Here we come to part 2, aka the practical part.
I want to Insha’ALLAH be able to give you the tools and the assistance to help you choose your Soy Sauce manually. Instead of listing an entire selection of sauces that are haram/halal is one of the hardest things for a human being to do.
Why? Because there will always be a new product in the market, things’ll change and and it does not physically teach us how to tell haram from halal. This is the unfortunate reality.
I promise though, to make this extremely user-friendly and informative for you.
Finding the right Soy Sauce:
Today I took a local trip round to the Coles in the Halal hub in Sydney. Auburn.
Having a browse of the local aisles, I saw a great assortment of Soy Sauces.. both halal and haram. And honestly, it is enough for any poor person to get bamboozled which sauce to choose.
STEP 1: Read the labels:
As cliche as this sounds, it is the most important step. They say that reading is knowledge (whoever said that was a genius) because we can only understand and make sense of knowledge – and in this case, our food.
The words to look out for when purchasing Soy Sauce is “naturally brewed”, ‘no artificial preservatives” . Another great thing to look for is “Gluten Free” Soy Sauce as they contain majority of natural ingredients and contains the chance of being halal (but is not definite).
This Soy Sauce from Fountain is a great example. It is “Gluten Free” and is claimed to be all natural and safe. There is nothing in the preservatives and nothing detrimental Islamically, so this is a great investment.
The Coles brand Soy Sauce is also very much halal (as I have checked the ingredients through and through). The sauce boasts to be naturally brewed (which gives the consumer the confidence that there is maybe no preservatives – therefore a slim chance for alcohol) and no added colours or flavours.
STEP 2: Signs, symbols and markings:
Usually when purchasing items – I used to check for the “Vegetarian/Vegan” symbol or the “Halal” one. But then my mother went to me one day “But honey, vegetarians also drink alcohol… it doesn’t mean that they abstain from it”.
Of course. Mother’s are such an intelligent species.
So, of course these labels are very helpful and can help us have confidence that the products do not contain traces of some haram.
At Coles, I found this beauty:
This is a Dark Soy Sauce from the Asian brand “Pearl River Bridge”. As you can see, there is a very clear “Halal” label featured on the side of the Soy Sauce, automatically informing us that Allhamdulillah it is safe to consume.
The Soy Sauce that I purchase myself in bulk arrives from the Phillipines in bulk also has a “Halal” symbol present.
STEP 3: Natural, Organic, Certified and Gluten Free – be wary of these words:
The reason why I say this and can not stress this enough is because it has nothing to do with the product being halal, unfortunately.
As I did mention earlier, these can help you with the purchase of some Soy Sauces… but I would like to steer you clear of a certain brand of Soy Sauce called “Kikkoman”. I say this with a heavy heart because I absolutely adored Kikkoman Soy Sauce before I found out that it was not halal.
Here I have taken some shots to show you what I mean:
The every day Soy Sauce from Kikkoman is claimed to be naturally brewed, but as you can see the shot of the ingredients on the right hand side – you can see that the Soy Sauce contains 3.2% alcohol.
This Gluten-Free version of the Kikkoman Soy Sauce brand also states that it contains alcohol (3.2%) which comes from the brewing process.
And finally, this “Certified by Australia as Organic” version of the Kikkoman Soy Sauce also proves to have traces of alcohol during it’s brewing process.
“Well damn, I had no idea that this was the case. This sucks, eating halal sucks, I hate these damned companies!”:
True that these companies do give detailed explanations about alcohol and how it is abundant in its’ products, but instead of feeling anger – we must be thankful that they provide us with the truth of their products. Kikkoman explain it very clearly that it is used in the brewing process and it may contain traces. Even though it is a may, they have done this for our benefit – and I think it is a very considerate thing (unlike Arnotts here in Australia who do not include it on the packets of their biscuits, but this is another story for another post).
We live in such a generation where we have alternatives. It is completely your choice how concise you follow Islam and Halal… but you do have access to these ingredients and you do have access to alternatives, Allhamdulillah – so I personally am running this to ease your worries and help you stay on track with the world and the evolution of halal, Insha’ALLAH.
Just remember to not be distracted by terminology, or not to be frightened either.
Halal is your friend, never your enemy Insha’ALLAH.