Japanese Sake and Spicy food pairing – which Sake matches?


Japanese Sake and Spicy food pairing – which Sake matches?


 How do we pair Japanese Sake with spicy food?

 Nowadays, as Japanese Sake exported to the world a lot of people enjoy Japanese Sake with Japanese food at restaurants which offers Japanese food, such as Sushi, Ramen or Yakitori. As people get used to drink Japanese Sake, they go more deeply into the world of Sake and try new combination of pairing with local foods.

 Japan is the country where most variety of food available. Even in Japan people are trying to pair with foreign foods and looking for the best combination. One of the example is Curry. Curry rice is one of the most major dish in Japan and got popular in the modern era. Today there are many curry restaurants and lovers post the pairing of curry and Sake on internet and it proves the potential of Japanese Sake.

 This time ikki delivers information about pairing of Japanese Sake and spicy food.


Do Japanese people pair spicy food and Japanese Sake in Japan?

sake and spice


 As explained above, the answer to the question is “YES”. There are many combination of SAKE ✖️ Spice pairing by Sake specialists starting from Curry rice.

 For example Sasa Iwai Shuzo from Niigata is pioneering Sake ✖️ Spice pairing. They released the product called “SAKETO SASA・SUNDAY 3spices mix set”. You will get spice tea pack to dip into Sake to enjoy spicy flavor in Sake. Please find the link below;


Spice for Japanese Sake – Sasa Iwai Shuzo


 Also, the restaurant called SITA in Osaka held Japanese Sake pairing event with Indian foods and they received great reputation from candidates.

SITA in Osaka (http://sita0408.web.fc2.com/home.html)

 Like the restaurant raised above, there are many restaurants offer Sake pairing with Thai, Vietnam, India or any dishes  which contains great variety of spices in the food. In today’s world, Japanese Sake is NOT only enjoyed in Japanese cuisine. It can be enjoyed with even spices, but how can we pair?

How to pair with Spicy food

galss on the table


When you taste Japanese Sake, you may have an image of delicacy in taste. It is correct in some part, but wrong in some.

 As Japanese Sake goes global, we found that there are strength in taste of Japanese Sake recently. To match Sake with spicy food we have to find the balance between taste of Sake and flavor of spice.

 To make them balanced we need to consider several points when you choose Japanese Sake;


 1.Refresh your mouth

 If Sake is too delicate, it loses against spices and you can only sense spices in your mouth. So something like the acidity, sweetness and fizziness of Sake works well in your mouth to make the pairing balance.


 2.Strong taste of Sake which do not lose spice

  Strong taste, strong umami make the pairing balanced. If you imagine Curry rice, it is simple spicy curry and rice. Sake is the alcoholic beverage made of rice, so if the Sake has strong Umami taste from rice, it balances like curry rice.


 3.Unique flavor of Sake

 Unique flavor Sake also matches well with spice. Those unique flavor is mostly from rice origin as Sake is made of water, rice and mold. Also Sake with unique flavor tend to be strong in taste, it also assist the pairing to be balanced.


What kind of Sake is preferable?

sake bottles


Now I think you understand how we can make the pairing between Sake and spice balanced.

 Here ikki recommend which type of Sake you better choose when you enjoy spicy cuisine.


1. Kimoto Sake – nice acidity and rice umami

2. Yamahai Sake – genuine rice umami and complexity

3. Nigori Sake – sweetness and refreshing 

4. Kijoshu – sweetness and mellowness

5. Koshu – unique flavor and complexity

6. Sparkling – Sweetness, acidity and refreshing


 It is not always the best to pair, but those types of Japanese Sake tend to pair well with spicy foods. Full of Umami from rice and spicy food lead you to very exotic world of Japanese Sake.

 Please try those Sake with spicy dish and find your best combination!


Hope you learn about Sake.

 Enjoy Sakeful life!





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