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Pairing Sake With Non-Japanese Foods

Brewed like a beer and drunk like a wine, there is a classic Japanese saying that 'sake doesn't fight with food'. To celebrate World Sake Day on October 1st, we quizzed Natsuki Kikuya, Sake Educator at WSET, former sake sommelier at Zuma & Roka in London and co-developer of the WSET Level 3 Award in Sake, about what to pair with this delicious and popular Japanese drink.



'It's easy to assume that you can only pair sake with Japanese cuisine but this is definitely not the case! It's such a versatile drink that can be enjoyed alongside a whole range of different dishes. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.'


Sake and cheese: 'The fact that lactic acid is one of the main acids found in sake means that it's a drink that can make an excellent accompaniment to dairy products. Bring on the cheeseboard!'


'I suggest the following:

  • Aromatic and fruity daiginjo sake with fresh goats' cheese or blue cheese

  • Rounded and soft junmai sake with Manchego or Gouda

  • Kimoto or yamahai, rich in umami, goes so well with Emmental or Comté'


Sake and seafood:

'Sake contains plenty of umami, which are types of amino acids that express delicious savoury flavours.'


'Sake is a great way to cleanse the palate, neutralising any strong, fishy flavours from seafood as well as enhancing its savoury elements.

  • The creamy textures of junmai harmonise well with fresh oysters.

  • Rich but pure ginjo style sake works brilliantly with the meatiness of lobster or scallops.

  • Caviar is often considered difficult to pair with wine, but daiginjo contains similar molecules to the fish roe and makes for the perfect pairing'


'There's a whole world of sake just waiting to be discovered - and World Sake Day is the perfect opportunity to give it a try if you haven't already!'




Deputy Editor, Chatting Food London: Amanda David

Amanda David is a freelance food writer specialising in London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and events. She is the Events Editor and a contributing writer for London Cheapo and a regular contributor to Palate Magazine.


Follow Amanda at:

Instagram: @LondonGAT

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