Canton Pixie had asked in the comments here how on earth one makes soya sauce at home. Well, according to this e-Gullet forum thread, many people did so in the past and it can certainly still be done!
These days people are motivated by the dubious quality of foods from China, which is also what got me started on making salted eggs at home. Check out the e-Gullet thread for a full explanation with photos on making soya sauce.
One of the links from the thread is to a write-up by local star food blogger, Chubby Hubby, who raves about a traditional soya sauce business in Penang, Kilang Kicap Kwong Heng Loong. The family-run enterprise makes
soy sauce by hand, with no extra ingredients, unwanted additives or preservatives. They make their sauce the same way that it had been made for generations before them but which, sadly, is becoming more and more rare today.
The astounding experience Chubby Hubby had when tasting the Kwong Heng Loong soya sauce sounds exactly like my first brush with Mitoku brand macrobiotic grade shoyu. The deep, rich taste with winey, fermented overtones was absolutely unlike any soya sauce I had ever had before. It’s excellent for marinating and cooking flavourful dishes, and just a dash is enough. With my food intolerances, just a dash is all I can have anyway :).
While it’s not all that difficult to make soya sauce at home, it’s probably very very hard to achieve a quality to match that of experienced brewers. I might one day try DIY soya sauce for fun, I think I’m too addicted to Mitoku shoyu to give it up. Or maybe I should try to get my hands on Kwong Heng Loong (which I bet is a whole lot cheaper). Does anyone know if they are still in operation? It might not be for much longer…