The Marriage of sake and food_Food and Sake paring
Japanese people love sake. We drink sake with small snacks and foods. Sake is made of rice grain and each region has specialities for food and sake.
For example, Yamanashi prefercture is surrounded by the mountain as Mt. Fuji is located. Local people eat gibier, roots vegetable and noodle with dense miso soup. Then, Yamanashi’s wine tends to be sweeter than others and it has deep rice flavor, which perfectly matched with their local foods.
On the other hand, Nigata prefercture faces The Sea of Japan, which a plenty of fishes inhabit. Their sake is bitter like white wine and it matches light and delicate fish cuisine.
So, sake has a million of ways to make combinations with cuisines. Today, I would like to give typical combinations from my tasting events and experiences.
1. Meat or other oily&dense cuisines
In my opinion, Jyunmai-syu(純米酒) suits with this type of cuisine. Because jyunmai-syu is made of rice, malted rice and water. It tastes sweet. Also, it has deep and rich rice flavor. It matches with meat oil and other dense sources. Plus, fish with batter such as sole or salmon meunière.
2. Starter, fresh salad and fish cuisine
For this type of cuisine, Gonjuro-syu(吟醸酒) is the best. Ginjo-syu is added distilled alcohol and it makes sake dry taste. It’s fermented in low temperature and it creates elegant flavor, called ginjyo-ka(吟醸香). So, you shouldn’t drink with strong flavor snacks. It will ruin sake’s taste.
For this, I would recommend starter cuisines such as white flesh fish, olive, carpaccio. If you drink sake in Japanese restaurant, vegetable Tempura would be good choice.
3. Oysters, northern shrimp and other fresh seafoods
If you are from seaside city, you would love fresh oyster with lemon&vinegar(I love it too). In my opinion, Japanese oyster and northern shrimp are as tasty as the top level of European seafoods. If you have a chance to visit at Japanese harbor cities such as Sendai(仙台) or Kanazawa(金沢), you would see oysters. It has compact shell and you will see a big oyster inside of it! I would say that it is as gorgeous experience as being in Michelin restaurant.
Anyways, back to the topic, you would like to have Namazake(生酒) for those cuisines. Namazake is special type of sake. Normally, sake go through heating process to kill bacteria and germs, but Namazake does not take this process or it has heating process just once. Because of this, Namazake has very refreshing taste and it does come along with fresh seafoods.