The Worst Brand Of Soy Sauce According To 29% Of People

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Unless you grew up eating home-cooked Asian meals, it's possible that your first experience of soy sauce was in those little plastic packets that come with every Japanese or Chinese takeout order. You may have given little thought to the brand, perhaps believing that all soy sauce is just soy sauce.

Other diners, however, may know their shoyu from their tamari and their ponzu — and have plenty of opinions about how Brand X stacks up against Brand Y. Unsurprisingly, if you ask a chef what brand of soy sauce they prefer, they're likely to come out with something that's not only hard to source but is also pretty darn pricey — that's just chefs being chefs. If you ask a fashion designer what brand of undies to buy, after all, they're not likely to recommend Fruit of the Loom or Hanes. In order to get a feel for how some of the more standard soy sauces stack up, Mashed turned to its standard person-on-the-street — or rather, person-on-the-internet — poll, gathering the opinions of 605 people who couldn't all have been chefs. (Could they? We didn't think to ask.)

Supermarket standard La Choy got a big thumbs-down

Mashed gave poll respondents a choice of six different soy sauces, these being Kikkoman, Kimlan, La Choy, Lee Kum Kee, Pearl River Bridge, and San J. The biggest loser, although not by a very large margin, was La Choy. Over 29% said the brand found in supermarkets nationwide was the worst soy sauce out there. While our poll did not have the scope for them to explain their reasoning, some Amazon reviewers have noted that, as soy sauces go, La Choy tends to be on the overly salty side.

Coming in a close second in this unpopularity contest was San J, earning 27% of the votes despite being organic and gluten-free. (Some Amazon reviewers found it too salty, as well.) Pearl River Bridge was third, disliked by 18%, while Lee Kum Kee was singled out as a sub-par soy sauce by just shy of 11%. Down at the bottom was Kikkoman, a sauce that fewer than 9% of pollees didn't care for, and Kimlan, which didn't even hit a 6% disapproval rate. So, there you have it, the voice of the people has spoken, and it says: If you want a good soy sauce, avoid the "L" brands and instead pick one whose name begins with the letter "K."