Soy sauce is a pretty familiar ingredient to most cooks. You may even have heard of dark soy sauce. But what about “double black soy sauce?”
What Is Double Black Soy Sauce?
Double Black Soy Sauce is essentially a dark soy sauce, made with molasses. Like dark soy sauce, it is used to darken the color of dishes as well as for flavor, but it is a little bit sweeter.
Double black soy sauce is written in traditional Chinese characters as 雙老頭抽 and pronounced in the Cantonese dialect as “sheung lo tao cho.” If we use simplified Chinese characters, it is written as 双老头抽 and pronounced as “shuāng lǎo tóu chōu.”
If you’re not familiar with the differences between traditional and simplified Chinese characters, the simple explanation is that the PRC introduced the simplified character set in the 1950s to reduce the number of strokes in Chinese traditional characters and make Chinese easier to read and write. However, Hong Kong and Taiwan continued to use the traditional Chinese character set even up to today. So, if you are asking older people from Hong Kong and Taiwan, the traditional characters will be more recognized than the simplified.
All that is to explain that Koon Chun is a company that has been around for many years and still uses traditional Chinese characters on their products. Many of our readers use product images and characters on bottles to ensure they are getting the right product when shopping at their local Chinese grocery store, so I wanted to clear up any potential confusion.
How Is It Used
Why does one use double black soy sauce? It is a darker and thicker soy sauce, so some chefs like to use it for applications where a darker, richer color is needed. As you can see from the ingredients on the bottle, molasses is usually the second ingredient after water, which gives the double black soy sauce a distinct flavor.
We have heard varying opinions from chefs about using double black soy sauce with its molasses flavor. Some say the flavor is “off,” and others say for the right dish, it is a great addition.
Double black soy sauce is not an essential ingredient. As long as you have dark soy sauce in the pantry, you shouldn’t need it. But we’re including it in our glossary to help you know the difference and empower you to use it if you’d like to give it a try.
Buying & Storing
We’ve already mentioned the Koon Chun brand. That’s because few other brands actually make double black soy sauce, so if you do buy it, it will likely be made by Koon Chun. In fact, not all Chinese markets carry it, because it is used relatively rarely.
Like any soy sauce, store double black soy sauce in a cool, dry place like the pantry. No need to refrigerate.
Substitutions for Double Black Soy Sauce
If you’d like to test the effects of double black soy sauce without buying a whole bottle, you can substitute regular dark soy sauce with added molasses.
If you have further questions about double black soy sauce, let us know in the comments––we try to answer every single one.