Soy sauce (also called soya or shoyu sauce) is a condiment made from a fermented paste of boiled soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. After fermentation, the paste is pressed, producing a liquid, which is the soy sauce, and a solid byproduct, which is often used as animal feed.
Soy sauce is a traditional ingredient in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is used in cooking and as a condiment. It originated in China in the 2nd century BCE and spread throughout Asia. Today, it is used in Western cuisine and prepared foods.
Soy sauce has a distinct yet basic taste of umami, due to naturally occurring free glutamates.
Most varieties of soy sauce are salty, earthy, brownish liquids intended to season food while cooking or at the table. Many kinds of soy sauce are made in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma and other countries. Variation is usually achieved as the result of differences in the method and length of fermentation, different ratios of water, salt, and fermented soy, or through the addition of other ingredients.