I lugged around a 32 oz bottle of Soy Sauce for over a month, with the goal of testing how a small batch Soy Sauce, from Kentucky would stack up against various food stuffs from New York. It was unscientific, it was totally random, it was like "Where's Elmo?" There's the bottle of Soy Sauce bottle in Brooklyn... there's the Soy again in Queens. I also took it back to Kentucky, and also to Georgia. At any given time, in my handbag, were sunglasses, cell phone, my notebook, various other things, and a 32 oz bottle of Soy Sauce. (Oh, Baggu, did you ever dream your handbag would become so useful?)
PICS FROM THE TOP: My bag (Baggu) with the Soy; the soy at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival in Georgia, where Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche made it into an inventive soy sauce 'powder' and used it on raw Tuna Taquitos, which were incredible; the Soy bottle in the Food and Wine magazine offices in New York, where I tasted it with noodles and chicken; at a random Ramen place in Park Slope; at a Szechuan Chinese restaurant in Bensonhurst; testing with my friend Julia a self confessed 'foodie'; tasting it with fried chicken and waffles on set of a cookbook in Kentucky.
FIRSTLY, WHY I CARE: This Soy Sauce is made from the only small batch Soy Sauce brewery in the United States. It's made from whole non-GMO Kentucky grown soybeans and pure limestone filtered Kentucky spring water. It's brewed and aged in repurposed Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for a full 12 months. The result is a soy that has more depth, with a hint of oak that makes it richer in flavor than anything you can buy here. Matt Jamie (the founder and president) worked as a chef for a few years then decided to get into this because no one in the States was doing soy like this.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS SOY? You use it like you would regular Soy Sauce. On Ramen, Sushi, Edamame, Noodles, sprinkled over steamed Vegetables. I put it into ground meat before moulding hamburgers, I pour it over a quick sushi lunch, or throw it into risotto, it's also a great dipping sauce for dumplings. You can use it basically where ever you use salt. The founder and creator, Matt Jamie likes to have it alone, or over Noodles with a Fried Egg and Hot Sauce.
AND HERE ARE THE RESULTS: After a month of testing, you need to kick your Kikkoman, or generic brand Soy Sauce to the curb! Here are some comments based on random restaurants I hit across New York, and random people:
"The smokiness of the Kentucky Soy is more pronounced and stronger"
"The generic brand tastes awful in comparison. I swear I can taste the limestone in the Kentucky one. It has a deep mineral aftertaste"
"The Kentucky one tastes way less chemical than Kikkoman's and more natural than regular soy"
"Kikkoman tastes acidic"
"Actually, I couldn't tell the difference"
"Kikkoman's; Can you hear the crunch when you put the lid back on, that's salt, there's too much salt"
"There is a wood/oak flavor on the Kikkoman, but it's more Malt-zy on the Kentucky one"
For more info on the Bluegrass Soy Sauce from Kentucky, (the 32 oz bottle lasts forever!) as well as where to purchase it. click here.
GET TO KNOW MATT JAMIE: Matt is the founder and creator of Bluegrass Soy Sauce. He was born in Chicago, but raised in Kentucky. His favorite childhood food was eggs, bacon and toast. (His mother taught him how to dip his toast in the egg) His clients include 610 magnolia, Volt (Bryan Voltaggio), Husk (Sean Brock), Seersucker, Four Seasons in MD, Blackberry Farm, Whole foods, Williams-Sonoma, and Dean and Deluca. When Matt is not perfecting his Soy he is doing triathlons. (Including the Ironman in 1999.)
(Pics: Dimity Jones)