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.