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Soy sauce in your Donut? Why not?

Chef Sonny Mariano, senior pastry chef and head of research and development of Poison Coffee and Doughnut, created a soy sauce-based doughnut line that the brand recently rolled out.



Soy sauce? Yes. there is soy sauce in your donut, and it’s good. You probably never thought it would work. Using a savory seasoning to add a unique flavor to a sweet treat is, after all, not conventional practice in baking.

But it has been done, and some creative minds still attempt to find the perfect contrasting ingredients that could work together harmoniously. Chef Sonny Mariano, senior pastry chef and head of research and development of Poison Coffee and Doughnut, created a soy sauce-based donut line that the brand recently rolled out. The three variants: Kikko Shoyu Bonito, Kikko Man and Kikkonana.

Kikko Shoyu Bonito is a typical donut with a hole, but everything else about it is unique. It has a wasabi white chocolate glaze with soy sauce frosting sprinkled with bonito flakes. Wasabi, Japanese horseradish paste, is used as a condiment for sushi, sashimi and maki in tandem with Kikkoman soy sauce. Bonito flakes, also known as katsuobushi, is thinly shaved dried fish often sprinkled on top of takoyaki, okonomiyaki, cold soba noodles and cold tofu. In tandem with kombu (dried kelp or seaweed), bonito flakes are the main ingredients of dashi, a broth that serves as flavor base for many Japanese soups and sauces.

Kikko Man is a soy-glazed donut filled with soy sauce buttercream. The surprisingly light-colored buttercream filling blends into the soft, and finely textured donut, but you can really taste the creaminess of the filling twirling harmoniously with the soy glaze on your palate with each bite.

Kikkonana is a kinako-dusted soy sauce and miso-glazed donut filled with banana pudding. Widely used in Japanese cooking, kinako is roasted soybean flour that adds a nutty character to the donut. Soy sauce and miso are mixed to create a one-of-a-kind glaze for the donut which, when dusted with kinako, creates a subtly sweet treat for your taste buds.


All three donuts are available every day for P105 per piece at Poison Coffee and Doughnuts at The Alley, Karrivin Plaza, Makati City. Highly recommended to pair with coffee, they are best enjoyed at room temperature or slightly warmed.

From the names of the three soy sauce-based donuts, it’s obvious that the soy sauce used was Kikkoman.

Kikko Shoyu Bonito and Kikko Man.

“Kikkoman has the right amount of saltiness that gives our recipes a perfect balance where you can still taste the soy sauce, but at the same time avoid making it too salty or cloying. Its umami flavor cuts through all the sweetness and goes very well with the creaminess of our fillings and glazes,” explains Sonny, who drew inspiration for his soy sauce-based donuts from a recent food trend on social media early this year.

He adds: “There was a challenge on social media to add soy sauce to vanilla ice cream. The combination works because it creates a salted caramel-like flavor profile. Then, when I checked online, I found out that it used to be a trend in Japan more than two years ago. I guess the pandemic boredom brought it back.”

And so Sonny took the returning trend to his donut kingdom, Poison Coffee and Doughnuts, and worked on his new soy sauce-based doughnut line. Perfecting the recipes in two to three weeks’ time, he and his team launched the Kikko trio in July, and the response has been overwhelming. It comes at the heels of other “risky and different” donuts created by Poison, such as the well-loved
kakanin-stuffed donuts in 2020 and the flavored chips coated ones (Cheetos, BBQ Doritos and Ruffles) launched earlier this year.

Photographs by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for the Daily Tribune

Looking at donuts as a fun and versatile food that people can eat any time of the day and something that “sweet-relieves stress,” Sonny is expected to come up with another unique and exciting donut series soon. He is, in fact, already working on an idea for the holiday season, but, sorry, no clues just yet on what the new set of flavors will be.

Orders may be placed through Poison Coffee and Doughnuts’ website ( or through, Off-Grid, Grab, foodpanda and Pickaroo.

And, oh, if you’re wondering why such delightful donuts are branded as Poison, check out its slogan: “Dangerous coffee. Deadly doughnuts.”