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This article is about the food seasoning. For the North Indian script, see Siddhaṃ alphabet. For other uses, see Bunji.

Bonji (본질) is the trademark for a brand name liquid seasoning developed by David Chang, LLC,[1] and marketed by Momofuku. It is made from fermented nuts, grains, or seeds.[2] It is made in a similar process as hozon, however the end result is more analogous to soy sauce where hozon would be similar to miso paste. The name comes from the Korean word meaning "essence." [3]


Bonji is made from a segmentation process that combines koji, salt and a primary substrate, such as cashews, chickpeas, or lentils.[4] Koji acts as the catalyst for fermentation and is added to the other ingredients in a controlled environment to age. During this time complex microbial and enzymatic processes occur and flavors develop.[5] The liquid is strained and bottled.[6]

This process is derived from the Japanese technique for making miso and tamari, though it replaces soy with nontraditional ingredients to create an entirely new product.[7]


When fermentation is complete, the mixture is pressed and strained. Bonji can be used as a condiment, marinade, or seasoning.[8]

Like hozon, bonji originated and is produced in the Momofuku Culinary Lab in 2012.[9] It has also been used by chef Corey Lee at Benu in San Francisco.[10]


  1. ^ "Bönji". Legal Force Trademarkia. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Hui, Ann. "Challenging your palate: Would you try these rotten, mouldy mixtures?." The Globe and Mail. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  3. ^ Kramer. Jane. "The Umami Project." The New Yorker. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  4. ^ Hui, Ann. "Challenging your palate: Would you try these rotten, mouldy mixtures?."
  5. ^ Twilley, Nicola. "The Misofication of Manhattan." edible geography. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  6. ^ Hui, Ann. "Challenging your palate: Would you try these rotten, mouldy mixtures?."
  7. ^ Twilley, Nicola. "The Misofication of Manhattan".
  8. ^ Morgan, Eleanor. “it’s all going off.” Wolf Food Journal. Issue 1 (2013):17-18. Online. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  9. ^ Roman, Alison. "5 Easy Umami Boosters, from Momofuku Culinary Lab." bon appetit. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  10. ^ Lee, Corey. "sample tasting menu." benu. Retrieved 20 September 2013.