I heard on a TV show dark is just for colour and light is just for flavour?

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    Do you mean the beans themselves, or soy sauce, miso, or another soy product? – lemontwist Aug 3 '12 at 20:04
  • oh good point. i clarified the question - its the sauce i'm interested in. – leonigmig Aug 3 '12 at 20:06
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    Is this question related to Japanese or Chinese soy sauces? – Didgeridrew Aug 3 '12 at 20:44

Light soy sauce: "is a thin (low viscosity), opaque, lighter brown soy sauce, brewed by first culturing steamed wheat and soybeans with Aspergillus, and then letting the mixture ferment in brine. It is the main soy sauce used for seasoning, since it is saltier, has less noticeable color, and also adds a distinct flavour."

Dark soy sauce: "a darker and slightly thicker soy sauce made from light soy sauce. This soy sauce is produced through prolonged aging and added caramel, and may contain added molasses to give it its distinctive appearance. This variety is mainly used during cooking, since its flavour develops during heating. It has a richer, slightly sweeter, and less salty flavour than light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is partly used to add color and flavour to a dish after cooking, but, as stated above, is more often used during the cooking process, rather than after."

It's probably similar to the difference between run-of-the-mill balsamic and aged balsamic. In that case, the "light" or regular balsamic is an everyday condiment while the aged stuff is thicker and has much more concentrated flavor.

Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_sauce)

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    after hearing the comment on the tv show, i tried them both neat (!) and i agree with wikipedia, the dark is a much richer and nuttier. i think i would keep the dark around for more than just colour. – leonigmig Aug 3 '12 at 20:21
  • I wonder if they do a similar thing with tamari, I'd love to try a thick flavorful version of one of my favorite condiments. – lemontwist Aug 3 '12 at 20:27
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    @lemontwist Tamari is the Japanese equivalent of dark soy sauce. Koikuchi is the Japanese light soy sauce. The Japanese do however produce a super-dark soy sauce, made by fermenting soy beans not in brine, but in more soy sauce. It's called Saishikomi. – ElendilTheTall Aug 4 '12 at 7:27
  • @ElendilTheTall, I will have to keep my eyes peeled for that. Very cool! – lemontwist Aug 4 '12 at 12:07
  • I ditched my light soy sauce a couple of years ago. I like the dark soy sauce much better, and for anything that really needs light soy sauce, I use Bragg's soy seasoning because it has less salt and more "kick" than light soy sauce. I am very interested, however, in the Saishikomi. That sounds as if it is right up my alley. – Shalryn Apr 11 '16 at 19:44

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