Stephen Lyman has written the Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks, which was published in October by Tuttle. Find out more abou the book, where to buy it, and most importantly, where to meet Stephen to get your own signed copy as he travels Japan and North America.
At the event, held in March 2015, buyers from the US, UK, Israel, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia met with sake and shochu producers from around Kumamoto. We toured Hitoyoshi, the center of the rice shochu universe. Hitoyoshi is nestled in the valley of the Kuma River, which has been voted the best river in Japan every year for years.
Shochu Tuesdays have a new home at SakaMai. If you've been following the site for a while, you know that these started at Izakaya Ten back in 2008 when I first discovered shochu. The experience stuck with me and corrupted me in ways I didn't expect.
As I've delved deeper into the world of shochu, I've become increasingly interested in pairing shochu with foods. I first became aware of the differences when I began drinking sweet potato shochu with roasted meats and rice shochu with seafood. The shochu enhanced the food's flavors and the oils in the foods changed the character of the shochu. Over time I've found that some foods pair amazingly well with shochu while others are a complete miss.
Let me preface this by saying I've never operated a cash register and I've never worked in the food service industry a day in my life. But that didn't stop the fine folks at SakaMai (157 Ludlow Street, NYC) from opening up their Pour Bar for me to host their first Shochu Tuesday Happy Hour last night, April 30th from 6-8pm.
What could be better to start out Spring than a virtual trip to Okinawa? The beautiful islands in the Pacific Ocean off the southern coast of Japan? Unfortunately for New Yorkers, since Suibi in Midtown East closed a few years back, Okinawan food is not easily available. Fortunately for New Yorkers, some Okinawa lovers have persisted and they have decided to put on an Okinawan festival.