Where Did Soy Sauce Come From?

Have you ever wondered where soy sauce first came from? This simple condiment may not draw much attention, but it has had a long journey from its ancient roots to our Bellevue Japanese restaurant.

As is so often the case, the exact origins of soy sauce are shrouded in the more elusive corners of history. However, it would appear that it was first brewed in China. These were the times before people could refrigerate their food, so there was a strong need for other ways to preserve food. The popular method in China was to use seasonings like salt. The Chinese called the combination of preserved food and preserving agents jiang; they had their meat jiang, their seafood jiang, their vegetable jiang, and even grain-based jiang. Since grains and soybeans were easily accessible, it was this variety of jiang that most flourished.

As soybeans were fermented more and more, people discovered a byproduct of this preservation that served as a delicious seasoning. This was the earliest form of soy sauce, which flourished throughout the country and remains an important part of the culinary tradition to this day.

Sushi History

From its ancient origins across the ocean to our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, the history of sushi is a fascinating one. Though it is difficult to know such things for certain, the common belief is that sushi started back in east Asia, where fishermen would pack their catches with rice in order to preserve the meat. This rice was combined with rice wine so that the fish would ferment.

Over time, it was discovered that the fermentation process could be hastened with the addition of vinegar. This was the original “sushi rice”. For a while, this rice was actually thrown out before the fish was eaten, and it wasn’t until the nineteenth century when food vendors first realized that they could serve sashimi with the sushi rice as an easy and delicious street meal. As this practice originated in Edo, this new food was dubbed Edo-style sushi.

After this point, sushi remained more or less the same until the 1970’s. This was when Japanese chefs were trying to introduce sushi to the United States. Their innovations launched the phenomenon of fusion sushi, or “American-style” sushi, which quickly caught fire across the globe. Join in on this continuing history of sushi yourself with Flo Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar!