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Food For Thought Getting Sauced
(Entered May 26, 2008)
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Let me ask you a question. When you last bought a bottle of soy sauce, how much did you pay? If you paid anything at all I've got news for you, you just got screwed. Soy sauce is free! Yep, you read that correctly. Kikkoman, the world's biggest soy sauce manufacturer is now giving away free bottles of its most famous product. The catch? Well you have to come take a tour in their factory first. Alright well, let's take a look at our grocery list to see if we need any, hmmm... milk, eggs, butter... soy sauce! Ok, let's go!
Kikkoman's main factory in Japan happens to be in Noda city, Chiba, which is about an hour away by train from where I live. Of course you have to pay through the nose to get there, which makes the free soy sauce deal a total scam. Man they suckered me in good! However if you happen to live in Noda city, you've got soy sauce for life.
Before you think of moving there though, be aware that the air is permeated with the stink of soy sauce, which may make a day out at the park less than pleasant. However if you're one of those people who like the idea of fermenting soy being a part of your daily life, then Noda city is for you!
Here we are having just got off the train. In the distance, Kikkoman's massive soy sauce vats rise majestically above the skyline, dominating the view in all directions.

Kikkoman factory

The people at Kikkoman really want your day at the soy sauce factory to be a joyful, wonderful event. In the front entrance a pair of statues do the 'soy sauce dance' behind a little fountain. Best rope that fountain off though, too dangerous for the general public...

soy sauce dance

This is it! We're really here!

Welcome to Kikkoman

After watching a really, really bad video about soysauce we headed off on the factory tour. Do you sometimes feel like your soy sauce education is lacking? Like there is more you should know? You might think you know everything you need to know about soy sauce: It's dark brown. It's salty. It smells funny. It most likely comes from somewhere in Asia, probably China. For most people, that knowledge would be enough, but believe me when I tell you, it's not enough!

soy sauce making

Soy sauce is made from three things: soybeans (bet you never made that connection before), salt (really?? salt?), and the surprise ingredient: wheat. After you grind those up into a brown sludge, and throw in some special Kikkoman bacteria, let the whole mess sit around for 6 months or so, then squeeze it in a big compressor and out flows the sauce!

brown sludge

Actually the tour is like, less than 10 minutes, and then comes the good part! Free soy sauce!
Here's Kumi with her free bottle. Enough soy sauce to last us at least a month!

I love Kikkoman

Alright fine. These are the real free bottles here. But still, are you going to complain? It's one bottle per person so if you've got 4 kids, bring 'em on out and reap the benefits!

free bottles of soy sauce

I doubt soy sauce ice cream would fly off the supermarket shelves, but braver people can try some here. The taste was very light though, just a hint of saltiness only. However nothing's stopping you from pouring on a little extra soy sauce if you want!
We also sampled a variety of soy sauce types with free tofu. What, no stir-fry?

soy sauce ice cream

And of course you can't talk about Kikkoman and soysauce without that classic Kikkoman animation video.

Thanks Kikkoman! However just mail us our free samples next time ok? Next month is fine.



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