I was looking at this recipe here: https://www.xinshipu.com/zuofa/9787, and noticed the word "生抽“. After inputting it in various online translators, they all said it meant soy sauce. However, the recipe calls for both 生抽 AND 酱油 as separate ingredients, and it wouldn't make sense to require soy sauce twice. Am I just misreading the recipe or are they different things? What better translation is there for 生抽?

  • 1
    Jacky is right about it being light soy sauce in English, a lot of times you'll see the Japanese name also: usukuchi.
    – Mou某
    Apr 17, 2019 at 15:59
  • 生抽 and 酱油 seems like a mistake - the comma should be omitted, as it's just 生抽酱油. However the recipe calls for the two to be used differently, so they are intended as different things - which I'd say was indicative of poor kitchen / recipe-writing skills.
    – Michaelyus
    Apr 17, 2019 at 16:15

5 Answers 5


生抽酱油 (light soy sauce) and 老抽酱油 (dark soy sauce) are two different types of 酱油 (soy sauce). 生抽 is the abbreviation of 生抽酱油 while 老抽 is the abbreviation of 老抽酱油, is the abbreviation of 酱油, also refer to a general name of all kinds of sauces.

  • 1
    Sauces? Not sources?
    – Mou某
    Apr 17, 2019 at 15:49
  • @user3306356 thanks, I also found it and corrected it.
    – xenophōn
    Apr 18, 2019 at 3:03

生抽酱油 (light soy sauce) is salty and light in color, it add flavor to dishes in cooking
老抽酱油 (dark soy sauce) is less salty and dark in color, it make dishes dark brown in color.

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bkrs :生抽 light soy sauce (Russ) superior quality,white, fresh, liquid, soy sauce, iciba: light soy sauce 酱油 soy sauce cf. 生抽 (extracted raw),酱 paste, jam, dial. dense


In the case of the dumpling recipe you linked, both 生抽 AND 酱油 refer to light soy sauce. It is very uncommon to use dark soy sauce for dumpling fillings or dumpling dipping sauce.


酱油 is a generic term that covers several sauces made from fermented food (mainly soy), but can also be used to refer to 生抽.

生抽 and 老抽 are two different kind of sauces made from fermented soy beans. 生抽 is very salty and is used to add savory taste. 老抽 is much milder and is used to add color.

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