Food Artisans: Soy Hound

Food Artisans

A different New York artisan every week.


[Photograph: Stephanie Klose]

After spending time in Thailand and Japan, Nayana Pornchewangkul, and Victor Yee returned to the States and started looking for a good source for the fresh, unadulterated soy milk they'd enjoyed in Asia.

"The soy milk in the U.S. is made to taste like cow's milk," Pornchewangkul explains, "It was hard to find one that tasted like soybeans."

So they started experimenting with making their own, eventually starting a company, Soy Hound, to bring fresh soy milk to the masses. The process begins with whole, organic, non-GMO soybeans, which are washed and soaked for eight to ten hours. After the soaking, they're ground with water in a stone grinding machine and filtered through fine mesh. The resulting liquid is boiled, at which time a flavoring agent such as fresh ginger or tea leaves might be added, strained again, and bottled. Their milks come in original, green tea, Thai tea, ginger, and peanut butter, with a chocolate flavor in the works. Though the different flavors are easily distinguishable and recognizable, the bean itself is the main thing you taste. You know you're drinking soy milk that's been flavored with ginger, for example, not a ginger beverage.

"We just want to keep it simple and natural," Yee says, "and let the flavor of the soybean shine through."

That taste is something that will likely prove surprising to most people who are used to the widely available soy milk that comes in shelf-stable boxes, and has been treated with thickeners and preservatives and ingredients designed to mask the way it tastes.

"[Soy Hound] is what soy milk is supposed to taste like" Pornchewangkul says, adding that they urge samples on passersby at Smorgasburg and store visits because the subtly sweet and vegetal beverage "changes people's perceptions." (Truth be told, I detest most soy milk, but think theirs is great, especially the fragrant, lightly spiced Thai tea flavor.)

They make soy milk weekly and will deliver directly to customers the day after it's made, generally collecting orders by Friday, cooking on Saturday, and making deliveries on Sunday each week, though they're willing to be flexible for larger orders.

While they like the original flavor with cereal or granola and suggest making smoothies with green tea, peanut butter, or original, Yee and Pornchewangkul generally prefer just drinking their soy milk. In addition to the 12 oz. bottles, they've recently begun selling a 32 oz. size on their website and hope to have it in stores soon. To order or for a list of stores and websites that sell Soy Hound, visit their site.