shoya or soya sauce (Japan), chiang-yu (China)
Soy sauce is a condiment used extensively in the East in place of salt; it is used to flavor rice, oil, vinegar, and tea. It was developed by the Chinese a little over 2000 years ago and introduced to Japan in the 7th century. It is made by fermenting soy beans with roasted wheat or barley and salt, then filtering, pasteurizing, and bottling the liquid.
The consistency of soy sauce ranges from very thin to very thick. Light soy sauce is thinner, saltier, and it is used when a darker sauce will ruin the appearance of a dish or when a lighter flavor is preferred, for example, when preparing seafood. Dark soy sauce is thick (from added molasses) and slightly richer, a chocolate-brown color, and it has a pungent rather than overly-salty flavor.
Store in a cool, dry place.