What “Sauce” usually Refers To in Japan

In the previous post, I wrote that Shoyu (醤油: soy sauce) is not called “Sauce (ソース)” in Japan.

Then, when Japanese people say, ソース取ってもらえますか? (Could you pass me the sauce?), what does the sauce usually refer to?

Japanese Sauce

Sauce or Shoyu

The answer might differ by the situation.

But in the family, the sauce usually refers to a Japanese Worcestershire sauce, such as Tonkatsu sauce, Chuno sauce, or Worcester sauce.

Most Japanese households have one of those brown sauces with a bottle of Shoyu.

And if someone says, ソース取ってくれない (Can you pass me the sauce?), the speaker means that the one wants the brown sauce.

By the way, if the speaker needs Shoyu (soy sauce), the one will most likely say 醤油取ってくれない (Can you pass me the Shoyu)?

As mentioned in this article, Tonkatsu sauce, Chuno sauce, and (Japanese) Worcester sauce are similar things used interchangeably.


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.

2 Responses

  1. Besimple says:

    These posts about tare, Worcestershire and sauce really clarify the subtle differences they have. I have found that Okonomiyaki sauce and yaki soba sauce (Japanese brands I can get here in the states), are very similar, but are not the same. Do you purchase a variety of sauces, or is there a favorite that you use for many things?

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting!
      I like using Bull-Dog sauce for many things, such as Tonkatsu, thin-sliced cabbage, croquette, Menchi Katsu (minced meat cutlet), and Furai, while for Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Yakisoba, I prefer Otafuku sauce!
      Not only me, but I think many Japanese also think so!

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Your email address will not be published.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.