The Story of Soy Sauce

Have you ever considered the history of soy sauce? For the most part, this simple sauce may be little more to you than a condiment you might find in your food at our Seattle Korean restaurant. However, there is an ancient history surrounding this cultural phenomenon that goes far, far back into the more elusive reaches of human civilization.

We can’t know for sure when soy sauce was first invented, though it apparently originated in ancient China. Before people could refrigerate their food, they needed to come up with creative ways to preserve perishables. To the ancient Chinese people, preserved food and the salt or other seasonings that were used in their preservation were called jiang. Jiang was made from meat, seafood, vegetables, and even grains. The grain-based jiang was the most easily accessible, so the fermentation of soybeans and wheat developed quickly. Over time, this became the soy sauce we’re familiar with today.