The miso fish & pumpkin recipe I recently wrote about is actually quite close to a fairly common Chinese fish dish, as you can see here and here. Instead of miso, Chinese fermented soy bean paste (豆酱 or tau cheo in Hokkien dialect) is used instead. A typical jar looks like this.
Concerned about additives and my food intolerances, I have avoided commercial supermarket-shelf Asian sauces for some years now. However, miso is a great substitute for tau cheo, which my family has successfully used even in traditional recipes like Mee Siam, and organic miso is also widely available, in many varieties. I’ve seen a huge range of miso at reasonable prices at Organic Paradise (including macrobiotic grade Mitoku and repackaged Muso brands), plenty of unusual varieties by South River brand at rather exorbitant prices at Brown Rice Paradise. Do choose miso made entirely from soya beans if you want a taste as close as possible to tau cheo.
One thing I’ve noticed is that organic products from Japan can also be found in regular supermarkets, hiding amongst the non-organic products. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve found.
organic miso (in Isetan supermarket)
organic udon (in Meidi-ya)
Kikkoman organic soya sauce (in NTUC Fairprice Finest, Bt Timah Plaza) [N.B.: I am unable to discern the production process of this product, but in my experience of trying different brands of organic shoyu, the twenty-four month fermented Johsen Shoyu from Mitoku really stands out with a rich, deep flavour I have never encountered with any other soya sauce.]
Korean corn tea at Korean grocery store in Novena Square2.
Look out for the kanji or hangul words meaning organic:
as well as organic certification