Shoyu paella, shoyu tacos & shoyu cendol: How Shoyu Bros made a magical splash in our meals
December 3, 2021
If you've recently seen someone at a restaurant with a black bottle of shoyu, splashing it over everything from gnocchi to burgers to ice cream, that might have been us!
Shoyu Bros is our new obsession - this Malaysian-made, Japanese-inspired soy sauce is one of a kind, crafted with Canadian non-GMO soybeans, infused with wild garlic, imbued with a fragrance and flavour that evoke the woodiest mushrooms, with a gently sweet base that tempers its MSG-free savouriness.
It's no surprise that one of Shoyu Bros' two founders is a creative Malaysian chef whose specialities span togarashi-spiced stingray fin, yuzu-laced oyster omelette and fugu karaage with ponzu. That sense of layering recipes with delicate, distinctive dimensions is the soulful heart of Shoyu Bros, offering a magical twist on a conventional condiment. Order at shoyubros.com
Shoyu Bros is barely over a year old now, launched in November 2020 by Bryan Tan, who helms the kitchen at Damansara Perdana's Rare The Food Co, and Ley Vin Khoo, a business development manager.
They poured months of fine-tuning into their product, premised on Japanese shoyu, naturally brewed.
Typically, Japanese shoyu is brewed with roasted wheat, making it a little lighter and sweeter than its denser, saltier Chinese counterpart, which more often uses wheat flour.
Naturally brewed soy sauce, fermented for many months, boasts more nuanced complexities and aromatics than one-note industrial sauces, which are quickly, chemically manufactured within days with hydrolised protein and corn syrup flavouring.
This is also first-draw soy sauce, extracted from the first brewing, delivering more depth, equivalent to extra-virgin in the world of olive oil.
Shoyu Bros adds a wildcard into the recipe - wild garlic - and ages the sauce for nine months under the sun. The result is artisanal alchemy; instead of tasting unmistakably garlicky, the sauce yields an elegant earthiness, sultry but soothing, potent but not pungent, its soft umami underlined by a sensuous smoothness, with a scent that's like a chef poured half a bottle of truffle oil into a bowl of shoyu ramen.
Shoyu Bros recommends that users enhance their food by drizzling it with the sauce after cooking or by dipping it.
That makes the shoyu not only convenient but very versatile - you can easily use it as a condiment for everyday cooking in your kitchen. Whether you're preparing Asian stews or Western roasts, this shoyu is a pantry staple that can be incorporated into so many meals.
Since we're not much of cooks, we've taken it out with us instead, to see how it can work wonders in a wide range of recipes. It's a perfect match for Japanese fare, if your kushiyaki needs a kick or your sushi calls out for the tastiest soy sauce possible.
If you're eating wholesome, Shoyu Bros can rescue your lunch from blandness with a simple dash, adding allure to salad bowls and sushi burritos.
Chicken rice and char koay teow are staples in our weekly diet, so we had to see how Shoyu Bros works with local hawker classics. At the risk of bringing dishonour to our Hainanese ancestors, this shoyu makes poached chicken rice brighter and livelier while blending beautifully with the wok hei of char koay teow.