The best condiments have a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors and short ingredient lists with few or no preservatives. Such high-quality mustards, relishes, and dressings are widely available, but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between ho-hum products with low-quality ingredients and the perfectly balanced topper. Here are 11 easy-to-find replacements for the condiments you'll find in any fridge.
Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu Soy Sauce
Industrial soy sauce is like drinking liquid salt. Avoid that and look for the complex flavors of artisanal soy sauce that coaxes out the best in Asian food such as good sushi and hearty noodle bowls. There are two basic kinds of soy sauce in U.S. stores: Japanese shoyu, a dark soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and wheat, and Chinese soy sauce, commonly made with fermented soybeans only. Go with Japanese shoyu for its rich umami flavor and sweeter, sherrylike qualities. The Marukin and Ohsawa brands are worth every penny. [Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu, $12 for 10 oz; goldminenaturalfoods.com, and Marukin Shiboritate Shoyu, about $6 for 17.6 oz; amazon.com or good Japanese markets]