Why doesn’t the “secret sauce of 100 years” found at yakitori and eel restaurants go off?

There is a secret sauce found at many long-running yakitori and eel restaurants. Some restaurants have been using this sauce for 100 years since its establishment. Since there is sugar and other ingredients in it, one would expect it to go off and jbecause it’s been around for over 100 years, it does not mean that preservatives have been used.

What does it mean when the following is said: “The more famous a restaurant is, the less likely the sauce is to go off”?


It is only because they can do this in restaurants and not at home that they have been able to keep this secret sauce alive.

In this article, I would like to clarify this scientifically.

Pasteurization protects
Pasteurization is a method of sterilization that implements a temperature of 63-68°C. Normal pasteurization is done at high temperatures, but if this is done, the proteins mutate or boil down, which changes the taste. Pasteurization is essential to preserve the flavor, but it takes a long time.

At the restaurants, a very simple method was employed. Grilled yakitori or eel is dipped in sauce, and that’s it. Grilled food is naturally hot, so if you put it in the sauce, the temperature of the sauce rises. If one stirs it too, the temperature of the entire sauce will be at the right temperature for pasteurization.

When it comes to famous (and popular) restaurants, due to the number of customers this process repeats throughout the day, so pasteurization can take place.

This is what is meant by, “the more famous a restaurant is, the less likely the sauce is to go off”.


High salt and sugar content prevents spoiling
The sauce for both yakitori and eel is quite thick. This means that it is high in salt and sugar, which makes the sauce resistant to spoilage.

However, it does not mean that it will not go bad, and there is a big possibility that the sauce will go bad in a restaurant that is not so popular.

Furthermore, since you do not cook 100 yakitori every day at home, you should not over-credit the salt and sugar content alone.

Is there really 100-year-old sauce mixed in with it?
The secret sauce has been carefully nurtured for over 100 years while being passed down from generation to generation. Does that mean it was made 100 years ago? When you think about it, no matter how famous the restaurant is, hygiene is an important matter isn’t it? Don’t worry about this either.

In the case of the best restaurants, the sauce is quickly consumed. Then, additions are made to the reduced portion, but after a month or so, the sauce runs its course and is almost always replaced by a new one.

“This sauce isn’t 100 years old?”, you may be thinking with disappointment.

The advantage is that it is easier to continue to serve the same taste by adding on to the original sauce rather than making it from scratch every time. So, it would make sense to think of it as a flavor that has been loved for 100 years, and not as the same sauce that was used 100 years ago.

A secret taste that can’t be easily replicated at home.

Try it at one of Japan’s famous restaurants.


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