Best Food Pairings for Sake

When it comes to enjoying a delicious meal, there is nothing quite like finding the perfect drink to pair with it. For those who enjoy sake, learning about sake food pairing can open up a whole new world of culinary delight.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine typically enjoyed with sushi or other seafood dishes. However, many other foods pair well with sake. From chicken and pork to vegetables and tofu, there are endless possibilities when it comes to sake food pairing.


The key to finding the perfect sake food pairing is experimenting and finding what you enjoy. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to sake food pairing. It is all about finding what works for you and your palate.


When pairing sake with food, there are no hard and fast rules. However, there are some guiding principles that can help you make the most of your meal. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when pairing sake with food.


  • Pay attention to the acidity of both the food and the sake. Acidity can either be complementary or contrasting, so it’s vital to find a balance that works for you.

  • Consider the sweetness of the sake. This can be a nice contrast to salty or savory dishes.

  • Keep an eye on the body of the sake. A Lighter sakes pair well with a delicate dish, while a fuller-bodied sake can be the better choice for a heartier fare.

With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect sake-food pairing for your next meal.


Cured Meat or Cheese and Honjozo Sake


I love to pair cured meats or cheeses with a nice Honjozo sake. The Honjozo sake is a great example of a versatile sake that can be enjoyed with a variety of different foods. I find that the dry, clean flavor of the Honjozo sake pairs well with the richness of cured meats or cheeses. The umami flavors of the sake also help to bring out the best in these foods.


Cured Meat


Grilled Sardines or Mackerel and Honjozo Genshu Sake

Sake is often thought of as a drink to be enjoyed with sushi, but it can actually pair well with a variety of different dishes. I especially like to drink sake with grilled fish such as sardines or mackerel with a Honjozo Genshu sake.


The umami flavors of the fish are a perfect match for the dry, slightly sweet flavors of the sake. And the higher alcohol content of the Genshu sake helps to cut through the richness of the fish.


Grilled Sardines


Sashimi And Sushi and Daiginjo Sake

Sashimi and sushi are two of my favorite Japanese food, and I love to pair them with daiginjo sake. Daiginjo sake is a premium sake that is made with specially milled rice and has a delicate flavor. It pairs well with light dishes like sashimi and sushi because it doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors of the fish.




Steamed Lobster and Junmai Daiginjo Sake

When it comes to food pairings, I like to keep things simple. That’s why I love pairing steamed lobster with Junmai Daiginjo sake. The lobster is light and delicate, while the sake is smooth and slightly sweet. Together, they create a perfect balance of flavors.


Steamed Lobster


Warm Apple Tart with Vanilla Sauce and Umeshu Sake

I love pairing warm apple tart with vanilla sauce and umeshu sake. The sweetness of the apple tart is offset by the umami of the sake, and the vanilla sauce brings out the richness of the drink. It’s a perfect pairing for a winter meal.


Apple Tart With Vanilla Sauce 

Dark Chocolate Lava Cake and Genmai Sake

Recently, I had the opportunity to pair dark chocolate lava cake with genmai sake, and it was an amazing experience. The rich, chocolatey flavor of the cake paired perfectly with the smooth, slightly sweet sake. It was an incredible combination of flavors that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new and exciting way to enjoy sake.


Mango Salad With Shirakabegura Sake

I pair sake with salads quite often and usually sparkling sake feels the best for me. The freshness of the sparkling cold sake complements well the fruity taste of the mango salad. Additionaly since the salad is more on the acidic side, it makes the sake tasting much more exciting due to the flavor contrast. I personally enjoy the Shirakabegura sake because of it’s crisp taste and sweet flavor.

What About Warm Sake?

Warm sakes are pretty straightforward and go well with warm and hearty and rich foods such as stews, Italian cuisine, and European cuisine. Hot sake is usually drunk during colder times and is naturally paired with these types of dishes. One of the sake pairings I find amazing is a sake cup of Tokubetsu Junmai with a spicy Thai curry.

Have you got some interesting foods to pair sake with? Share with us in the comments!

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