by simmering Koikuchi Shoyu, sugar, mirin and so on, while Mentsuyu’s “Dashi (出汁)” is taken from ingredients such as Kombu seaweed, dried bonito flakes, Shiitake mushrooms, and dried small sardines.


DashiMaki Tamago

All the 3 Japanese soup bases, Mentsuyu, Dashi, and Tsuyu are not only used to make the broth of Japanese noodle dishes like Udon and Soba, but they can also form the base for various Japanese dishes.

(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. 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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