What Is Vinegar Soy Sauce?

Kristeen Moore

Vinegar soy sauce is a combination cooking liquid that is popular in making Asian cuisine. Rice vinegar is traditionally the type used to make this condiment because it does not have as high of an acidity content compared with other vinegars. If the condiment is not available, some cooks can utilize white vinegar for the recipe instead. Homemade versions of the sauce are preferable and are relatively easy to make, but the condiment is also sold in bottles in specialty food stores.

Soy beans.
Soy beans.

Soy sauce is traditionally used directly in Chinese and Japanese cooking, as well as a food topper. Combining vinegar with soy sauce helps to thicken it, while giving it a more distinct flavor as well. Vinegar soy sauce makes a particularly popular dip for dumplings, but it can also be used for sushi and stir-frys.

Some people like vinegar soy sauce with their sushi.
Some people like vinegar soy sauce with their sushi.

Rice vinegar is used to make this type of condiment because it has the mildest taste of all vinegars. Derived from fermented rice grains, the vinegar has a low acidity level, which makes it a preferable complement to strong soy sauce. The strength of the taste also depends on the condiment that you choose, but the majority of vinegar soy sauce recipes utilize black rice versions. Black kinds can easily be substituted with either red or white rice vinegar, which both have milder flavors.

Vinegar soy sauce is often served with sushi.
Vinegar soy sauce is often served with sushi.

The availability of rice vinegar can vary by region, which leaves some cooks at a loss in terms of what to use for their soy sauce recipes. Generally, another type of vinegar can be substituted, so long as it has a lower acidity like rice versions. White vinegar is an optimal choice because it has a mild taste. Chefs might have to adjust the quantity of white vinegar used in their recipes, since it has a slightly more acidic level than rice versions. White vinegars also tend to pair best with vegetables, chicken, and fish.

White vinegar is a good option for vinegar soy sauce if rice vinegar is not available.
White vinegar is a good option for vinegar soy sauce if rice vinegar is not available.

In order to intensify the flavor of vinegar soy sauce, many cooks add a variety of different ingredients. It is also important to slightly thicken the sauce if it is being used as a dip. Common additions to the vinegar soy sauce include sugar, sesame oil, and pepper, and there is also the option of adding water to decrease its thickness. Some chefs add sesame seeds to the sauce in order to increase the dip’s aesthetic appeal. Although the sauce is easy to make, some home cooks prefer to buy prepared bottled versions at specialty food stores in order to save time.

Black rice vinegar, traditionally made with black glutinous rice, is often used to make vinegar soy sauce.
Black rice vinegar, traditionally made with black glutinous rice, is often used to make vinegar soy sauce.
Vinegar soy sauce is a popular dipping sauce for steamed pork and vegetable dumplings.
Vinegar soy sauce is a popular dipping sauce for steamed pork and vegetable dumplings.

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