Foodstuff: Azami™ Soy Sauce

Azami Soy 1

This brand of say sauce appeared on our local grocery store shelves recently and decided to check it out. Despite the Japanese name and the Chinese characters on the label, the name is trademarked to Loblaws, a Canadian grocery-store chain. However, when I tried to research the brand, Loblaws’ web-site had no entry for it and the only information I could find elsewhere was the same listing of the nutritional information found on the label. Naturally, I was a little intrigued…

Azami Soy 2

Here you can see the ingredient list which, somewhat tellingly, lists ‘soy sauce’ as an ingredient. The components for this include both soybeans and wheat, which is typical of Japanese products, but the sub-list fails to mention of Aspergillus or Koji, suggesting that the product may be made from hydrolyzed soy and wheat protein rather than the traditional brewing methods that use Koji mold in the process.

Azami Soy 3

The sauce is a very attractive reddish color with good clarity and it contains none of the sediment one sometimes sees in cheap soy sauces that contain artificial colorants. The aroma is vaguely soy sauce like but it was a bit too faint to make any concrete observations about the quality.

The taste, on the other hand, was very bold and rather surprising. The sauce is moderately salty, and fairly sweet, but the dominant flavor at the outset is something I have never experienced in a soy sauce before. It took me a couple of tastes to identify what it was but it suddenly hit me that the quality I was tasting was like a yeasty beer, even to the faintly aromatic note of alcohol.

Unfortunately, after the initial impact, the pleasant beer-like quality disappears and there is a rather sharp, cheap soy sauce aftertaste that is a bit flat and without any of the complexity or roundness of a good quality, traditionally brewed product. This fact would seem to confirm my initial suspicion that this is an ‘industrial’ type soy but, that being said, the initial taste sensation confuses me. It is possible, I suppose, that the process begins with a brewed soy that is then adulterated with additional ingredients that mask and alter the original character somewhat.

Anyway, if this is indeed a hydrolyzed vegetable protein product rather than a proper soy sauce, it is actually a pretty good representative of the class. This product will by no means replace good, traditionally brewed soy sauces like Pearl River Bridge or Kikkoman in my pantry, but it still might have its uses for some tasks and might be handy to have on hand for emergencies when the good stuff runs out…

3 thoughts on “Foodstuff: Azami™ Soy Sauce”

  1. I trust Kikkoman and Pearl River Bridge. I recently strayed and got some ‘Healthy Boy Brand’ soy sauce. Very salty and not very nice. I’ll stick with the two tried and tested brands for now. However, there is some of the other stuff, if I run out…

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