Do you use soy sauce a lot in your own cooking? It is usually a staple ingredient for people who regularly make Korean, Chinese or Japanese food.
My own family practically never used soy sauce since we rarely prepare oriental food. However, if you are gluten-free and enjoy traditional oriental dishes, you probably plan to keep a jar of soy sauce in your pantry.
Most soy-based foods are naturally gluten-free, but is this sauce gluten-free?
Much to everyone’s surprise (including my own), soy sauce is not gluten-free! In fact, most brands have wheat listed as the first ingredient on the labels. This will naturally cause problems for gluten-free eaters who regularly have oriental food. What is the solution to this dilemma? The answer is: tamari.
Tamari is a type of soy sauce that is traditionally made without gluten or wheat. It looks and tastes nearly identical to regular soy sauce. And, although it is not the easiest kind to locate in the store, there is a quickly growing amount of tamari-style soy sauce brands on the market now. It might cost a little more than the popular wheat-based soy sauce, but it is well worth the price since it keeps you from suffering gluten-related allergies.
Here is a list of the different brands of tamari that are available and how you can purchase them:
- San-J Soy Sauce– This brand makes a large variety of gluten-free soy sauce items such as, regular, organic and reduced sodium gluten-free tamari-style soy sauce. All of San-J’s products are certified gluten-free. It can be purchased either in individual bottles or in one-serving travel packs. You can find it on well-known internet sources like, amazon and about.com. You may even find it at Whole Foods Market or your local natural food store.
- Kikkoman Soy Sauce– Kikkoman makes a great tamari-style soy sauce that is labeled gluten-free. This soy sauce only contains water, soybeans, rice and salt. You can find Kikkoman soy sauce in most large grocery stores or order it online either by the bottle or by the case. When you are looking forward it at the store, just remember to look for the bottle with the bright blue label. It’s easy to accidentally pick up a bottle of Kikkoman tamari-style soy sauce that is not gluten-free.
- Eden Organic Soy Sauce– This brand offers two different kinds of tamari-style gluten-free soy sauces. One is made in the U.S.and one is imported from Japan. Both kinds are made with water, soybeans, grain alcohol, rice and koji. The grain alcohol in the tamari manufactured in the U.S. is derived from corn while the grain alcohol in the imported tamari is derived from rice. These can both be ordered on the internet, but may be very difficult to find in the stores.
- Wan Ja Shan Soy Sauce– Wan Ja Shan is a brand that is based out of Taiwan. It offers both regular and lower sodium tamari-style gluten-free soy sauces, made with just water, soybeans, salt and (in the lower sodium variety) vinegar. This company makes their soy sauce in the traditional way, in which the age the product for over a year before bottling it. This can also be found online but, not necessarily in the grocery stores. Keep in mind that this brand is labeled “wheat-free and not necessarily gluten-free.” Therefore, exercise caution when buying Wan Ja Shan since there is a definite risk of gluten cross-contamination.
With all of these tamari-style gluten-free soy sauces, it is now possible to enjoy oriental food that is completely safe for gluten-sensitive people. So many companies are making it easier for people to embrace the gluten-free diet! Continue on the road to better health!