So far, soy good: Skip the Kikkoman if you want to taste authentic Thai

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

If you've ever tried to cook Thai food at home and were disappointed, I'll bet I know why: You were using the wrong sauce. When the recipe called for soy sauce, you probably grabbed the bottle of Kikkoman sitting in your fridge. "You'd never use Kikkoman in Thai food, but people do, unfortunately," says Michael Long, culinary team leader and instructor at Seasoned Chef Cooking School. "It's the Heinz ketchup of soy sauce."

One authoritative cookbook I have, The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook, goes so far as to say that Kikkoman should only be used as a dipping sauce, not for cooking.

So what do Thai chefs use instead? See also: A closer look at Thai Monkey Club

Sirishom Hakamjarn, co-owner of Thai Monkey Club, which I review this week, uses several kinds of soy sauce, mixing them in different proportions to achieve lighter, richer or sweeter flavors.

Light soy sauce is weak in flavor and has a light brown color. Dark soy, which is made from soybeans that have been left to ferment longer, has a much fuller, more robust flavor. There's also an Indonesian soy sauce called kecap manis, which is thick, black and sweet, and a lighter, weaker version called kecap asin, which is nicknamed white soy.

When you consider that few people have these sauces at their disposal, much less the oyster and fish sauces that are just as foundational to Thai cooking, you begin to see why take-out from Thai Monkey Club is such a good idea.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.