Soy sauce is a fermented product, and its flavor is a complex mixture of individual senses which, in combination,create a strong palatable condiment for many Eastern and Western dishes. This Review focuses on our existing knowledge of the chemical compounds present in soy sauce and their potential relevance to the flavor profile. Taste is dominated by umami and salty sensations. Free amino acids, nucleotides, and small peptides are among the most important taste-active compounds. Aroma is characterized by caramel-like, floral, smoky, malty, and cooked potato-like odors. Aroma-active volatiles are chemically diverse including acids, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, furanones, pyrazines, and S-compounds. The origin of all compounds relates to both the raw ingredients and starter cultures used as well as the parameters applied during production. We are only just starting to help develop innovative studies where we can combine different analytical platforms and chemometric analysis to link flavor attributes to chemical composition.
- soy sauce, taste, aroma, liquid chromatography−mass spectrometry (LC-MS), gas chromatography−mass spectrometry (GC-MS), fermented, Maillard reactions