Seafood has been at the centre of the Japanese diet for more than 10,000 years, with the Japanese consuming an amount that’s more than triple the world average. But it’s not just about food — sake is also an integral part of this seafood culture. Japan’s national alcoholic drink has a 2,500-year history, but its quality, style and variety have evolved to give a marvellous selection of perfectly balanced options.
Sake as umami enhancer
One of the unique characteristics of sake is its rich umami, which translates as ‘essence of deliciousness’. Sake contains amino acids such as glutamic acid that give a mellow, mouth-coating sensation, helping to enhance other flavours. Sake contains two to five times more umami than wine, while seafood contains an abundant amount of umami through inosinic acid (tuna, sardine and bonito flakes), glutamic acid (prawns, sea urchin and seaweed) and succinic acid (in all shellfish).