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Condiment, seasoning, ingredient, dip, marinade and more – soy sauce is as ubiquitous in East Asian cookery as salt is in the Western world. Its recipe is thousands of years old and can come in a number of varieties — thick, thin, light or dark — but it’s best known for its deeply savory, almost meaty flavor (despite being completely vegan). If made using traditional methods, it can take a year or more to ferment, but modern interpretations of this natural brew can be nailed in as little as three months. At its quickest (and most inferior — don’t even bother buying it), it can be made in a few days using chemical hydrolysis, a process in which various acids, preservatives, sweeteners and artificial flavorings are added.