We Finally Know The Reason Soy Sauce Bottles Have 2 Spouts

Even some die-hard sushi lovers who've been enjoying their favorite go-to rolls for years are mystified when it comes to the design of Kikkoman soy sauce bottles. That unmistakable red cap and classic savory taste are what make Kikkoman one of the most popular soy sauce brands out there (with a rich company history originating in 17th-century Japan). If you've ever taken a gander at one of these bottles while in a restaurant and wondered why there are two spouts instead of one, there's a very practical reason for this that you'll wish you knew sooner.

Unless you're an ultra-careful expert at coordination — or you already knew how to properly pour it — you've likely used a Kikkoman bottle a bit too hastily before. This often results in a rushing cascade of soy sauce that lands everywhere but where you hoped it would. That's where the second nozzle comes in handy. When pouring your sauce, if you place a finger over the spout closest to you, the flow is halted and you can control it much more effectively. By alternatingly pressing and releasing that second opening, you can avoid spilling, over-seasoning your food, and wasting soy sauce all in one fell swoop.

This innovative design hasn't been changed for over 60 years, has received praise, and has even been added to museum collections in Germany and in New York's Museum of Modern Art. However, in a post-COVID world, this hands-on technique is receiving a substantial amount of internet side-eye.

Social media suggests not using soy sauce bottles this way

The idea for Kikkoman's enduring two-spout bottle came circa 1961 from designer Kenji Ekuan, whose motto was "design is a source of life enhancement." No drips and perfectly portioned amounts of this umami condiment were both parts of Ekuan's vision, and it took his team three years and 100 prototypes to get it right. Dubbed the "control hole" by the guys at Bosh.tv, here's how the teardrop-shaped bottle is supposed to be used.

For so much work to have gone into this design concept, you'd think more people would appreciate the idea of using thumb pressure to keep soy sauce levels in check. Unfortunately, not everyone is catching on to the inventor's genius quite like Kikkoman did all those years ago. One TikTok video labeled it a "hack," but several of its commenters asked the video's creator to stop sharing this germ-spreading technique online. The TikToker politely responded to one inquiring comment with, "You can do it with your own bottle or when you are eating out! Just make sure to clean it before using."

To be honest, cleaning the nozzle that comes in contact with your finger before and after using the bottle is not an extra step most people will remember to do. Even though they don't realize that this is actually what Kikkoman's signature bottles are designed for, many are suggesting you only touch the second spout when using it from the comfort of your home.