In Singapore, whenever you order Hainanese Chicken Rice, they will give you three dipping sauces, including a thick black, slightly sweet soy sauce.

It's very different from normal soysauce. What products or recipes should I be looking for?

Update: I have purchased several brands and types of dark thick black soy sauce for use with Chicken Rice, as well as kecap Manis and will post an update shortly.

4 Answers 4


Soy sauce is not all the same. The dipping sauce with Hainanese chicken rice is dark soy sauce.

The soy sauce that is most well-known around the world is what we call "light soy sauce", or often just "soy sauce". This is liquid, about as viscous as water; a small amount of the sauce ranges from light to dark brown. It is predominantly salty.

"Dark soy sauce", on the other hand, is thicker, with a consistency like a very thin honey. It is also darker; even small quantities of the sauce are black. Its flavour is deeper than light soy sauce, and depending on the type and brand can have just a stronger umami flavour, or even taste slightly sweet.

External source if needed.

If you're hunting dark soy sauce, look for labels like "superior" or "aged" soy sauce. If the bottle is not opaque, you can verify by swirling the liquid around; dark soy sauce will coat the walls of the bottle, while light soy sauce will run down quickly.

And if you're specifically looking for a variant good with chicken rice, avoid those with added ingredients like mushrooms or scallops -- the flavour profile is wrong for the dish.

(Disclosure: I'm Singaporean, and proud of it.)

  • 2
    when you say "look out" do you mean it in a positive or negative way? "look out for that falling piano", "look out for sales coming soon"
    – Aequitas
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 4:28
  • In a positive way. Edited for clarity.
    – Remellion
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 5:35

I suspect what you had was 'superior soy sauce', which is a sweetened Chinese style soy sauce. It's sometimes sold as 'superior dark soy sauce', or just 'dark soy sauce'. It should have some form of sugar listed on the ingredients list.

If there were other flavorings in the sauce, then you should look for Kecap / Kejap Manis, which are other sweetened soy sauces that may have spices infused in them.

  • 3
    A good Asian store will have the stuff. I bought some by accident once. NOT soy sauce substitute, but a happy mistake nonetheless. Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:38
  • Isn't that the "soy sauce for cooking" ? Or at leas that's how I've been introduced to "superior dark soy sauce": kinda creamy and way more intense than regular soy sauce, so just a small dip in the whole wok is enough
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 9:37

That sounds like a version of Kecap and its something that is used a lot in SE Asia, I mainly know it as Indonesian.

I've never made it myself as it is quite ubiquitous in dutch cooking and every store has a few varieties, but you could ask your local Asian market.

I've found a decent-looking recipe here.

  • 2
    In many asian supermarkets Kecap Manis is labeled as sweet soy sauce. Pentai brand is a staple in my house. It's often thinned with rice wine vinegar or a bit of water to get the right consistency for a sauce.
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 13:08
  • Definitely Kecap Manis … see travel.stackexchange.com/questions/105571/… - my pic is of "Peking Duck" but I first had it with Chicken Rice. And I've bought some and the taste matches. Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 18:32
  • Definitely NOT Kecap Manis. It's regular dark soy sauce, as opposed to the "light" soy sauce that's more well known and often called simply "soy sauce". Source: I'm Singaporean.
    – Remellion
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 3:13

I've eaten my way around Singapore. Look for "Healthy boy brand" (the best English translation) thick soy sauce. It'll be slightly sweet, and feature a very plump little boy on the front.

That's extremely close in flavor to what you get there. Lee Kum Kee thick soy sauce is also commonly used and widely available around the world.

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