Last Updated: September 30, 2020
The Japan Rice and Rice Industry Export Promotion Association, which is working to develop overseas demand and expand exports of sake and rice-related food products, is bringing you a trove of Japanese delights with the Discover Sake in Singapore fair come 1 to 31 October 2020. For a whole month, join participating restaurants to discover the different types of sake that pair with your favourite dishes and cuisines, or purchase the bottles directly from the e-commerce site to enjoy at home.
Sake is an alcoholic beverage made from polished rice and koji (also known as Aspergillus oryzae, the mold used to ferment cooked rice). Symbolic of Japan and traditional Japanese rice culture, sake is brewed across the country by breweries called kuramoto, and each product has its own unique characteristics based on brand, type of rice used and polishing ratio. Sake can be enjoyed at various temperatures, with some served hot, while others are better chilled.
The fair will include 35 participating restaurants of various cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, French and Italian, each serving different types of sakes. Some highlights include Donburi King, Wàn Hé Lóu, Bistrot Etroit and IL DEN.
Enjoying sake is like an art—balancing the sweetness, acidity, dryness, bitterness and astringency of each drink, and pairing them with the right kind of food. For example, crisp and dry sake goes better with light fish dishes, while richer drinks would pair well with heavy meat dishes.
This is why each participating restaurant in the Discover Sake in Singapore fair has taken the time to curate the best sake pairings to go with their signature dishes for you to enjoy. Of course, you can also purchase the drinks directly from this e-commerce site to enjoy at home.
In particular, the Discover Sake in Singapore fair will be highlighting three sake options, which are Amabuki, Ozeki and Hakutsuru.
Amabuki is a brewery from Saga Prefecture in Japan, specialising in brewing sake using yeast cultivated from flowers, such as the rhododendron and strawberry. The resulting drinks are fruity in flavour and aroma.
Try the Amabuki Ura Daiginjo Aiyama, which is made using one of the premium sake brewing rice, aiyama, and the flower yeast cultivated from the Marvel-of-Peru flower.
This sake has a melon-like aroma that fills the mouth and is gentle on the palate. You can sample the Amabuki Ura Daiginjo Aiyama at IL DEN at S$150++ per 720ml bottle, as it goes well with subtly flavoured seafood and vegetables.
IL DEN is distinctive for its Japanese-European kappo (to cut and to cook) style cuisine, serving multi-course omakase (to entrust to the chef) sets. If you’re curious about them, you can head to our review here. Do note that they’ve moved to their new premises at 470 North Bridge Road, Bugis Cube, #03-19, Singapore 188735.
Meanwhile, Ozeki sake has a rich history of over 300 years in Japan’s brewing landscape, dating back to 1711 in Hyogo Prefecture.
One of the most iconic products by Ozeki is their One Cup Ozeki sake. The One Cup Ozeki changed the way sake was packaged, from the standard 1.8-litre bottle to this smaller and more convenient 100ml cup. As a result, sake became more accessible in that it could be drunk almost anytime.
The launch of the One Cup Ozeki in 1964 also marked the year the iconic Shinkansen (bullet train) began commercial operations.
The One Cup Ozeki goes well with sushi, sashimi, grilled items, and richer tastes from homestyle-cooking such as beef and potatoes. You can try this at Donburi King at S$5.90++ per 100ml with their wide selection of hearty seafood and rice bowls.
Finally, the Hakutsuru sake brand also has a long history in Japan’s brewing industry, most notably in being the first to sell draft sake. Instead of going through the usual pasteurisation process, draft sake undergoes a specialised filtration method which results in an exceptionally refreshing flavour with a crisp and mid-dry taste.
The Hakutsuru Namachozo Draft Sake pairs well with quite a wide range of dishes, from Japanese to Western cuisines. Try it at Izakaya Hikari for S$25 nett per 300ml bottle with their yakitori (skewered meat) dishes.
Of course, the drinks and restaurants I’ve just mentioned are a fraction of those available. You can find and make your bookings at the participating restaurants here. Sake has the versatility to pair with many cuisines, so you don’t have to limit yourself to only Japanese restaurants.
Why not marry French and Japanese cuisines with the Amabuki Junmai Daiginjo Kimoto (S$110+ per 720ml bottle) at Bistrot Etroit? The sake pairs well with fish dishes, so their Natural Tiger Prawn Butter Pouch And Scallop Mousse With Rich Lobster Bisque Sauce (S$23) sounds like it would be a decadent combination.
Personally, I’m quite keen on trying the Ozeki Sparkling Sake Hana Awaka (Peach), as I have a soft spot for sparkling drinks. With lively hints of peach and a melt-in-the-mouth sweetness, this works great as an aperitif. Whet your appetite with the Ozeki Sparkling Sake Hana Awaka (S$9.90++ per bottle) at Wàn Hé Lóu as a vivacious prelude to their Signature Lobster Porridge (S$39.90).
Or, if you’re already well-versed in the world of sake, pick your favourite to enjoy at home with a home-cooked meal. Simply get a bottle of your choice from their e-commerce site.
The Discover Sake in Singapore fair brings a trove of sake options to us, making it accessible even to the uninitiated. It will only last till 31 October 2020, so grab the chance to explore the rich and exciting world of sake before it’s over.
Prices: S$9.90++ – S$300++ per bottle
*This post is brought to you in partnership with JRE Sake Fair.