What sauces do Japanese restaurants use?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What sauces do Japanese restaurants use?”

What sauces do Japanese restaurants use?

Have you ever wondered why Japanese meals taste so nice and are so distinct? While miso and soy sauce are the most common flavours in Japan, there are many others. Let’s look at some of the sauces that you might find in or with your favourite Japanese dishes:

  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Ponzu Sauce
  • Nitsume ( Eel Sauce )
  • Tonkatsu Sauce
  • Tsuyu Dipping Sauce
  • Tare Sauce 
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Miso Sauce
  • Yakiniku Sauce
  • Unagi Sauce

Soy Sauce

The cornerstone of Japanese food is soy sauce (also known as Shoyu). It’s made from soybeans, wheat, and salt, and it’s fermented for several months before being used to season a dish. 

Despite its saltiness, soy sauce’s primary function is to impart a hint of savoury flavour, or umami, to a dish. Soy sauce and salt are frequently used together in recipes, whereas salt is utilised to bring out the taste of the foods. 

Worcester Sauce

Anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic, and other ingredients are fermented in a vinegar base to make Worcestershire sauce. The taste is savoury and sweet, with a slight tang from the vinegar. 

Sauces for katsu pork cutlets, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and takoyaki come in a variety of flavours and thicknesses. It’s a must-have condiment for foods, with an acidic, savoury, and sweet flavour that’s hard to beat. 

Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu is a term that refers to a variety of citrus liquids. Ponzu shoyu, or ponzu sauce, is a sour sauce prepared by combining citrus juice with soy sauce and other seasonings. 

The citrus-based sauce is typically served with grilled meat or fish, but it’s also a popular dip for sushi and hot pot dishes like shabu. This traditional Japanese citrus sauce can be made without soy sauce, however, it is most often served with soy. 

Nitsume ( Eel Sauce )

Nitsume is a traditional Japanese sauce for eel, octopus, and shrimp. It’s created with eel broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar that’s been reduced by a third by slow simmering. Eel sauce has been described as sweet, tangy, and salty all at the same time by various people. 

It has a delicious natural umami flavour that you’ll like. Eel sauce-drizzled dishes are popular for a reason: it develops and enhances flavours. Nitsume sauce goes well with everything from crispy eel dishes to a variety of sushi rolls, and it’s a great addition to almost any Japanese meal. 

Tonkatsu Sauce

Tonkatsu sauce is a thick, fruity brown sauce used in Japan as a topping for katsu meals such as tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), chicken katsu, and korokke (potato croquette); as a dipping sauce for kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered items); and as an ingredient in yakisoba (noodle soup) (fried noodles). 

Tonkatsu sauce is also called “usuta sauce” when it has a thin, liquid texture or “chuno sauce” when it has a medium-thick texture. It is based on Western Worcestershire sauce. It has a sour, tangy flavour since it is produced with a mixture of vegetables, fruit, and spices in a vinegar base. 

Tsuyu Dipping Sauce

Tsuyu sauce is a traditional Japanese condiment or soup base used in both hot and cold dishes. Tsuyu, which is made with soy sauce, rice wine, sake, dried kelp, and bonito flakes, can be used as a dip or diluted to make a soup. 

This Japanese condiment can be used as a dipping sauce or as a soup foundation for Japanese noodle soup. It’s usually served with soba and udon noodle meals, as well as tempura dishes. 

Tsuyu is frequently used in miso ramen noodle soup. Because of the soy sauce and bonito flakes, tsuyu has a savoury, almost meaty, umami flavour. 

Tare Sauce

Tare sauce is a soy sauce-based condiment that is widely used with grilled dishes. It can be used as a marinade for yakiniku barbeque or as a dipping sauce for anago (roasted conger eel), yakitori, and other kushiyaki dishes after grilling (grilled skewers). 

Japanese tare sauces exemplify the country’s cuisine’s mastery of the sweet-savoury-umami balancing act. Tare is a glaze and dipping sauce made of soy sauce, sake, brown sugar, and sweet mirin that can be used for a variety of purposes (Japanese rice wine). 

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki is a sweet-salty sauce created from mirin, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic that is one of the most well-known in Japanese cuisine. Teriyaki sauce is frequently used to marinate or glaze meats and seafood. 

You may also sprinkle it on a plate right before serving or set it out on the table to serve as a dipping sauce for potstickers or kabobs, for example. It’s a terrific addition to ground beef in burgers, and it’s also great on ribs in place of barbecue sauce. 

Miso Sauce

Soybeans, grains, salt, and koji culture are used to make miso (fermented soybean paste). There are many distinct kinds of miso, however, they can be divided into three groups based on colour: red, white, and yellow. 

Taste, aroma, texture, and saltiness vary from miso to miso. Start with yellow miso (also known as Awase miso) if you’re new to miso because of its versatility. It’s commonly used in restaurants to add taste to a variety of dishes. The paste and soup have a rich savoury flavour that is toasted, pungent, and salty-sweet. 

Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku sauce is a Japanese BBQ sauce that is sweet and delicious. It’s ideal for dipping thinly sliced well-marbled short ribs and other grilled treats. Sweet, savoury, and tasty are all words that perfectly describe this sauce. 

Yakiniku sauce is a Japanese grilled meat seasoning that combines savoury and sweet ingredients with a strong sesame scent. 

Yakiniku sauce is a Japanese barbecue sauce that goes well with grilled short ribs, vegetables, and other grilled meats and vegetables. It’s also the best sauce for teppanyaki! 

Unagi Sauce

Unagi sauce can be used on a variety of BBQ foods in addition to unagi eel. Any uninteresting food can be transformed by its richness and caramelised flavour. On smoked ribs, grilled fish, grilled tofu, grilled mushrooms, and grilled rice balls, it’s fantastic. 

Unagi sauce has a distinct umami flavour that is characteristic of soy sauces. Consider unagi sauce to be a thick, caramelised soy sauce that improves the flavour of any BBQ meal. It’s a sweet and salty sauce that’s fantastic on grilled fish or poultry, and it’s also a popular drizzle on sushi. 

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

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In this brief guide, we answered the question “What sauces do Japanese restaurants use?”

Hope this blog was insightful. If you have any questions, comment below.