Staying home all the time is boring. How do you cope with your boredom? To let you have a more meaningful and fun time, in mid-August, Saketora has held our first-ever online sake festival on the theme of matching sake with food delivery menu, a 3-day Facebook live show joined by 2 leading sake critics from Japan. Having received many questions during and after the festival, we have recapped the tips learnt from it. 3 special sets are also available so that you can taste the same sake we have tried while learning again the food pairing tips. With time-limited discount up to 15% off, definitely don’t miss out!
Understand Milky and Fruity Flavors.
Burgers with Sake Is Totally Okay.
Matching sake with fast food like burgers is a whole new idea, but as long as you can differentiate the milky and fruity characters of a sake, it is not that difficult. On Day 1, we realized a fresh and fruity sake such as Irootoko Junmai Daiginjo or Ninki-Ichi Sparkling Junmai Daiginjo can go well with simple and light dishes like fried fish. The acidity in tartar sauce of Filet-O-Fish can also complement the sweetness in fruity sake. Meanwhile, the milky flavors of Hakutaka Junmai Daiginjo also goes well with cheese burgers while the yoghurt-like acidity can help cleanse the oiliness of fried chicken.
To Match Chinese and Western Dishes,
Intensity and Temperature Matters.
There are many variations in Western and Chinese dishes, so on Day 2, we tried to pair the starters and main dishes with different types of sake – fresh & fruity type (Ouro Daiginjo), sweet & fruity type (Prototype Junmai Daiginjo), milky type (Hakutaka Junmai Daiginjo), and matured type (Deer Special Junmai). To put it simply, fresh and fruity type goes the best with light and simple starters like octopus salad and Chinese jellyfish salad. To pair with the appetizers that have heavier flavors such as pork siu mai or Parma ham, a fuller-bodied sake would create a better harmony, so the sweet and fruity type perform better.
As for the main dish, if it is made from cheese, milky type would be the best choice. However, for Cantonese main dishes made with oyster sauce, as they are more savory and sweeter, matured type would be better. Also, since the umami and milky flavors would become more expressive when a sake is warmed, to create a better harmony with a hot dish, try to serve it at room temperature or even slightly warmed.
How to Pair with Japanese or Korean Food? One Word: Balance.
Japanese and Korean dishes seem extreme, so on Day 3, we did the food pairing with very diverse types of sake including dry & light type (Taio Daiginjo), fruity & tart type (Temahima Yamadanishiki), rice-flavor-forward type (Wajo Special Junmai) and robust type (Sakuramasamune Daiginjo Genshu). Overall, to pair with light Japanese food like sashimi, both dry and fruity type can strike a balance. Yet, for the fish like salmon and yellowtail which contains more oil or fishy smell, you may go for a sake with higher acidity because it can cut through the oiliness and smell lingering on your palate.
Meanwhile, for the dishes with more savory and heavy flavors such as Korean Buchimgae and Japanese beef rice bowl, a sake rich in umami and rice flavors can lead to a better harmony. A robust sake can beyond doubt go well with savory food, but remember balance is the key, so you may adjust the intensity of the sake by adding some ice cubes as well!