Umami: an ideal sake pairing

| Dec 12, 2013

Umami: an ideal sake pairing

On a recent September morning in Napa Valley, a sake-pairing session at the Culinary Institute of America’s annual Worlds of Flavor conference began with a lesson in organic chemistry. The theme of the seminar was “sake and umami,” a topic tantalizing enough to fill ...

Unique sake from father-son team

| Nov 7, 2013

Unique sake from father-son team

Kumpai Shuzo stands along a quiet stretch of the Kyu-Tokaido Road, across the Abe River in an old part of Shizuoka City. Run by father-and-son team Seiji and Hidetoshi Ichikawa, the brewery has remained in the same location since the family’s ancestors began making ...

Fall for the flavor of autumn sake

| Oct 10, 2013

Fall for the flavor of autumn sake

The seasons in Japan can turn on a dime. When I’d left Tokyo for Sweden, at the end of September, summer had shown no sign of abating: The city was still sweating in 32-degree heat and 60 percent humidity. When I returned five days ...

Tasting Kirin's beer of many colors

| Sep 12, 2013

Tasting Kirin's beer of many colors

Morbid curiosity had prompted me to order a Two-Tone beer cocktail at the branch of Kirin Ichiban Shibori Garden in Tokyo’s Akasaka district. I had read, with no small measure of disbelief, that Tokyo’s latest summer beer fad was lager mixed with fruit juice ...

Tokyo chef who likes a good breakdown

| Aug 29, 2013

Tokyo chef who likes a good breakdown

Kamose, a private cooking studio run by fermentation specialist Nobuaki Fushiki, is hidden among the backstreets of Tokyo’s Gakugei Daigaku district. Fushiki’s special dinner events, which feature an array of fermented ingredients, have a clandestine quality that brings to mind the speakeasies of the ...

Supporting Tohoku one glass at a time

| Aug 8, 2013

Supporting Tohoku one glass at a time

On a Saturday evening in late July, Wine Aid for East Japan began, appropriately, with a toast. Now in its third year, the event, organized by professionals in the wine industry to raise money for charities in the Tohoku region, featured over 100 premium ...

Japan's new generation of bartenders

Jul 11, 2013

Japan's new generation of bartenders

Under his fitted black vest, the man beside me on the train wore a white shirt, with long lapels and cuffs trimmed with black piping. A purple silk cravat billowed beneath his chin. Judging from his attire, I’d surmised (correctly) that we were both ...

Book finds lessons in Japanese cuisine

| Jun 14, 2013

Book finds lessons in Japanese cuisine

In 2008, British food writer Michael Booth embarked on a journey deep into the heart of Japanese food culture. The outcome of his three-month sojourn, a memoir titled “Sushi & Beyond,” follows Booth and his young family from Hokkaido to Kyushu as they seek ...