Confused which soy sauces you can have? Here is what you need to know.
Your average soy sauce is NOT gluten free, because traditional soy sauces are brewed with wheat. But you do have a few options.There are many different types of soy sauce, but two of the most commonly used today are Tamari and Shoyu. The process of creating “Tamari” does not include wheat, so true Tamari is naturally gluten free (yipee). Shoyu, on the other hand, is brewed with wheat, and therefore is never gluten free unless specifically created with rice flour for allergy purposes.
Here is where it gets tricky:
The word “Tamari” is more recognizable in the US than “Shoyu”, and therefore Shoyu is often marketed as “Tamari” out of convenience. Also, often times waiters do not realize there is a major difference between the two, and will not specify which kind they are actually using in your meal. This sort of mix up is a major bummer, but can be easily avoided!
What can you do?
1. Tell your waiter you have an allergy and that you must be sure that the soy sauce they are providing you is not brewed with wheat. Even if they claim it is Tamari, politely ask if they can double-check the ingredients label before serving it with your meal. You might be surprised how often it is in fact unsafe.
2. If you see the packets of wheat free soy sauce, take as many as you can! Or be proactive, and buy a package of the gluten free soy sauce packets (easily found online), and take them out with you! Just make sure they don’t break open in your pocket/purse.
3. Go sans soy if you’re ever in doubt!
Note: Your average Kikkoman soy sauce contains gluten, even the reduced sodium one. Kikkoman has recently created a gluten free version of their sauce using rice flour which you can buy at your average health store. (But this is not commonly used in restaurants)