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a secret

Channel NewsAsia - In Search of Umami

Nanyang Sauce featured by CNA's "In Search of Umami". Umami is the 5th basic taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty but unlike the others, it’s hard to define. Host Robert Allison, trained chef, food stylist and cookery book writer from the UK travels from Korea to Vietnam, Singapore to Malaysia to uncover the best hidden umami secrets of home-grown dishes, local condiments and sauces. Nanyang Sauce is proud to be the Soy Sauce featured, a testament to it being reviewed as the Best Soy sauce in Singapore.


The Business Times - Disrupting a traditional industry

DISRUPTORS AREN'T ALWAYS to be found in multi-billion dollar startups or even in trendy millennial-created apps. Just regular businesses are being transformed as forward-thinking entrepreneurs come up with better ways of doing things.

Even on the food shopping front, Singaporean Ken Koh is changing the way consumers shop for soy sauce with innovation.

Prestige 品 Magazine - 酱一酱就通

为什么酱油的价值,不能像橄榄油、陈醋、茗茶、红酒那样被提升?谁说不可以?南洋酱油( Nanyang Sauce)第三代头家许培荣Ken Koh等了14年,终于在约一年前等到加入家族酱油厂生意的机会。他携手搭档李沛莹Jenny Lee,让60年历史、自家手工酿的酱油升级,还说:“Old is the new new(复古是新潮)。”

Salt Magazine - Local Artisan Soy Sauce Makers
Soybeans, flour, salt and water. The ingredients for soy sauce sound simple enough, but they all come together to form a sum much larger than its parts. Originally invented in China over 2,000 years ago, soy sauce has since spread all across the world, becoming the backbone of many Asian cuisines. Some of the best soy sauce in the region can be found right here in our backyard. We speak to local artisanal sauce brewer - Nanyang Sauce, producing the ubiquitous condiment.

Capital 958 Radio - 出去走一走


The Sunday Times - New Look for Old Brands
Mr Ken Koh, 35, grew up in a soy sauce-manufacturing family. His maternal grandfather, the late Tan Tiong How, started Nanyang Sauce Factory at Paya Lebar in 1959 and sold soy sauce under the Golden Swan brand. In 1996, his mother, Madam Tan Poh Choo, took over the business. But Mr Koh was not encouraged to work in the factory, which his mother considered too tough. He started his own business running leadership-training programs in 2005. Two years ago, however, the family was at crossroads...

Timeout Magazine - Local Brands Gone Global
"Nanyang Sauce was named after Old Singapore in gratitude of the new life my grandfather had found here," says Ken Koh, a third gen member of the family business, on the story behind the name. Tan Tiong How came to Singapore from China in the 40s. To remind him of home, he flavored his food with his family's signature soy sauce. He then started pedalling glass bottles of the stuff around town, knocking door to door...

联合晚报报纸 - 南洋酱油厂酱油结晶头抽盐吸引识货人抢购

High Net Worth Magazine - Nanyang Sauce is worth your Salt
"Ask any Generation Z Singaporean if he has the ability to name any local soy sauce brands off the top of his head, and you’ll probably be greeted by a deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. It’s not improbable to think that there are no existing brands of such niche production on our local shores, much less one that’s 60 years in the making as a family-run business. Nanyang Sauce treads on such fine constitution with a light footing in the local market, downsizing from a larger production as a subsidiary brand known as Golden Swan Brand in its heyday. Currently, their aim is to make the best soy sauce in the world, right here in Singapore. A lofty goal indeed, but upon first taste, you would know that they are on the right track.

Mothership - S’porean man hand-brews soy sauce in vats, also produces “most precious salt in the world”
"Traditionally hand-brewing soy sauce in vats is a dying craft, and Ken Koh wants to save it. Koh, a third-generation artisan soy sauce maker created a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for his family-owned Nanyang Sauce business. In return for the monetary support given by his campaign backers, he offers what he calls – “perhaps the most precious salt in the world”.

The “most precious salt in the world” is actually crystallised soy salt that has been aged for more than 10 years. This rare salt is found in small quantities at the bottom of the clay vats used to brew Koh’s family’s soy sauce, and is extremely valuable in the gourmet market.

Smile Magazine by Cebu Pacific Airlines - Savoring Tradition
"Soy Sauce is so integral, so common in Asian Cuisine that its one of those things that is more palpable in its absence - You notice it when you need it (which is always) and when its not there. You also notice it when you are surrounded by Vats and Vats of it. That sounds obvious but i have never been so aware of it until we enter Nanyang Sauce Factory in Singapore. Third Generation Soy Sauce Maker Ken Koh leads me to the roof deck above the third floor where we peer out into rows of jars of the stuff fermenting under the hot sun. The smell is everywhere and its delicious. Immediately my mouth waters - A reaction to the intense scent that permeates the air. Curiously, the smell isn't all that overpowering. Its actually quite light, full of aroma and nuance - more about the promise of food than the food itself. This is the smell of that complex fifth flavour, umami, a deeply savory taste that goes beyond salt. It is the very essence of, well, deliciousness.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - Pass the Salt (Nature of Things Documentary Series)

Hundreds of years ago when salt was a rare commodity, soy sauce was created to stretch the taste of salt as far as possible.
In Singapore, Ken Koh and his family use traditional methods to make natural “umami” soy sauce, with a flavour that’s both rich and savoury. First, soybeans, imported from Canada, are steamed for a few hours and coated with wheat flour to start the fermentation process. The fermenting flour and beans are placed in handmade clay vats with water and salt. And then comes the final ingredient — time. For nine months, the vat contents are left to brew, stirred every day under the hot sun. The final result is a traditional sauce with distinct umami flavours. A byproduct of the whole process is a naturally crystalized soy salt, which can take 10 years to accumulate in the vats — the very essence of umami flavour, according to Koh.​

Channel 8 - Little Red Dot Detectives

At Bedok and East Coast, the hosts go beyond the ordinary and explore quirky places, from a traditional Nanyang Soy Sauce Boutique to a fascinating Ant Exhibition ! Come along to discover an exciting Bedok and East Coast adventure !


The Straits Times - Awesome sauce - family run factory's soya brews

Like a scene out of the historical Korean drama, Jewel in the Palace, earthenware jars of soy beans lie fermenting in an open space in Chin Bee Avenue, each with the potential to product great bursts of umami flavour and joy for the consumer. Nanyang Sauce has roots dating back to 1959. The family-run Nanyang Sauce Factory headed by Mr Ken Koh 36, continues to uphold authentic soy sauce making traditions. For instance, it does not use chemicals to hydrolyse and speed up the process. Mr Koh's 94 year old grandmother, Madam Ng Soh Lian, still bottles and labels the brews daily. At the factory, certified non-GMO Soy beans from Canada are boiled for an hour then manually placed on wide trays to air-dry. Wheat flour and a unique strain of mould that the company cultivated over the years are added at this stage. After three to four days, the beans turn to yellow to white to green. Mr Koh said the labour-intensive process is a labour of love. 

The Peak Magazine - A New Way to Sell Sauces

Ken Koh is transforming his family’s soy sauce business by embracing the artisanal side of things.

Walk into the factory of Nanyang Sauce at the weekend and one might be greeted by an increasingly rare sight: a family of four generations working under the same roof. The eldest is director Ken Koh’s grandmother Ng Soh Lian, who’s 94 this year. The youngest are his children, aged one and four. Started in 1959 by Koh’s grandfather Tan Tiong How, Nanyang Sauce is a soya sauce factory doing things the traditional way: slowly fermenting its product under the Singaporean sun instead of taking the fast route of putting soya beans under acid hydrolysis. Consequently, the time difference is nine months compared to a single day – and of course, the old way produces a richer, more flavourful product.

Tatler Dining Guide 2022 - Singapore

Even with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, these Singaporean food producers keep the flag flying for their family’s food businesses. Nanyang Sauce’s owner Ken Koh continues to safeguard his grandfather’s traditional approach to hand-brewing soya sauce. “What makes us different is that our soya sauce is truly artisanal—using the centuries-old method of natural fermentation. As our sauce takes at least nine months to be fermented, it’s slow food at its best,” says Ken. The traditional way of steeping soya beans in dragon vats is a lost craft; nowadays, soya sauce can be made using modern methods that take about two weeks or less.

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