You don’t need to go all the way to the bar. Just open a pack of dried squid and drink that sake at home.
Japanese Shredded Dried Squid
Otsumami is the Japanese word for snacks that are typically eaten with alcohol. Dried shredded squid, cuttlefish, and fish are a common snack found in many Asian cuisines.
This particular version found in Japan at the Don Quijote store in Tokyo is seasoned with sugar and vinegar giving it an addictive slightly sour flavor. Combined with the chewing gum soft texture of the squid, it makes for the ideal snack to sip with this junmai sake.
SHIRAKABE GURA Tokubetsu Junmai Sake
This sake comes from the Takara company in Japan that has been making sake for more than a century. Junmai sake is a pure sake with no other additives such as starch or sugar added during fermentation. It is simply rice, water, yeast, and koji, a type of mold. The character of this sake is smooth and balanced and pairs extremely well with the vinegar notes of the dried squid.
Shirakabe Gura is the name of the brewery where this sake comes from. Tokubetsu means “special” in Japanese and denotes that the rice used to make this sake has been polished to a higher degree. Most Junmai sakes use rice that is polished down to 70% of its original weight, while this particular sake is polished down to 60-65%. The greater the rice is polished, the purer the rice flavor emerges without the protein, mineral, and fats found in the outer layers of the rice grain.
This Tokubetsu Junmai Sake is both smooth, yet still crisp, and the characteristic alcoholic bite on the finish of lower quality sakes is tempered in this one. Try it with some soft, dried squid for the ultimate “otsumami” moment.