Mentsuyu vs Tsuyu vs Dashi: What is the Difference?

When it comes to the broth of Japanese noodle soups, “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)” is not only well-recognized overseas, but the Japanese soup base is actually used by many people in many countries.

The Difference: Dashi vs Tsuyu vs Mentsuyu

Dashi Soup Stock

In addition to the Mentsuyu broth, Kikkoman’s “Hon Tsuyu (本つゆ)” is also popular in some countries, so I did some research online about the difference between them a while ago and posted this article.

Further, many of us Japanese can’t clearly tell the difference between “Dashi (出汁, だし)”, “Tsuyu (つゆ)”, and “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)”, so today I also searched online how they are different from one another, and this time I will share the result.

Dashi (出汁, だし)

Kombu Dashi

In Japanese cuisine, it is said that there are 2 different types of dashi stock, “Dashi (出汁)” and “Dashi (だし)”. The former “Dashi (出汁)” is the regular dashi soup stock made from ingredients such as kombu seaweed, katsuobushi dried bonito flakes, and shiitake mushrooms.

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 or Usukuchi Shoyu. In the Kansai region around Kyoto, “Dashi (出汁)” is made mainly from kombu, together with katsuobushi and niboshi dried sardines.

Kansai’s dashi broth has a light, salty taste and color but is rich in umami, which can accentuate 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 or Koikuchi Shoyu. Kanto-style “Dashi (出汁)” is made mainly from Katsuobushi and is characterized by the good fragrance from the bonito flakes.

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 by combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” and “Dashi (出汁)”. Kaeshi is made by simmering Koikuchi Shoyu, sugar, and mirin, while to make Mentsuyu’s “Dashi (出汁)”, ingredients such as kombu, katsuobushi, shiitake, and niboshi are prepared.


DashiMaki Tamago

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

(Reference Pages: 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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