The presence of “Japanese tapas” is essential for enjoying sake to its fullest extent. The strong saltiness of the Japanese tapas spreads the aroma of the sake that fills the mouth, and the strong flavored Japanese tapas are washed away by the sake, making sake and the dishes inseparable. In Japan, there are many different types of Japanese tapas to enjoy with sake in restaurants.
Here are five of my recommendations for dishes to go with sake.
Almost all Japanese people say “salted squid” when they think of Japanese tapas for sake, it is a standard dish for sake.
Salted squid is made by marinating squid in salt and guts and letting it ripen, and the flavor is so concentrated that the saltiness hits you the moment you put it in your mouth. However, if you pour some light sake into your mouth, each flavor remains in your mouth and is also refreshing, making you unable to stop your chopsticks.
Like salted squid, dried squid also has a concentrated flavor, making it a perfect tapa for sake.
Since squid is chewy, I recommend to enjoy it while soaking it in sake in your mouth.
◆Shutou (pickled skipjack tuna)
Literally, Shutou comes from the idea that if you drink alcohol with Shutou as a Japanese tapas, the alcohol will decrease as if it were stolen. This is another recommended Japanese tapa for sake.
Shutou is a type of salted fish made with bonito guts.
Recently, “shutou cheese,” a combination of shutou and cream cheese, has become popular, and the combination of the richness of the cheese goes well with sake.
◆Spicy cod roe
Spicy cod roe pickled in red pepper and other ingredients is also recommended as a Japanese tapa for sake.
Of course, refreshing sake goes well with this dish, but when paired with fruity sake, the spiciness and moderate bitterness of the chili pepper goes perfectly with it.
◆Seasoned octopus with wasabi
Seasoned octopus with wasabi is a salted version of raw octopus mixed with wasabi, sake, salt koji and other seasonings.
The flavor of the octopus and the spiciness of the wasabi stems go well with fruity sake.
Overall, the seafood-based a la carte dishes made for preserving food became my recommendation.
These Japanese tapas go well with rice as well as with sake, so they are often enjoyed with rice.
In Japan, these are also sold at convenience stores. Why not buy them with sake and enjoy them?