|Kwong Woh Hing|
My friend (who has just started a blog, actually - a very creative and beautiful looking blog - little macaroon) emailed me a few months ago with a link to this blog post from I Eat, I Shoot, I Post talking about "the best soy sauce in the world" which is fermented in Singapore. She offered to bring me home some to try. Reading the post made me realise that I had never in my life even thought about soy sauce. I didn't know how it was made and certainly didn't give any thought as to whether the stuff in Tesco was any good. The above blog post is a real eye opener - he takes you through the whole process of making soy sauce with great photos too.
She brought me a big bottle of light soy sauce and a small bottle of dark. So first of all, I need to find out - what is the difference? Well, the dark soy sauce was a revelation. It was so thick, I had to bang on the upended bottom of the bottle to get any out. It looked like treacle. I have never seen anything like that before. The dark soy we get here is very watery.
A google search tells me that dark soy is fermented or aged longer than the light and is little different other than the colour and usually less salty than the light. Not sure I am much wiser. I would be grateful if anyone can enlighten me more. My small bottle of thick dark soy seems very special and I would love to know what the best way to use it would be.
So, back to the light - in comparison with what I have in the house (at the moment I have a Tesco Tamari soy sauce but usually I have the Japanese Kikkoman). I was worried about tasting the lovely Kwong Woh Hing sauce as I wondered if I would taste something amazing but then never be able to get it again in this country and forever be disappointed by soy sauce here. I first tasted the light soy with some deep fried prawns in filo and my first reaction was disappointment. It lacked the saltiness that I am used to and I am a terrible salt fiend. I love just licking salt and I add far too much to everything.
One evening, I then served some smoked salmon with a dish of the Tamari and a dish of the light soy sauce to Steve for a blind testing. He chose the Tesco stuff as his favourite, again saying that the other wasn't as salty. We felt the new stuff was much less salty, sweeter and tangier. After a few tastes Steve said he felt the flavours in the new stuff were more complex and "you feel there is more happening on your tongue". I then went back to the "old" stuff and amazingly I realised that the saltiness really does just slam into you and really overpowers the salmon. It also now tasted much more synthetic. By the end, I much preferred the Kwong Woh Hing. It has a completely different flavour to the synthetic Tesco stuff and I now realise that, although, I love the saltiness of my usual soy, it really is a very uninteresting one dimensional taste.
What a fascinating journey into the world of soy sauce. I do prefer the more delicate Kwong Woh Hing but hopefully when it runs out I will still enjoy my salt hit from the Kikkoman. Or I might just get my pal to bring back a case of Kwong Woh Hing if she ever finally gets the ship to bring her belongings home! (umm, if you are reading Missy - you better come home soon - you and your family are missed!)