In The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson calls soy sauce "the universal condiment of China and Japan...widely used throughout SE Asia." In Chinese Cooking For Dummies, Martin Yan notes that soy sauce is "perhaps the single most important ingredient in Chinese kitchens." Light soy sauce is used in cooking to enhance flavor in everything from marinades to sauces, while red-cooked dishes wouldn't be the same without the deep color and rich flavor of dark soy sauce. Frequently you'll find recipes calling for both. Here are the top five types of Chinese soy sauce.
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