Dashi vs. Tsuyu vs. Mentsuyu: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to the broth of Japanese noodles, Mentsuyu (めんつゆ: literally, noodle broth) is relatively well-recognized overseas, and the soup base is a staple in Japanese cooking.
Dashi vs. Tsuyu vs. Mentsuyu
In addition to the Mentsuyu broth, Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu is popular on some online marketplaces like Amazon. And in this post, I talked about how the two sauces differ.
But further, many people can’t tell the difference between Dashi (出汁/だし), Tsuyu (つゆ), and Mentsuyu (めんつゆ), which is why I researched that this time.
First and foremost, based on this article on Olive Hitomawashi, in Japanese cuisine, there are two types of Dashi; 出汁 and だし.
The former Dashi (出汁) is a soup stock extracted by boiling ingredients in water, such as Kombu seaweed and Katsuobushi dried bonito flakes.
On the other hand, Dashi (だし) is the Kansai-style liquid soup base made by lightly seasoning Dashi (出汁) with Usukuchi Shoyu (light-colored soy sauce) or salt.
In the Kansai region around Kyoto, Dashi (出汁) mainly uses Kombu, accompanied by Katsuobushi and Niboshi dried sardines.
Kansai’s だし broth is light-tasting with a light color but is rich in umami. Because of that, it can accentuate the original taste of the food used in it.
In contrast to Dashi (だし), Tsuyu (つゆ) is the Kanto-style liquid soup base made by combining Dashi (出汁) with dark soy sauce or Koikuchi Shoyu.
Kanto-style Dashi (出汁) mainly uses Katsuobushi, characterized by the fishy aroma of the bonito shavings. And つゆ prepares Koikuchi Shoyu to add a flavor as strong as the Dashi stock.
Lastly, Mentsuyu (めんつゆ) is a Tsuyu broth primarily meant for Japanese noodle dishes (such as Udon, Somen, or Soba), as Men (めん) in its name stands for noodles.
As for usage, both Dashi and Tsuyu (including Mentsuyu) are versatile and multipurpose, used to make the broth of Japanese noodles. Also, these sauces can form the base of various other dishes.