The following article was originally published in Issue 7 of inCiderJapan magazine.
One of the more frequent enquiries we get from people is, “What kinds of Japanese foods go well with cider?” It’s a fair question, especially when taking into account the popularity of Japanese food and Japan’s historically rich culinary culture. It’s a fun question to answer, too, because the marvelous thing about cider is that it goes amazingly well with a plethora of Japanese dishes. Considering the various ways cider interacts with ingredients, senses, and tastes, cider is perhaps the most versatile drink when it comes to food pairing.
And when better than autumn to demonstrate exactly what we mean? This particular time of year has long been associated with eating delicious hearty foods, here are three of our favourites:
Sanma (Pacific Saury)
A quintessential Japanese autumnal dish, sanma is usually served salted and grilled (broiled) whole, garnished with daikon oroshi (grated daikon), soy sauce, and either lemon or lime. We recommend pairing it with the driest cider you can find to brighten the flavours of the fish’s natural oils while also serving to balance the bitterness from the intestines.
Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin/Squash)
Although available all year round, kabocha is notably delicious (and colourfully themed) in the fall. The carbonation from Brut ciders make a great complement to kabocha’s delicate, soft creamy texture, or try a medium-dry cider to enhance its exceptionally sweet taste.
Torigomoku Gohan (Japanese Mixed Rice)
A traditional dish consisting of rice cooked in seasoned katsuo dashi (dried bonito stock) mixed with five vegetables, our preference here is for a medium-dry to dry cider to accentuate the profuse savoury flavours from ingredients including chicken, gobo (burdock root), shiitake mushrooms, and carrots.