Shiro Dashi vs Mentsuyu: Japanese Broth

The other day, I talked about the difference between the 3 Japanese soup bases, Mentsuyu, Tsuyu, and Dashi. 

Other than these, there is one more broth that has gained popularity in recent years in Japan, and that is “Shiro Dashi (白だし)”.

Shiro Dashi vs. Mentsuyu

Like Mentsuyu, Shiro Dashi is a liquid soup base usually sold in a glass bottle and used by diluting with water and other seasonings. 

But how is Shiro Dashi different from Mentsuyu? For the unfamiliar, this article will explain the difference.

Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)

Mentsuyu and Udon Noodles

First, “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)”, literally meaning “noodle broth”, is a liquid seasoning made by combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” with “Dashi (出汁)”. 

The former Kaeshi is made by simmering Koikuchi Shoyu (dark soy sauce), sugar, and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) together.

On the other hand, Dashi is Japanese soup stock extracted from ingredients such as Kombu (seaweed), Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), and dried Shiitake mushrooms.

Since Mentsuyu uses Koikuchi Shoyu, this liquid has a dark blackish color, and as its name suggests, Mentsuyu is generally used to make the broth of Japanese noodles, such as udon, soba, somen, or hiyamugi. 

But it is actually a versatile seasoning used in various ways, for example, as a dipping sauce for Tempura “Tentsuyu (天つゆ)” or as a seasoning for Nimono (simmered dishes).

Shiro Dashi (白だし)

Shiro Dashi

Meanwhile, as the word “Shiro (白)” means “white” in Japanese, Shiro Dashi has a lighter color than Mentsuyu. 

One of the primary reasons is that “Shiro Shoyu (白醤油)” or white soy sauce is the main ingredient.

Shiro Dashi is typically made up of Shiro Shoyu, Dashi stock made from Kombu, Katsuobushi or Shiitake, light-colored soy sauce, mirin, and sun-dried salt.

It is a multipurpose broth with a refined flavor favored by professional Japanese chefs.

Unlike Mentsuyu, this broth can make the most of the original color of food materials used in it thanks to its light clear hue.

How to Use

Shiro Dashi is not only used as a seasoning for Japanese cuisine, but it can also add umami taste to a wide range of Western and Chinese dishes, 

Such as pasta, fried eggs, stir-fried vegetables, or Chinese fried rice if you just put it in place of soy sauce.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia めんつゆ, 白だし, Ajitokokoro )


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: