Shiro Dashi vs Mentsuyu : What is the Difference?

Several days ago, I talked about the difference between the 3 Japanese soup bases, Mentsuyu, Tsuyu and Dashi.

Other than these, actually there is one more soup base that has been becoming popular in Japan in recent years. That is “Shiro Dashi (白だし)”.

The Difference between Shiro Dashi and Mentsuyu Soup Bases

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

Then, what is the difference between Mentsuyu and Shiro Dashi?

Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)

Mentsuyu and Udon Noodles

“Mentsuyu (めんつゆ : literally the broth for noodles)” is the Japanese liquid soup base made combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” and “Dashi (出汁)”.

The former, Kaeshi is made simmering a mixture of dark soy sauce “Koikuchi Shoyu (濃口醤油)“, sugar, Mirin sweet cooking rice wine and so on, while the latter, Dashi is soup stock taken from Kombu seaweed, dried bonito flakes, Shiitake mushrooms and so forth.


Since Koikuchi Shoyu is contained in Mentsuyu, this Japanese soup base has a dark blackish color.


As the name suggests, Mentsuyu is generally used to make the broth of Japanese noodle dishes, such as Udon, buckwheat Soba, Somen and Hiyamugi.

In addition to being prepared for Japanese noodle soups, Mentsuyu is a versatile seasoning used in various ways, say, as a dipping sauce for Tempura “Tentsuyu (天つゆ)” or as a seasoning for Japanese boiled dishes.

Shiro Dashi (白だし)

Shiro Dashi Soup Base

On the other hand, as the word “Shiro (白)” means white in Japanese, Shiro Dashi is light in color as compared to Mentsuyu.

This is because “Shiro Shoyu (白醤油)“, or white soy sauce, is used as a primary ingredient in Shiro Dashi.

Other than Shiro Shoyu, the ingredients in Shiro Dashi typically include “Dashi (出汁)” soup stock taken from Kombu seaweed, dried bonito flakes, Shiitake mushrooms and so on, light-colored soy sauce, Mirin, and sun-dried salt.


Shiro Dashi is an all-purpose liquid seasoning with delicate flavor that is widely used by professional Japanese chefs and, unlike Mentsuyu, can make the most of the original color of food materials thanks to its light clear color.


Shiro Dashi is not only used as a seasoning in Japanese cuisine, but it can also add umami to a wide range of Western and Chinese dishes, like pasta, fried eggs, stir-fried vegetables, and Chinese fried rice, if you just put it instead of soy sauce.

(Reference pages of this article : 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.

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