Today we went to visit Kikkoman soy sauce factory in Nodashi city. Kikkoman soy sauce, which originated from China and developed in Japan, has become a worldwide famous brand of soy sauce. It has branches and plants in USA, Singapore and China. They make the highest quality soy sauce, follow time-honored traditions and cutting edge technology. After watching a short introductory film about the history of Kikkoman, we visited the factory with a tour guide. The ingredients of soy sauce include soybean, wheat, salt and water. Besides them, Kikkoman also uses its original aspergillus, a type of fungus, to propagate koji mold. Koji mold is one of the most important elements in making soy sauce and plays an essential role in fermenting the ingredients.
The making process of Kikkoman includes production of “koji”, the essential base of soy sauce, mixing and aging, pressing and refining, bottling, inspection and shipment. The “koji” is moved to a tank and mixed with the salt-and-water solution. This mixture is called “moromi”, a kind of mash, which is then fermented and aged in the tank for several months. There are three types of fermented “moromi” exhibited outside the workplace, one-month, three-month and six-month fermentation. The six-month fermented “moromi” gave off the richest flavor and aroma and in attractive brown color. There are two kinds of fabric exhibited outside the pressing area. One is before using, which is white color; the other is after using, the original white color has been dyed into brown color. The soy sauce pressed from “moromi” is called “raw soy sauce”. By-products from production such as the sediment and oil are used as feeding materials for livestock and fuel for machinery operations.
It was really a fantastic field trip and informative experience for most of us!