Did you know?
Soy sauce and sushi
Credit: Getty / Radist

Soy sauce is without a doubt an MVP kitchen ingredient — whether dousing a stir fry in it, adding it to a yummy marinade, or turning it into a go-to dunking sauce for pot stickers, we all know the value of keeping a bottle stocked.

And speaking of the container: If you purchase the iconic short, tapered bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce for your kitchen, you may have noticed there's not one but two spouts on either side of the bright red lid. 

The mainstay Japanese soy sauce brand has been using the signature container design since 1961—clearly, it's working well. So why the two openings?

No, it's not to make you spill and splash a bunch over a homemade noodle bowl (or, if you're me, a tray of takeout eel nigiri). The opposite: The two spouts on either side on top of the bottle are actually meant to keep that issue from happening.

So what's that second hole for?

When both holes are open, it's easy to do a quick, heavy pour — ideal for cooking. But when you need a more precise or smaller amount, simply hold your finger over the top hole as you lower the bottle. Then you can control how much sauce comes out by holding and releasing your fingertip, even down to just a few drops. The result? Smoother pouring and no accidently doused sashimi.  

This technique is exactly how these soy sauce bottles were designed to work. According to The New York Times, it took three years and 100 prototypes for inventor Kenji Ekuan and his team to arrive at the dispenser's transparent teardrop shape. And they landed on the innovative, dripless spout, which is based on a teapot's but inverted, and gives a nod to the traditional Japanese container for dispensing the sauce. 

Basically, it's designed to keep you from making a mess and is quite the example of thoughtful design—now go try out your new knowledge on a hearty helping of Szechuan chicken stir fry!