Which dish goes well with sake? This is how rice wine becomes a taste experience

Updated January 7, 2021, 4:12 pm

  • Sake, also known as rice wine, is quickly written off by some as boring.
  • The drink can be combined correctly but it can be turned into a true taste experience.

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The whitish cloudy rice wine from Japan is a secret ingredient. If you combine the drink with the right foods, it unfolds its aromas. The misjudgment about sake is perhaps due to the German translation: “Reiswein”. The production of the traditional drink has nothing to do with wine, because it is brewed similar to beer.

This is how sake is made

To make sake, will Rice starch converted into sugar. A fungus initiates the fermentation process, after a few days fermented rice is obtained. This is mixed with freshly steamed rice and water and forms the first mash. After several repetitions and subsequent maturation, the sake is created.

Motoko Watanabe is the owner and sake sommelier in the Japanese restaurant “Zenkichi“in Berlin-Mitte. The restaurant is located in the basement of an unspectacular office building, from the outside there is no sign indicating this special place.

The way to the table is already one experience: The first thing the guest passes through is the closet-sized walk-in refrigerator. 1,500 different bottles of sake are currently stored there. Watanabe imports the sake directly from its country of origin and works with up to 20 breweries. Many small and local businesses are among them.

The right dish to go with the sake is crucial

The specialty of Zenkichi is not only the wide range of sake, but above all the pairing of the drink with selected food. “The matching dish is crucialto the taste and that Aroma of the sake blossom to let. “Like a key that fits into the right lock.

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Let’s start with one Aperitif, an “Ibi White” brand of fermented rice sake. It looks milky, tastes sweet and almost creamy. The chef also serves peachthat made with powder green tea was sprinkled. “It is best to first take a sip of sake in your mouth, then take a bite of the food and then let it unfold on the palate with another sip,” advises Watanabe.

This is how sake tastes even for beginners

Sake is versatile in terms of taste. The food opens doors to your world of taste. Along with the sweetness of the peach the sake tastes like lychee. Its texture is quite soft.

And so every course has a surprise in store. The grilled one Black Alaska Cod will be with a “Tenranzan Koten” paired from 2017. It’s a mix of different vintage sake. Together with the fish, he amazes you with his Toffee flavor.

Of course, if you’re served sake in a restaurant, you can’t go wrong. But how does the layman feel his way? “If you love white wine, I recommend a sake with one fruity, floral aroma“, sagt Watanabe.

So does it Yoshiko Ueno-Müller. She is also trained Sake-Sommelier, runs an online sake shop and offers flavor tastings. “When you drink, you have to create an image in your head,” she says. Almost all of them get started with one sweet “Sparkling Sake” Rightly – similar to a glass of champagne.

This can be combined with sake

Sake goes well with “actually all dishes”. Because: “Sake does not fight with the food, but rather supports it,” says Ueno-Müller

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who Seafood or sashimi eats, it is best to accompany this with one fruity sake with citrus notes. Also to cheese fits sake perfectly: Because the rice wine has umami notes that meet the umami taste in cheese.

To Meat dishes fits in Sake im Kimoto-Style preferably. This sake contains lactic acid, which is a yogurt-like taste in the mouth creates. The acidity harmonizes perfectly with the meat taste.

Sake can be used at will enjoy warm or cold. Motoka Watanabe likes to drink it warm in winter. The sake gets a earthy aroma with a taste of mushrooms. To do this, the sake is heated in a water bath for about three minutes.

In the past, sake was always served warm, recalls Ueno-Müller. Today you don’t necessarily do that anymore. The The perfect drinking temperature for sake is between five and ten degrees. So it can warm itself in the hand and develop its variety of flavors.

Sake was underrated in Japan too

The drink also had a difficult time in the country of origin for a long time: “It was definitely not a cool drink. More like something that your grandparents drank, “says Watanabe. But that has changed in recent years. More and more young people are now interested in the drink. (Spot / dpa)

A joint study by the University of Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico followed over 600 women for six years. Participants who regularly ate both types of vegetables had a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Thumbnail: Getty Images / iStockphoto


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