Sake and food pairing

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Relish the world of sake!

Let’s ask an expert for fun, delicious ways to enjoy sake, flavor profiles useful for selecting a label, and food that complements sake.

  • Expert tips to enjoy sake
  • Discover your favorite sake
  • Sake and
    food pairing

Japanese sake comes in a spectrum of flavors and aromas, and pairs well with various recipes both light and heavy. Sashimi, tofu, stews flavored with dashi soup stock, and any dish with the sweetness and savor of koji fungus are a good match, since the amino acids (the source of umami, or savory taste) in sake help to bring out the flavor. As a rule of thumb, ingredients and cooking styles based in the same area as the sake brewery are best. For Tokyo-made sake, try dishes made with traditionally local-grown Edo-Tokyo vegetables, or the slightly sweet miso Edo Amamiso. Further, if the brewery is close to the sea, the sake tends to go well with seafood; if the brewery is close to the mountains, the sake tends to go well with wild plants, meat, and miso. This is another fun way of pairing: selecting the food according to the location of the brewery.

Dishes recommended by a restaurateur specializing in Tokyo-made liquor and food ingredients

Dishes recommended by a restaurateur specializing in Tokyo-made liquor and food ingredients

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 100 g Tokyo gamecock (may be substituted with ordinary chicken thighs)
  • 150 g traditional Japanese mustard spinach (may be substituted with ordinary Japanese mustard spinach)
  • 400 cc water
  • 8 g salt
  • 1 pickled plum
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  • 1) Chop the Tokyo gamecock into bite-size pieces, and the Japanese mustard spinach into 5 cm pieces
  • 2) Pour the sesame oil into a skillet and cook the gamecock until lightly browned
  • 3) Add water, salt, and pickled plum, and cook for 3 minutes while removing scum
  • 4) Add the Japanese mustard spinach, and cook for 1 more minute

Kameido daikon radish and asari clams steamed in sake

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 1 Kameido daikon radish (may be substituted with aokubi-daikon with leaves)
  • 200 g Edo-mae asari clams in the shell (maybe substituted with ordinary asari clams)
  • 3 tbsp sake

Instructions

  • 1) Chop the daikon leaves into 3 cm pieces and arrange on a plate
  • 2) Add de-sanded and rinsed asari clams, and julienned daikon radish
  • 3) Pour sake over the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and steam over high heat for 15–20 minutes
    * When the clams open, taste and add a pinch of salt or drop of soy sauce as needed (not included in list of ingredients)

Katsuhiko Sato

Katsuhiko Sato is owner of Oshiage Yoshikatsu (5-10-2 Narihira, Sumida-ku), a monjayaki pancake restaurant specializing in Tokyo-sourced ingredients. Sato stocks every brand of sake and shochu made in Tokyo, and zips through the city every day to procure Edo-Tokyo vegetables. He has authored Edo-Tokyo Vegetables and earned numerous food-related qualifications including master of sake, sake sommelier, shochu adviser, and junior vegetable sommelier.

Top 5 sake accompaniments and seasonings

Tokyo-made sake is best paired with Tokyo-made food. This section presents popular accompaniments and specialty seasonings from the Izu and Ogasawara islands, available at Tokyo Ai Land.

Top 5 sake accompaniments

Top 5 seasonings

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