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What Is Ban Soy Sauce And What Makes It Unique?

soy sauce in dish
soy sauce in dish - Bill Oxford/Getty Images

You've probably heard of soy sauce, and you may have even heard of the difference between dark soy sauce and light soy sauce, but have you ever heard of Ban soy sauce? Ban soy sauce is a specialty soy sauce that comes from Ban craft village in the Hung Yen province of Vietnam. This soy sauce has a meticulous recipe that has been passed down and perfected for generations. What makes Ban soy sauce stand out among other kinds is the deep flavor that is developed from the rigorous process of making it. Ban soy sauce is an important component of rural meals in Vietnam; the cultural practice behind crafting Ban soy sauce gives it a dominant place among other sauce options.

Ban soy sauce can be enjoyed with meats, tofu, vegetables, and noodles and is commonly used across a variety of meals. Compared to soy sauce you'd get at the grocery stores here in America, Ban soy sauce is less salty and milder in flavor -- mild referring to the fact it doesn't hold that same potent punch of regular soy sauce. Instead, Ban soy sauce develops its flavor from the roasting process used to make it.

Ban soy sauce is not easily found in America. You may get lucky and find it at specialty Asian food stores and Vietnamese-centered food stores, and a few obscure online shops, but your best bet to try the real deal would be to sample it in Vietnam.

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How Is Ban Soy Sauce Made?

fermenting soybeans
fermenting soybeans - Nikada/Getty Images

Ban soy sauce is made from large-grain sticky rice, and small-grain soybeans, regional well water is used in the process as well, bringing a specific set of minerals to the sauce. The rice is cooked and then dried in a basket till it begins to turn yellow. The soybeans are roasted until they are a deep brown color. The beans are then left to soak in a terracotta jar for a week, or longer. After the rice is yellowed it is mashed until it becomes a paste, the paste is mixed into the terracotta jars with the beans.

The ingredients are then fermented. For a proper fermentation, the ingredients are placed in sunlight and stirred regularly. Once the sauce is fermented and has a lightly sweet taste, it is ready to be served. Ban soy sauce is made during the harvest season for the soybeans. During the harvest season, you can walk around the village and see dozens of jars in front of people's houses. Ban soy sauce is such a unique and specialized product that there is even a tourist industry built around witnessing the process. While considered an everyday product in its specific region, worldwide Ban soy sauce is more elusive, making it a must-try on many foodies' lists.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.