Let’s hear it for miso. The umami-rich, soy-based ferment that powers Japan’s daily misoshiru soup comes in numerous guises: reddish, full-bodied and sharply saline; near-white, smooth, sweet-salty; dark, intense, compelling. Made throughout the country, each variety has its own history and provenance.
To find out more, head down to the Ginza branch of Sano Miso, the city’s preeminent purveyor of this iconic savory seasoning. It stocks 45 different varieties, not sealed in supermarket plastic but instead mounded inside large tubs that the in-house “misommelier” will be happy to open up for you to sniff and sample.