04 June 2006

Toyo is Healthy!

SINGAPORE --- Dark soya sauce, widely used in east Asia, may prove to be more effective than red wine and vitamin C in combating human cell damage, researchers in Singapore said.

Scientists found that the sauce --- derived from fermented soya beans --- contains antioxidant properties about 10 times more effective than red wine and 150 times more potent than vitamin C, Singapore's Strait Times reported on Saturday.

[Reuters Health, 03 June 2006]

Filipinos call this "dark soya sauce," as toyo, and it is a perennial ingredient in most Filipino food items, from the famous adobo to the favorite pancit. I think this is good news.

Just watch out and never take in too much, ok? Why? Well, too much intake of soy sauce means too much salt in your system, and if you have hypertension, that will spell trouble later on. You can read more about the other reason here.

41 reactions:

may said...

the only bad thing is that, most of the so called soy sauce we can buy in the groceries there is not really made out of soy, but from chemicals. real soy sauce is expensive, and with average income filipino like me, when i was there, there is no way i can buy imported soy sauce that truly lives to its name.

Dr. Emer said...

Thanks, May. That is true, and is part of the second reason why I said people should be cautious when using soy sauce.

I buy my soy sauce from a Chinese soy bean product factory near my place. It is not very expensive, maybe because I get it from the source itself. But I agree with you that those sold commercially might contain chemicals which are harmful.

ipanema said...

Since the article is datelined Singapore, I take it that the soya sauce they are referring to is thicker in consistency than what we are used to in the Philippines.

To my knowledge and having lived within the Chinese community, they have 2 kinds of soya sauce: light soya sauce and the dark soya sacue.

I always buy these two, but prefers the lighter one because if you use the dark sauce, your food will turn out darker for obvious reasons. If you want to make your food a bit saltier, use the dark sauce. It is also used for dips, seasoning, etc. I prefer light sauce.

bayibhyap said...

This is good news because we have been eating dark soya as far back as we can remember. But overeating dark soya sauce? I doubt anyone will.

bing said...

light soy sauce tastes better to me. is light soy sauce better than dark soy sauce? is it safer kaya?

ipanema said...

Same here bing. It's just that I don't want my food to look so dark. I will lose appetite if food is presented this way. I remember buying Henlin siomai, they use dark sauce. Tastes good. It's ok for dips and there are some recipes that need this.

Safer? Here's the ingredients of the soya sauce I'm using (I went to the kitchen and read ingredients...lol!).

Dark sauce: water, soya beans, salt, sugar, wheat flour & extract of mushroom.

Light sauce: all of the above EXCEPT extract of mushroom.

I think extract of mushroom made it darker? They're both naturally brewed. Made in Guangdong, China.

I have KNORR liquid seasoning here (made in the Philippines): water, hydrolyzed soy protein, glucose, iodized salt, MSG, sugar, natural color, iron EDTA, citric acid, disodium inosinate & disodiumguanylate, potassium sorbate, potassium iodide.

Goodness, the chemicals! Try looking at any toyo brand you have there. We can draw conclusions here.

ipanema said...

Oh my God! My brand is on the list!. These cheating manufacturers from China! I'm gonna hang you alive guys!...hahaha.

Ay naku, magalit na lahat ng mga instik sa akin, talagang pag dating sa negosyo, kasama panloloko. (I just hope my uncle and cousins aren't reading this.) :) I'm enraged, to say the least.

See those ingredients I wrote? Yun lang ang info sa Pearl Brand tapos nasa list siya to be avoided. I'm so disheartened. Mag blend na lang ako ng tubig and mushroom...lol

Thanks doc. I can't open the recent link. I scrolled up. Honestly, I have seen those brands here. Mag Lorenzana patis na lang tayo. Super salty naman yan!

ipanema said...

I read the BBC article again and it was dated 2001. The thing is these manufacturers are still exporting these health hazards. Who's monitoring these?

When Lee Kum Kee was recalled, it was big thing here because it's a popular brand.

Now, I'm thinking what brand the Singaporean researchers are looking into to conclude that dark sauce is healthy.

Dr. Emer said...

I've written them an email about it. I'll update you once I get a reply. :)

Dr. Emer said...

Here's the same link I gave above. I hope it works now.

ipanema said...

That's a good idea. I scrolled up from your original article, I was able to read from there. Thanks doc.

I'm sorry everyone, I just proved that soya sauce is so strong that I'm capable of furious profanity when provoked.

Seriously, this pose a great conern, I didn't know I was buying cancerous poison and feeding to my family.

Dr. Emer said...

Soy sauce is still healthy. Like what May said, as long as we can get it from the right source (minus the chemicals), I think we have a healthier alternative to red wine. The challenge is finding the right source. ;)

ipanema said...

Do we really have PURE soya sauce available in the market? It seems like all processed food products have chemicals in them, one way or another.

I still have to see this product.

may said...

we used to have a pretty big sari-sari store. people who thought branded soy sauce like silver swan and marca pina was expensive, would opt for the non branded one. all my business minded mom had to do was go to divisoria, get the ingredients for soy sauce, and we made it ourselves. water, a black thing, a white thing, (names i can't remember but surely are not soy sauce) were mixed together, and voila, toyo! the ingredient stores, which sell all chemical ingredients for vinegar to patis to etc, would even sell labels that you put outside the bottle, to make it look sort of like the branded ones. it ended up to be a lot cheaper than the branded ones, and there is very little difference in the ingredients. it does not claim to have real soy sauce, so there is no false advertising there, but people couldn't care less really. all we are after is that toyo taste.
i don't think there is 100% pure soy sauce, unless you make it yourself, but there are expensive ones which at least have real soy, rather than the ones with only chemicals.

ipanema said...

Earlier claims that those sold in groceries are not made of soya sauce is also not true. It's simply water, black & white thing and presto...toyo.

Anyway I did some readings:

Soy sauce (US) or soya sauce is a fermented sauce made from soybeans (soya beans), roasted grain, water and salt. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine and appears in some Western cuisine dishes, especially as an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.

Basic Production

Authentic soy sauces are fermented with kōji (麹, the mold Aspergillus oryzae or A. sojae) and other related microorganisms. Authentic soy sauces are made from whole soybeans, but many cheaper brands are made from hydrolized soy protein instead. These soy sauces do not have the natural color of authentic soy sauces and are typically colored with caramel coloring.

Source: Soya sauce

The soya sauce in the picture, is the brand I'm using. That's Pearl River Bridge (dark soya sauce). There's another one, light soya sauce of the same brand. If you have this in Manila, check the ingredients on the label. Same one I listed in my previous post.

NEXT, refer to BBC article linked with original post. This is one of those soya sauce brands issued under cancer warning.

Brands to be avoided:

Golden Mountain
Jammy Chai
Pearl River Bridge
Lee Kum Kee
King Imperial
Golden Mark
Golden Swan
Tung Chun

This is what concerns me. The product is still out in the market when there was consumer warning issued way back 2001. Now researchers say it's healthy, quite confusing. There's no problem if it's healthy. Never in my posts did I refute this. I only talked about my preference to light sauce. I even added when we use dark sauce...dips, seasoning, etc.

This is a new study which National University of Singapore spearheaded. There were previous studies done on light sauce and red wine. But they say dark sauce is healthier based on their studies.

The issue I want to be clarified is the BBC article cancer warning soy sauce which is still in the market. That's all. Here's a warning, and one of the products has been banned (Lee Kum Kee), and here's a study that says it's healthy. What do they have to say on that BBC article?

bayibhyap said...

Unbranded Soy Sauce. There are lots of backyard factories manufacturing unbranded soy sauce. They use big plastic bottles and fill them with soy sauce and then sell them to the restaurants and other eateries. I don't think they use chemicals in their manufacturing process but what I am more concerned about is the hygiene of the manufacturing process. I was told that sometimes you find dead lizards or roaches in the soy sauce and they just take these dead stuff off and sell you the sauce anyway.

Dr. Emer said...

Thanks for the comprehensive tips, May and Ipanema. I haven't heard yet from the NUS researchers but I don't think they have any say on the banned soy sauce products and their alleged carcinogenic potential. They might pass an opinion but that's only speculation. That wasn't the objective of their study.

Roaches and lizards, Bayi? Wow! That sounds really creepy. *LOL*

ipanema said...

That's gross bayi, but I've read those stories. Recently, one softdrinks company in India was fined. A condom was found in one of the bottles. don't know if it's used or not. :) How it got there, no one knows. Still under investigation. I'll try to find that story. It was published end of April.

Gulaman Girl said...

eh ano yun malapot na dark din na kasama pag o-order ka ng hainanese chicken rice sa singapore? tagal ko na hana p nun. kahit sa takashimaya di ko nakita...

ipanema said...

dark sauce din yun Gulaman Girl. masarap siya sa H.Chicken Rice.

Dr. Emer said...

Ginugutom nyo naman, ako....parang gusto ko ng hainanese chicken mamaya. Yum-yum! :)

ipanema said...

lol doc, madali lang lutuin yan. :)

Gulaman Girl, di mo na kelangan punta sa Takshimaya, kahit saang sundry shop you can buy one. It's an ordinary sauce used everyday. :)

bayi said...

There are many types of chicken rice recipes. The Hainanese chicken rice is one devoid of chicken gravy and thick dark soy sauce is provided to go with the rice. It's tasty though and even more so if the chili that goes with it is compatible in taste!

ipanema said...

Even just the plain Singapore Chicken Rice is enough Bayi. Yes, i love to eat it with chili sauce, cucumber and some pickled veggie on the side. Sometimes I prefer it with steamed chicken, other times, roasted.The secret is in the rice.

bayibhyap said...

You are absolutely right, ipanema! The secret is in the rice. I can eat the rice with just the chili sauce, black soy sauce and the cucumber slices, minus the chicken.

Unfortunately, the rice is also the most unhealthy component. The aroma is most heavenly when the rice is cooked with chicken fat. Nowadays most of the vendors cook it with margarine instead, which is also unhealthy. Of course, it's not just the chicken fat or margarine. There are other ingredients, the most important of which is garlic.

I will have to stop writing. I am getting hungry reading what I write! :) Yummm...Sarap!

Dr. Emer said...

There you go again....talking about delicious food just as lunch time approaches. All these talks make my tummy growl even more. *LOL*

ipanema said...

lol bayi & Dr. Emer. That's true bayi, so one must know where to buy the best chicken rice. :)

bayibhyap said...

There are so many dialects in Malaysia that we have many different recipes of chicken rice.

ipanema said...

Yes bayi, the same can be said about different versions of fried rice. :)

bayibhyap said...

...and fried noodles. The Hokkiens fry their noodles (odon type) with thick black gravy by using black soy sauce.

ipanema said...

Yes. I love crispy claypot noodles with seafood. :)

Dr. Emer said...

We should go and visit Bayi then, Ipanema. He knows this great Chinese resto in Kuala Lumpur that serves piping hot noodle soups. :)

ipanema said...

Good idea doc. See you there. :)

You must try curry food. This will be for next posting. For now it's food related/cooked/eaten with soya sauce.

By the way, Chinese love to eat their food piping hot. Everything must be served hot.

bayibhyap said...

...and for every Chinese meal, there must be some form of soy, the most common of which is tofu or tokwa. And the light soy sauce is used for flavor.

bayibhyap said...


There is a story that tells about the defects caused to the dental structure because the Chinese eat all their food piping hot. It is aid to cause gaps in-between the teeth and so the Chinese are unable to say pronounce certain words correctly. I think funny theory was propounded by the Indians who believe that all food must be eaten hot but not "temperature hot", rather, "curry hot." *LOL*

Dr Emer

Time did not permit during your last visit but one of my suggestions was to take you and Jane to an authentic Indian meal eaten on a banana leaf. They put some rice and 2 - 3 side dishes of vegetables. In addition you can choose chicken, mutton, prawn, fish or some other mouth-watering main dishes. You can add fish curry, chicken curry or dhal curry (lentils and chick peas, and dhal curry is not hot) to go with the rice. Then you order a teh tarik (ipanema is really familiar with this one), a glass of tea with condensed milk that tastes heavenly after the meal!

I will note this as a priority for your next visit! :)

ipanema said...

lol Bayi, that's real funny. I just woke up and it made me smile.

Well, the letters R & L for the Chinese is hard to enunciate. Sometimes they have it mixed up. You should hear those from mainland China Bayi, this fault is more obvious with them than foreign based Chinese. Whereas the letter R for the Indians, is really enunciated with a roaring R as in rrrrrr. They always tell others that they are the best pronouncers of this letter and that we are wrong. Imagine them pronouncing the letter complete with a left & right head shake and hand gesture. :)

I enjoy eating on a banana leaf Bayi, it's yummy. For starters, we have pappadam with acar. I love this. In Malaysia, they have this Indian restaurant where people eat with bare hands on banana leaf. We have a restaurant in Manila called Banana Leaf Bayi.

Teh tarik is Malaysian signature tea. The preparation is so special. I tried it once and it spilled onto the floor.

bayibhyap said...


I forgot about the pappadam and acar. They also serve salted dried chilis and fried young bitter gourd. Crab curry with the rice would give you a most fantastic taste. And finish the meal with a yoghurt drink to cool off.

I eat with my hand. It's the only way to get the best taste. :)

If you rty doing the teh tarik, the secret for beginners is to pull slowly with the two containers or glasses near each other. Widen the gap gradually until your judgement becomes better. But it was fun doing it, right?

ipanema said...

I practised with water first, then it was time for the real thing, and that's what happened. Thanks for the tip. It was fun doing it. :)

bayibhyap said...

There are competitions every year for making teh tarik and roti canai in the most creative ways, pulling the teh behind one's back, flipping the roti canai round one's body, etc. It can be both funny and interesting. The tourists love these competitions. They come in droves to watch all these antics. :)

ipanema said...

we have it here too, but not the roti canai competition. hmmm, i dip this in curry. :)

bayibhyap said...

Fish curry is my favorite. "Min" curry, that's how the Indians say it. Speak a few Indian words and they will love you to bits. "Tani" for water. :)