What foods pair best with sake?
- Sushi and sashimi
- Fried fish and seafood
- Fatty fish and meats
- Vegetable dishes and salads
- Thai food
- Grazing platters
While we all know that sake pairs well with Japanese food, did you know that there are a number of other dishes all over the world that this refreshing drink also complements? In this article, we’re focusing on sake, and what exactly makes it such a good partner to food. As a bonus, we’ll also provide some sake and food pairings for you to try on your own or with a loved one. Enjoy!
What Makes Sake a Versatile Food Partner?
Compared to most wines, sake can be paired with a wider range of foods. The reason for this mostly stems from its composition. It contains much lower acidity, iron, and sulfites, allowing it to pair more easily with seafood.
Dishes with high acidity like salads and pickles also pair well. Most of all, its amino acid-rich content brings out flavors from food, reacting with the food’s umami components and giving it a deeper flavor.
In What Ways Can You Pair Foods with Sake?
There are two ways you can pair foods with sake: you can match flavors intensities, aromas, temperature, and the like, or you can contrast tastes.
More often than not, the rule with sake is to match the profile of your food to that of your sake. Because there are so many sake variations, you can do this in a number of ways.
You can match according to flavor intensity (rich-flavored sake with rich-flavored foods, for example) or region (sake from seaside breweries with seafood vs. sake from inland breweries with earthy ingredients).
You can match fresh sake with fresh vegetables and fruit, and aged sake with pickles and aged cheese. Warm sake goes well with warm food while chilled sake complements cold food. We’re sure you get the idea.
On the other hand, when it comes to the actual taste of the sake, it’s even better to pair opposite tastes. For example, sweet sake shouldn’t be sipped with dessert, as that will just be overwhelming. Instead, contrast bitter and acidic foods with sweet sake for a well-balanced meal.
What foods pair great with sake?
Finally, on to the part you’ve been waiting for—let’s see what foods go best with sake!
Sushi and Sashimi
Is it any surprise that the most iconic Japanese food has made it onto this list? There’s no question that sashimi and sushi taste great with sake—after all, they’re staples of the same culture and history.
Fried Fish and Seafood
Lightly fried seafood pairs great with light and slightly fruity fragrance sake. The delicate texture of fish and the crunchiness of fried seafood like tempura can be perfectly contrasted by floral-based sake.
You can pair your favorite fish with Dassai 39 Junmai Daiginjo! This sake is loaded with a fruit basket of flavors. It has hints of pear, blueberry, and honeydew that give it its lively and velvety taste.
Fatty Fish and Meats
We mentioned light foods in the previous section, but that doesn’t mean sake doesn’t go well with heavy meats, too. Toro fish, pork belly, and even rib-eye steak are great pairings for dry and slightly astringent sake, which cuts through the grease and cleanses your palate.
Another classic Japanese dish, this full-flavored meal paired with a cup of sake has been a staple of Japanese culture for centuries. Take a leaf from their book and try it yourself!
Pair your next ramen meal with the Gekkeikan Traditional Sake, the world’s most popular Junmai-shu!
Vegetable Dishes and Salads
As we mentioned above, high-acidity foods pair great with sake because of sake’s own low acidity compared to other wines. A delicate, aromatic sake with stone fruit notes goes great with a light salad.
Whether it’s Japanese barbecue or smoked and grilled meats from anywhere else in the world, the charcoal taste is perfect with full-bodied sake served cold. To match aromas, you can also opt for sake with a roasted aroma.
Remember what we said about strong flavors going well with strong-flavored sake? Well, there are few cuisines in the world more flavorful than Thai. You can also sip on a sweet sake to offset fiery, spicy Thai options. Why not try the Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai for this cuisine?
White or red wine might be common choices for pairing with cheeses and other items on a grazing plate, but more and more people are discovering that sake is just as delicious and effective at bringing out their flavor. Why not consider this for your next aperitif?
Where can you find the best sake?
As always, we’ll end on a high note by recommending the best place to source your sake in the Philippines—Ralph’s Wines and Spirits! We’ll even suggest one of our best sakes for you to try next time you want something different.
The Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo is one of the most rated, popular drinks among all the spirits on our site, and for good reason. Polished down to only 45%, this sake has a generously flavorful mouthfeel, smooth texture, and a refreshing finish that will leave you hungry for more. You might want to buy more than one bottle—we have limited stock of this particular drink!
We hope this article on sake and food pairings has delighted and informed you about the many ways sake can be drunk. We’ll be focusing on sake for much of this month, just because, so don’t forget to grab a bottle of our bestselling sakes soon!