Have you ever considered the history of soy sauce? For the most part, this global phenomenon may be little more to you than a condiment you might sprinkle over your rice at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant. However, there is an ancient history surrounding this sauce that goes far, far back into the shrouded reaches of ancient civilization.
Nobody knows for sure when soy sauce first came about, though it is clear that it originated somewhere in China. In times before refrigeration, people needed to come up with other ways to preserve food. To the ancient Chinese, preserved food and the seasonings that went into their preservation (usually salt) were called jiang. Jiang was made from meat, seafood, vegetables, and even grains. The grain-based jiang was simple and easily accessible, so the fermentation of soybeans and wheat developed rapidly, eventually leading to the soy sauce we know today.