Posts Tagged Under: Japanese cuisine

  • BLOG


As you may know, Japan is a country of gourmet. According to a Michelin restaurant guide 2015, there are 12 three stared restaurants, 53 two stared restaurants, and as many as 161 one stared restaurants in Tokyo. When you come to Japan, perhaps you do not want to miss some of those finest restaurants, especially Japanese ones. However, sushi, tempura and kaiseki restaurants are hard to book for foreign travelers because of the language barrier. Usually you have to make a phone call directly to the restaurants and most of them do not speak English. If you want to book, you have to call them in Japanese. The best way is to ask your friend who speak Japanese or hotel concierge.

You may think it Read More

  • BLOG
By far the most common you are likely to get from Japanese people, especially those who have limited or no experience in western countries, is “Can you use chopsticks?”
For a less-than-fluent English speaker, this is often the easiest question to ask, and many Japanese are unaware of the prevalence of chopsticks in households and restaurants throughout the rest of the world.
However, in Japan, the more important issue is not how to use chopsticks, but how to NOT use them. Here are three handy rules for handling them like a native:
1. Never leave chopsticks sticking up vertically in your food
Buddhists funeral rites involve placing a pair of chopsticks vertically in a bowl of uncooked rice. Doing the same at a dinner table Read More
  • BLOG

sugidama green  sugidama brown

When you see a plant boll hung under the eaves, it is a sign of sake. It is usually brown but sometimes green. This ball, made from cedar leaves, is called sugi-dama (杉玉), literally means a cedar ball, and its color represents the matureness of sake.

Originally, sake was stocked in a barrel made from cedar tree and sake makers made a ball with cedar leaves. When the sake is freshly stored in the barrel in winter, the ball is still green. And as sake gets mature, the cedar ball turns to brown. However, now days less pubs hang a cedar ball to show the matureness of sake. It is used Read More

  • BLOG


Sake can be called rice wine and the process is similar to that of wine. Sake is made by fermenting rice like wine is made of grapes. In terms of brewing process, the major difference between wine and sake is glucose; grapes contain glucose whereas rice does not. During wine brewery process, grapes are fermented by yeast and ethanol is made during the process. Sake requires one more step to convert starch into glucose. For this process, koji mold*, or aspergillus oryzae, plays a very important role. Koji mold creates various enzymes which convert starch into glucose and these enzymes define the taste of sake. Technically it is very delicate process, therefore, usually sake breweries do not open this process to Read More

  • BLOG

Daiginjo is the most expensive sake as it uses only core part of rice; more than half of the rice should be polished to make daiginjo. But there are two types of daiginjo which are junmai-daiginjo and plain daiginjo. As we learned the difference between junmai-shu and jozo-shu, now you can guess junmai-daiginjo should not contain added alcohol. Plain daiginjo is made of water, highly polished rice and added alcohol and is a part of jozo-shu.

Then quality of plain daiginjo is lower? Not necessarily. As mentioned, alcohol is added to adjust the flavor or taste, and whether to add it or not depends on regional preferences. Taste of sake is tightly related with local culture and cuisine and some Read More

  • BLOG


If you are a sake lover, you may have heard that junmai-shu is better sake than jozo-shu. Is it correct? Not necessarily. Now let’ learn about some basics of sake. I checked several English information on junmai-shu and jozo-shu, but I think non of them explains the difference very well.

First of all, sake can be categorized into two big groups; junmai-shu and jozo-shu. (Honjozo is one type of jozo-shu.) Junmai-shu is made only from water and rice, and the alcohol is naturally brewed during the process whereas in jozo-shu, alcohol is added at the end of the making process to the flavor. According to a sake maker, it is true that it requires more technics to create good flavor without adding Read More

  • BLOG

If you already know the basics about sake, you should know the categories such as daiginjo, ginjo, and junmai-shu. It is well known that daiginjo is the most expensive one. Why? Because the category mentioned above is defined by the percentage of rice polishing, and more than 50% of the rice surface should be polished to make daiginjo. The surface of the rice is polished in order to remove smell of the rice skin. (A piece of rice is approximately 5mm high and 2mm wide; imagine how delicate process it is.)

Daiginjo and ginjo, both composed with a term “ginjo”(吟醸), have fruitful flavor and it is suitable for beginners or white wine lovers. Daiginjo is the sake that only uses more Read More

  • BLOG


You may have seen in a film that a samurai drinks up sake in a small shot glass. And you may have tried sake and felt it very strong. So drink up every shot of sake within a second? Wait. Sake is totally different from shot -it is more wine than gin or vodka. The proper way of enjoying sake is to enjoy its flavor and marriage with food.

Like wine has various labels from different regions, sake also has variety of labels. I’d give you some tips how to choose sake for sake beginners. Keep in your mind the terms daiginjo-shu, ginjo-shu, and junmai-shu which are type of flavors*. Very roughly saying (yes, this is very rough), daiginjo-shu is most fruitful and often has light sweetness. It is good Read More

  • BLOG


When you’ve been to a good Japanese restaurant in your country, you may have tried sake. But was it really good? Maybe yes, it should have been so fantastic. But if you were unlucky, you might have tasted something untasty. Why?

Unlike wine, most of sake (even the ones in foreign markets) do not contain sulfites or any other antioxidant. Which means, Sake is fragile to the change of temperature and air. Unstable temperature and oxygen easily damage the flavor and taste. Sake bottles should be treated very carefully to keep the temperature at the same level. And once the bottle was opened, you have to finish it within a day. However, some restaurants keep big bottles (1800ml bottle is common for Read More