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Ponzu shoyu (left) and fugu.
Ponzu shoyu and tuna steak

Ponzu (ポン酢?) is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and a dark brown color. Ponzu shōyu or ponzu jōyu (ポン酢醤油) is ponzu sauce with soy sauce (shōyu) added, and the mixed product is widely referred to as simply ponzu.

The term originally came into the Japanese language as ponsu as a borrowing of the now-obsolete Dutch word pons, meaning punch as in a beverage made from fruit juices. The sour nature of this sauce led to the final su being spelled with the character 酢 (su?) meaning vinegar.[1][2][3]

Ponzu is made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (from tuna), and seaweed (kombu) over medium heat. The liquid is then cooled, strained to remove the katsuobushi flakes, and finally the juice of one or more of the following citrus fruits is added: yuzu, sudachi, daidai, kabosu, or lemon.

Commercial ponzu is generally sold in glass bottles, which may have some sediment. Ponzu shoyu is traditionally used as a dressing for tataki (lightly grilled, then chopped meat or fish), and also as a dip for nabemono (one pot dishes) such as shabu-shabu. It is used as a dip for sashimi. In the Kansai region, it is offered as a topping for takoyaki.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9
  3. ^ 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, ISBN 4-09-501211-0