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Japanese Sake Meets Asian Cuisine! How to Pick the Right Sake for Taiwanese or Hong Kong Dishes
There is a wide variety of Japanese sake out there, including those with drier and sweeter flavors, and they go well not just with Japanese cuisine, but international foods as well! Here's a guide to a few Asian dishes, including Taiwanese dishes, and Japanese sake that pair well with them.
Japanese Sake Pairs Well With Chili Crab!
Chili crab is among Singapore's most famous and recognizable dishes, enjoyed by mixing whole chunks of crab with a spicy chili sauce. For a dish like this, you want a light, sweet Japanese sake that doesn't compete with the hearty, savory flavors of the crab.
We particularly recommend the "FISHERMAN SOKUJO" sake from Shiokawa Sake Sake Brewery. This is a sweet and refreshing Japanese sake with a fruity taste, which pairs well with seafood dishes such as crab or shrimp. Try it in place of white wine next time!
For a Meat Dish...
If you're looking for a Japanese sake that pairs well with meat, try "COWBOY YAMAHAI." This Japanese sake was crafted to work with all kinds of meat dishes throughout the world and has recently gotten considerable attention. Its higher alcohol content and acidity helps to wash down the hearty, heavy meat.
As mentioned, the sake works with a wide variety of dishes, but one particular recommendation is Hong Kong-style roast chicken. It's fried at a low temperature for a longer period of time, which keeps in the delicious, savory juices. Take a bite, and the juices flood your mouth! This dish and the "Cowboy Yamahai" complement each other excellently and will keep your appetite going!
Does Japanese Sake Work With Taiwanese Cuisine?
Taiwanese minced pork rice is another excellent option. This consists of minced pork that is stewed with garlic, ginger, and other sweet and sour seasonings. It works well with a "junmaishu" (a Japanese sake made with only rice, water, and koji, i.e. no added sugar or alcohol), and we particularly recommend the Nopa from the Shiokawa Sake Brewery. This is a full-bodied Japanese sake that pairs well with strongly-flavored foods.
Try This Taiwanese Side Dish, Too!
Another dish to try with Japanese sake is "hei bai qie," a Taiwanese side dish that consists of steamed or parboiled meat and seafood that is cut into bite-sized pieces and mixed with a sweet and sour soy sauce-based sauce. This also works well with a junmaishu.
Pair Food With Japanese Sake to Make Your Meal Even More Delicious!
In Japan it's common to pair food with Japanese sake. Picking a drink with a similar flavor profile as the dish can create a synergy that brings out the best of both. The following categories are a simple guide that you should keep in mind the next time you're looking for a Japanese sake to pair with a dish:
・kunshu (薫酒): very fragrant
・soshu (爽酒): a refreshing taste
・junshu (醇酒): a full-bodied taste, where the savory flavors within the rice are apparent
・jukushu (熟酒): a mature fragrance, a thicker texture, and a rich flavor
For example, sashimi is a dish with a relatively light flavor, so soshu is the best pairing option.
A broader, simpler shorthand is to classify Japanese sake into "karakuchi" or "amakuchi" (roughly, dry and sweet). Dry sake pairs with salty, strongly-flavored foods, while sweet sake is more suited for sour or sweet foods.
Temperature is another variable you should experiment with: Japanese sake can be served chilled, at room temperature, or warm, and the flavor of the sake can significantly change depending on your choice.
Did any of these Japanese sake pique your interest? Try having Japanese sake with all sorts of Asian cuisines, and see what works best for you!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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