India and Thailand have their distinctive curries. American Chinese food also has mainstay dishes that utilize recognizable and specifically named sauces. Japan has a distinctive flavor to call its own as well. You might think it is soy sauce, miso or sake, and while you are partially right, the ingredient often goes unnamed in Japan, simply referred to as “so-su,” or “sauce.”
This sauce is used in many dishes in Japan, including stews and marinades, and even on burgers. In fact, if you eat occasionally at Japanese restaurants, you might have already had this mysterious sauce.
You might find it on the menu referred to as tonkatsu sauce — a thick brown sauce that accompanies breaded fish, pork or chicken cutlets. You might even classify it as a Japanese-style barbecue sauce or a slightly sweeter and thicker variation of Worcestershire sauce.
The Most Popular Brand of Japanese Sauce
Just like ketchup and mustard in America, there are several brands of this sauce available in Japan. However, just as many people think of the Heinz brand first when they think of ketchup, Bull-dog is the brand that immediately comes to mind when residents of Japan think about their beloved sauce.
Featuring a picture of a bulldog, of course, the bottle is easily recognizable. You should have no problem finding it in Asian supermarkets. If you don’t have a market near you, try international aisle of a regular store or online.
The History of Japanese Sauce
If you are the type of person who likes to know a little bit about the food you are eating, you’ll be interested in learning that Japanese sauce has been a part of Japanese cuisine and culture since the late 19th century. Originally marketed as a type of soy sauce, it didn’t gain popularity until it was re-imagined as its own type of sauce. This occurred shortly after World War II, when Westernized cooking became more commonplace across many regions of Japan.
Today, you find recipes that use the sauce in everything, from stir-fry noodles to soup bases. Pick up a bottle of Bull-Dog for yourself and try it in some Japanese recipes, like this delicious Pork Tonkatsu. Enjoy!