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Edible condiment from soy sauce

31 Comments

Kikkoman has created an “edible condiment” from soy sauce by freeze drying the ubiquitous table sauce into solid flakes. The flakes are then combined with garlic, onion, and almond chips to create this new product that is crunchy and aromatic. Kikkoman recommends users add the product to vegetable dishes and salads, or put it on top of white rice, dumplings and pasta. A 110 gram bottle sells for 350 yen.

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And again, you wouldn't write "edible mushrooms" on a package of mushrooms for the same reason you wouldn't write "edible" on the vast majority of things you find in a grocery store. It is obvious anything you find there is intended to be consumed.

This is similar to why one needs to write edible underwear.

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The Japanese language is filled with sound words (onomatopoeia). You can have conversations using them. Lots of fun. There are some very good books out there with them.

さくさく (on-mim) crunchy; crisp (not moist or juicy); flaky (as in pastry)

For many of you studying Japanese or just want another good source, try jisho.org

It is excellent.

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Chewable?

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D**ned Firefox Auto correct feature! I guess I'll retract my statement about having a reasonable command of the language.

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@HumanTarget

I think you summed it up pretty good. Even though I'm not sure everyone will agree with your final conclusion. English is not my native language, but I think I have a reasonable command of the language when I make an effort. It not being my native tongue was probably one of the reasons I reacted in the first place.

I say we all just try to get along, and from now on call it Flaky Shoyu, the flakiest condiment science ... well ever.

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Obviously the issue is subject to different interpretations. That's one of the downfalls of the English language. Its versatility, idiosyncratic grammar rules, and massive vocabulary inevitably lead to people seeing different things in a sentence than others do.

It's also a constantly evolving language, and it's not uncommon for marketing terms to make their way into the general lexicon or in some way influence the langauge in general.

And again, you wouldn't write "edible mushrooms" on a package of mushrooms for the same reason you wouldn't write "edible" on the vast majority of things you find in a grocery store. It is obvious anything you find there is intended to be consumed. There is no other image in the public conscious of "mushroom" competing with the generally accepted knowledge of a grocery store mushroom being something that is eaten. That's why the label is unnecessary. However, if you were a marketing guy and wanted to stress the unexpectedness of a new mushroom drink, you might call it "drinkable mushrooms".

And I think your "incomplete translation" accusation falls apart when you notice that "this new product that is crunchy and aromatic" occurs later on, covering all the bases mentioned on the label: crunchy, edible, aromatic, soy sauce.

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three websites advertising products as "edible something-or-other" to refer to something that is normally a liquid

...a liquid (tea, coffee, beer) intended to be drunk, so the comparison between edible and drinkable isn't as far-fetched as with soy sauce which is never intended to be drunk (unless watered down in noodle soup etc).

you wouldn't write "edible mushrooms" on a package of mushrooms because you would never expect to find mushrooms in liquid form.

No, you wouldn't write edible mushrooms on stuff you wanted to sell because by so doing you're reminding the customer that lots of mushrooms are not edible and will give you a nasty tummy-ache if indeed they don't kill you. That's not an image you want to put in a customer's mind as he looks at your merchandise.

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I hope the following will put this one to bed. Here goes:

For your reading pleasure, three websites advertising products as "edible something-or-other" to refer to something that is normally a liquid, prepared in such a way as to be eaten: http://www.acapellafoods.com/news/coffee_tea_4_07.pdf http://thewizardoffood.com/?p=135 http://www.ediblebeer.com/

All written presumably by marketing guys who are native speakers of English. And these are just skimming the surface. I took maybe two minutes out of my day to find those.

@Shirokuma, you wouldn't write "edible mushrooms" on a package of mushrooms because you would never expect to find mushrooms in liquid form. You're assuming comparisons are inherently made between something and its polar opposite, which just isn't the case. Quick, what is the opposite of walk? I bet you thought "run", but technically speaking, wouldn't it be "doing nothing"?

And what's with the obsession with "sakusaku"? And why is everyone ignoring the gigantic "kobashii" text written right there in the middle? You seem to be working under the assumption that "sakusaku" is modifying the verb "taberu", which may or may not be the case. It might just be an exclamation, which is normal in Japanese advertising. Even if it is part of the actual name of the product, that would make the full, official name "crunchy, edible, aromatic soy sauce" or even (God forbid) "Crunchily edible aromatic soy sauce", both of which are unwiedly and ridiculous sounding and any respectable translator would quickly write around it.

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"soy sauce flakes" could be good - the description says the sauce is freeze-dried into flakes - but again, without actually eating the stuff it's difficult to say whether it would get across the right idea.

"The Soy Sauce You Can Eat!!" with its series potential, is also good.

Both a zillion times better than 'edible'.

("sakusaku" is written bigger on the label than "taberu". I don't think it's incidental.)

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It should be "crunchy soy sauce" or "crispy soy sauce" (have to try eating the stuff to decide which is more appropriate).

I think "soy sauce flakes" would be more understandable to the consumer, despite the gretaer license taken with the translation.

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On the Japanese language side--as Cleo pointed out--this product naming, while literally correct, is mostly playing off of the recent popularity of "Taberu Rayu" -- much the same way half the movies that came out after "Pretty Women" was such a hit seemed to be given "Pretty (something)" prefixes in Japanese.

So we now have "Taberu Shoyu" and "Taberu Yakiniku-no-Tare" and other food innovations on our supermarket shelves.

(The "sakusaku" part is, I think, incidental to the argument... )

If I were translating these product names/labels for the English-language market, I might use "eatable", despite the fact that it sounds vaguely ungrammatical (but isn't, according to the dictionary)--and no one ever accused food marketers of being sticklers for grammar--but I probably wouldn't use "edible", because although it may sound more correct, it quickly conjures up its antonym (which is not "in liquid form" or "drinkable", but "inedible"). You wouldn't slap a label on a package of mushrooms saying "Edible Mushrooms".

I think in the U.S., at least, you'd be likely to see this labeled "The Soy Sauce You Can Eat!!" Followed by a whole series... "The Barbecue Sauce You Can Eat!!... "The Ketchup You Can Eat!!"... etc. :-)

On "Bistro SMAP" the other night, they were even playing around with something they called "Taberu Doresshingu", basically freeze-dried thousand island dressing.

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I reckon it should be "soya sauce in edible form."

It should be "crunchy soy sauce" or "crispy soy sauce" (have to try eating the stuff to decide which is more appropriate).

It's sakusaku taberu shoyu. Translating only the taberu bit and saying it means edible is like translating only the cat in cat o'nine tails and saying that a pretty nasty whip with multiple knotted cords intended to inflict maximum pain is actually just a fluffy moggy. Or translating only the ~panzee bit of chimpanzee and saying that a dirty great ape is actually a pretty little flower.

Or suggesting that Kikkoman's other condiments aren't fit to eat. Down that path lies a law suit!

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@SquidBert

Too many English instructors/ teachers/ lecturers around for your little comment to escape unnoticed!

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Glad to see that my tongue in cheek little comment, triggered a small avalanche of discussions on the English Language.

I just felt Edible sounded kind of funny in the context, and felt this insatiable need to comment on it.

As long as no one calls Soy Sauce "Potable" I will be OK. It might be drinkable(technically speaking), but it is certainly not "fit for drinking"

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Yeah, it's all odd. I reckon it should be "soya sauce in edible form."

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"sciencey" isn't 'obscure'.

who are we accusing of mistranslation?

Whoever it was that did the translation? Maybe a native speaker tidied up the grammar, but the use of 'edible condiment' simply cries out 'mistranslation'.

You're really getting into semantics here.

Er, I would have thought semantics was pretty important when it came to translating stuff, you know, like, getting the meaning across?

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"Potable" is most certainly seen as a more "sciencey", industry term than "edible". Go ahead and do a Google search for each word. A list of products and other common items comes up when you search "edible", but "potable" yields mostly defitions for the word, and even an article by WiseGeek called "What is potable water?"

Also, who are we accusing of mistranslation? The guy who wrote this blurb? Because I don't see any evidence that Kikkoman itself is pushing it as an "edible condiment" or using that label anywhere. But, current discussion notwithstanding, I would hardly call this blurb a "cut-price translation." It actually uses proper grammar and commonly occurring words which, trust me, is a rarity for those bottom of the barrel translation companies.

You're really getting into semantics here. Strictly dictionary-definition speaking, it is physically impossible to "eat" soy sauce as it is. That doesn't mean calling it "drinkable" actually suggests you should drink it in large quantities.

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'Potable' by the way, is not an obscure term at all; it's a very common word used to describe the kind of water desired by people living in areas with poor access to a safe water supply.

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Regular soy sauce, being a liquid, would then technically be "drinkable". So it's not really a mistranslation.

If you think regular soy sauce is 'drinkable' then by all means pour yourself a glass and knock it back. You can have mine, too. :-)

"Edible" in English does not convey the same meaning as 'sakusaku taberu' in Japanese. That makes it a mistranslation.

It isn't a question of whether the stuff in the jar is 'fit to eat' (hence the jokes about good thing it's not inedible). if it wasn't fit to eat they wouldn't be allowed to sell it (mislabelled eels, radioactive beef and glue-quality rice notwithstanding). The name in Japanese tells us about the texture of the product, not whether it will poison you.

There's a similar product that's been out a while now and enjoyed a bit of a boom, called 'Taberu Ra-yu' or 'OKazu Ra-yu'; same idea, instead of a liquid oil that you dip your gyoza in, it's a ra-yu flavoured topping to go on rice.

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Potable yogurt

Yeeuch! You're right there!

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I'm aware of that, but I tend not to overthink it when I write comments in forums. You know how comedians often aren't very funny when they give interviews? Wrtiers are the same way: you kind of flip it on and off like a switch.

Stylistically speaking anyway, for some reason "potable" is a relatively obscure term whereas "edible" is more widely known. Specifically, it's often used in this very context to refer to something that is typically liquid that has been frozen or somehow solidified so it can be eaten. When you go the other way around, solid to liquid, it tends to be described as "drinkable". Remember Go-Gurt? I don't think it would have been nearly as appealing if it was described as "Potable yogurt".

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I write for a living

Then you'll appreciate the fact that "edible" and "potable" form a pair. So do "eatable" and "drinkable". "Edible" and "drinkable" sound odd together. At least to me. :)

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Except that "potable" and "drinkable" are synomyms. Again, from the dictionary: "fit to drink; drinkable"

Let's not do this. I write for a living.

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"Potable", not "drinkable".

"Drinkable" is used by wine snobs to mean "It's nothing special, but you could serve it at a dinner party without embarrassing yourself."

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I think it's "edible" in the sense that you can chew it, not just "edible" in the sense that it won't kill you.

The dictionary definition: "Fit to be eaten as food; Eatable", from Latin "edibilis"; to eat.

Regular soy sauce, being a liquid, would then technically be "drinkable". So it's not really a mistranslation.

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"The jaw, it comes out!"

I once had some sembei that did that. Nasty stuff.

:-P

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Nice one, Cleo!

In a bar in Sapporo, I asked the Mama-san what the secret of her miso soup was.

She told me it was Ago dashi.

I googled it and found a place that sold it, but my Japanese reading is not so good, so I clicked on the "translate" button.

You know how "Ago dashi" came out?

Yup!

"The jaw, it comes out!"

I kid you not!

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Thanks for the translation Cleo, I didn't notice the さくさく part. Not sure I would have understood it meant crispy anyway. It actually sounds quite, good. I think I will try it.

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Me, well I'm just glad it wasn't an un-edible condiment.

lol gotta agree with that....looking at the label though, it seems we have another 'lost in translation' situation. The label says this is a さくさく食べる soy sauce、さくさく(sakusaku) meaning crispy or crunchy. The point being, not that this condiment is 'edible' as opposed to 'inedible' but that it's crunchy soy sauce to use as a topping as opposed to the liquid stuff you dip things in.

Cut-price translations can be expensive in the long run.

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Oishii desu!

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Me, well I'm just glad it wasn't an un-edible condiment.

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