Dark soy sauce is a dark-coloured sauce that is mostly popular in Chinese cuisines. It is much sweeter, darker, and a bit thicker in consistency than light soy sauce, and it is used to add colour and an umami taste to savoury dishes such as noodles as well as fried rice. Dark soy sauce also gives marinades a pleasant dark, shiny appearance. It is considered a necessity in most Asian kitchens as well as in many western households but if you do not have it in your kitchen there are other suitable alternatives you can consider. Below are some of the best option to use as substitutes for dark soy sauce.
Light Soy Sauce
One of the best substitutes for dark soy sauce is the alternative, light soy sauce. You can add a few splashes of light soy sauce to your dish to provide it with a similar salty flavour that you can get from dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce will also enhance the umami flavour of any meat in your dish. This is a good option that will work well as a substitute for its dark alternative, and will not be out of place in any Asian-inspired meal. It is important to note that light soy sauce is not as thick as dark soy sauce, so it may not be your best option if you want a similar-textured dipping sauce. Because it is also lighter in colour you will not get that same dark, silky appearance that dark soy provides.
The second substitute for soy sauce is Teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce has a similar glossy, dark appearance that is ideal for making a stir-fry look irresistible on the table. It has a comparable salty, sweet flavour that is similar to dark soy and it is well-suited for use as a marinade, ingredient, or as a condiment. Although soy sauce is one of the major ingredients in teriyaki sauce, it contains ginger or garlic in it. These added ingredients make the sauce delicious in most dishes that call for dark soy sauce. However, it is important to note that the end result will be different in flavour.
Another good substitute for dark soy sauce is oyster sauce. Oyster sauce has a salty and sweet flavour that works perfect as a dark soy sauce substitute. Oyster sauce is also excellent for adding a mouth-watering colour to your food and it adds up the umami flavour in your beef, chicken, tofu, duck, or any other type of meat. Adding oyster sauce to your meals will also bring a subtle hint of oyster and caramel flavour to your dish. As much as it is a diversion from dark soy sauce, it will still work well as a substitute for dark soy sauce. Oyster sauce will add a burst of flavour to spicy noodles, kung pao shrimp, or a simple beef and broccoli dish as well.
Hoisin sauce can also make a good substitute for dark soy sauce. This type of sauce is a colourful marinade that is ideal for duck, beef, chicken, pork, and all kinds of meat as well as vegetables. Also, hoisin sauce adds a sweet and salty flavour to your food, and it is excellent when added to stir-fries. If you want a dish to look as well as taste the same as the original recipe then consider using other alternatives to dark soy sauce because hoisin sauce will not be your best option, but for other dishes it can be perfect. Hoisin sauce has many additional ingredients added to it such as sesame seeds, garlic, and chili pepper to name a few.
Double Black Soy Sauce
If you are the kind of person who enjoys the flavour and texture of dark soy sauce but do not have any, consider using a double black sauce because that will make a pretty good replacement. Double black soy sauce is a dark soy sauce that is sweeter, darker, and much thicker because of the addition of extra molasses. It works well in all kinds of dishes that you put dark soy sauce in and it is easily accessible. However, use double black soy sauce in moderation because its additional sweetness can put your dish out of balance. Double black soy sauce is one of the best dark soy sauce substitutes and deserves to be higher up on this list of substitutes but many people do not have it in their kitchens. If you do have it in your cupboard consider it as one of your first options as a substitute for dark soy sauce.
Another good substitute for dark soy sauce is Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce combines salty, savoury, and a tangy flavour in one bottle. It is perfect for adding the umami taste, not just in Asian cooking, but in Italian sauces, burger patties, and marinades to name a few. The main differences that Worcestershire does not posses is the level of sweetness, plus its consistency is much thinner. You can use this sauce in most of the dishes that require dark soy sauce and still get the desired results.
Mushroom Flavoured Dark Soy
Also a good substitute for dark soy sauce is the mushroom flavoured dark soy sauce. Mushroom flavoured dark soy sauce adds the taste of mushrooms to your food. If you are happy with that different feel to your meal, then this is one of your best options for substituting dark soy sauce. Also, mushroom flavoured soy sauce has a texture and colour that is similar to dark soy sauce so it can work in any savoury dish that you can add your dark soy sauce to.
Home Made Dark Soy Sauce
Lastly, you can substitute dark soy sauce with your own homemade dark soy sauce. With a few cups of brown sugar, some water, and a cup of regular soy sauce you can easily create your own dark soy sauce. Simply adding some brown sugar to a pan with water and regular soy sauce and letting it cook until the sugar dissolves can give your desired dark soy sauce.