The Joy of Dark Soy
Greetings, Friends of The Mala Market!
Many of you know the wonders of Chinese dark soy sauce–its unparalleled coloring and flavoring properties–and have asked us to carry it, so we are excited to finally present the tastiest dark soy sauce in the land.
Truth be told, due to COVID we weren't even able to sample this soy sauce before we imported a large quantity of it, but because it is a Zhongba product we decided to take the risk. And when it arrived, we were not disappointed!
If you've had Zhongba's naturally brewed light soy sauce–either the 360 version for everyday use or the super special handcrafted version–then you already love it and know that it redefines Chinese soy sauce. The historic Sichuan company's dark soy sauce similarly lives up to the Zhongba name.
Unlike supermarket brands of dark soy sauce, which taste mainly of sugary molasses and little of soy, Zhongba Dark Soy Sauce tastes like umami-rich soy sauce that's been sweetened. And it still delivers that mahogany-red tint that makes food so appetizing, whether it's a marinated pork shoulder steak headed for the grill, as seen above, or a pork belly headed for the wok. If it can make pre-cooked meat look that enticing, just imagine how appealing the cooked versions are.
While China most often uses dark soy sauce in "red-braised" dishes (see below), we also use it to marinate almost every protein we grill or roast.
Here's our go-to quickie marinade:
- A big slug of Zhongba Dark Soy Sauce
- An equal slug of Zhongba 360 Light Soy Sauce
- A teaspoon or so of Asian sesame oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- (Add a touch of black vinegar or fresh orange juice only if you're feeling ambitious.)
Pour ingredients directly into a gallon-size freezer bag, combine well and add 1 pound of pork, beef or chicken. The result will dazzle both the eye and the mouth.
What will you do with Zhongba Dark Soy Sauce? Let us know!
🌶Taylor & Fongchong 🌶
P.S. The Washington Post recently published a Guide to Soy Sauce, recommending Zhongba in the section titled "You get what you pay for."
"The same pervasive thinking that prompts people to expect and demand that their Chinese takeout be cheap carries over to soy sauce, where it can be hard to overcome the expectation that you can get a huge bottle for a few bucks...
"As with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt, there are special items you invest in when you really want soy sauce to shine, especially in small amounts. [Grace] Young raves about Zhongba, made by the same family in China since 1828..."