This Vegan Mentsuyu is an umami-rich Japanese Noodle Soup Base thats made from soy sake, sake, mirin, kombu and shiitake mushrooms. A must have ingredient to make delicious Japanese food!

Mentsuyu is versatile Japanese concentrate most commonly used for soba and udon noodle dishes. The umami-rich flavours come from soy sauce, mirin, sake, kombu and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). However, this can easily be made vegan be substituting the dried bonito flakes for shiitake mushrooms and kombu dashi powder!

Types of Mentsuyu:

  • Kaketsuyu – for noodle soups, hot or cold
  • Tsuketsuyu – used for dipping your noodles, typically served chilled

Vegan Mentsuyu Ingredients

Mentsuyu typically uses bonito flakes (fish) to make a umami-rich noodle broth. To achieve a similar flavour while keeping it vegan, we’re going to be using kombu, shiitake mushrooms and dashi. These three ingredients are staples in my pantry because they give off so much flavour for any dish that requires fish stock. Find these ingredients easily at asian markets or amazon!

How to Make Vegan Mentsuyu

Making your own Japanese noodle broth from scratch is super easy!

  1. Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms to get any residual dirt off of them. Soak them in hot water for around 10 minutes, until semi-rehydrated (they will release more flavour this way)
  2. Over medium high heat, add in the sake and cook off some of the liquid.
  3. Then just add in the left over soaking water, soy sauce, mirin, kombu and dashi. Let it simmer for around 5 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, strain the solids and make some delicious Japanese noodles!!

How to store Mentsuyu

This Mentsuyu keeps well for up to 2 weeks in the fridge stored in a air tight jar or in the freezer for months. Freeze them into ice cube trays for easy use! Use up the left over solids for other dishes such as Takikomi Gohan (Japanese Mixed Rice).

What to use Mentsuyu for?

Mentsuyu is purpose and used for a variety of dishes, but is most commonly used as a base for noodle soups. This Japanese Noodle Soup Base recipe is very concentrated it’s best to dilute it with some water. Typically I find the perfect ratio to be 1 part Mentsuyu to 2-4 parts water, depending on what the rest of the recipe calls for. Some dishes that use mentsuyu are:

  • Zaru Soba (Soba noodles dipped in chilled mentsuyu)
  • Tanuki Udon (Chilled Japanese Udon Noodles
  • Kitsune Udon (Hot Japanese Udon Noodles)
  • and more!

If you recreate this Vegan Mentsuyu recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

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mentsuyu (japanese soup base)


This Vegan Mentsuyu is an umami-rich Japanese Noodle Soup Base thats made from soy sake, sake, mirin, kombu and shiitake mushrooms.





  1. Rinse and add the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of hot water for around 10 minutes, or until it’s rehydrated. 
  2. In medium sauce pan over medium high heat, add sake and bring to boil. Allow the alcohol to evaporate for a few seconds.
  3. Add in mirin, soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, kombu and dashi. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Turn off and allow it to cool down. Strain the solids and store the liquid in a air tight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • Serving Size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 25
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 860mg
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 5
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 1
  • Cholesterol: 0


japanese noodle soup base in a jar

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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