It's an authentic taste of Japan -- no matter where you are. Marukome USA, Irvine, Calif., has gone into national retail distribution with a variety of miso products, including refrigerated salad dressing, marinades, sauces and  pastes.

A unit of Japan's Marukome Co. Ltd., Nagano, Marukome USA has been making products stateside, in Irvine, since 2007.

Miso, probably known best in the United States as soup, is a fermented paste made of soybeans and rice or barley.  A staple of the Japanese diet, Miso Soup is the most important part of a Japanese breakfast.  Officials note that -- just like yogurt -- there are positive digestive bacilli produced in the fermentation process so miso also has the benefit of providing amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.