Anyway, others who are much wiser than I thought this was a fun idea. The idea of further exploring unusual pairings was born during a trip to the street food park across from Costco (the one you have wondered about, perhaps stopped by, wondering if you can get away with parking in Costco’s lot.)
As part of our search for ideas, the other day we tried three basic, everyday drinking sakes. All were said by the brewers in Japan to match well with different foods. My friend Jeff made Tacos (we also had some BBQed salmon) and were off to the races:
The first sake, we had was Kirinzan Classic. It is a “Futsu-shu” (which means “table sake” or “ordinary sake) and is milled to 65%. I have had before, and is from Niigata prefecture (in the mountains on the West Central coast of Japan, facing the inland sea). Unlike what I think of as the traditional Niigata sake (and the same brewers’ Junmai Daiginjo which is a wonderful example of the Niigata style) which have a “clear water” finish, The Futsu-Shu is neutral in its taste, with a – to my pallet anyway – very slightly sweet finish. Heavier than a more finely milled sake, it cuts through food, and had no burn ( a problem with most alcohol and hot food) when I tried it with the tacos. It went very well with the BBQed salmon (my favorite pairing) and chicken and beef soft tacos. I am curious to try it with some Thai or Indian curry.
The second sake was a “Genshu” which is a “undiluted sake” meaning it has no water added to lower its alcohol content. This sake Kan Nihonkai Junmai Genshu “Ultra Dry +15” is from Shimane Prefecture on the Southern end of the Western Coast of Japan. The label says “approximately 17-19% alcohol” which can be contrasted with the Kirin-Zan Futsu-Shu which was 15.4%. This gives the sake a stronger sake finish as well as a lingering of the alcohol in the mouth. This is often good with richer/fattier foods. There was no faint sweetness which I often find even in dry sakes, and this is a good sake for someone who wants a truly dry sake. The extra alcohol gives it a warm mouth feel, yet there is no burn when paired with slightly spicy foods. Interestingly all three men who tied it (two friends and myself) liked it better with tacos than the Kirin-Zan, while the two woman who tried it, liked the Kirin-Zan better.
I believe both will be poured at the upcoming SoMa StrEat Food Park SakEvangelist Event (on May 16, 2015) with some suggested pairings, so you can make your own decisions.