Wednesday 08 July 2020

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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Forget the Rugby World Cup, enjoy Japan’s food and drink!

Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019 3:49pm

Are you one of the cool gang who go to supermarkets and grab a box of ‘sushi’ and think you know Japanese food?

Try a proper sushi and come back to me. Larry McGrath was one of the first chefs to bring us proper sushi at Mahon Point Farmer’s Market a few years ago (prior to that he was at O’Connell’s Fish stall at the English Market) and people came en masse to enjoy his creations.

He learned his trade in Japan over many years and wouldn’t think of using anything but the freshest ingredients. He has now moved on to other ventures but I am sure it still involves these tasty little rice rolls.

Maki Sushi Rolls in the English Market have recently moved to bigger premises at the market – showing no let up in the love Cork people have for Japanese food. Freshly made, you can choose from different fish etc.

I don’t have to mention Miyazaki and Ichigo to Cork’s food lovers (although sushi is not their staple) having taken Cork by storm with their authentic food of Nippon-Koku (hope I spelt the Japanese name of Japan correctly).

In case you would like to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in style, Ballymaloe House have decided to bring a taste of Japan to their famous venue, with a dining experience that will see a carefully curated menu paired with five varieties of sake.

Taking place on Friday 11 October, the event will kick off at 6.30pm with sake expert Honami, Head of Marketing for Keigetsu of Tosa brewery, taking guests on a journey through the Japanese food and drink landscape.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is fermented after having been polished to remove the bran. Although it is called wine, technically it is a brewing process that creates sake and it is either consumed from a small porcelain cup or a clear shot glass when chilled.

Alcohol percentage can be as high as 20 per cent but commercial available versions are mostly reduced to 15 per cent.

Filtered sake is clear while unfiltered versions can look milky. As with wine, taste and texture can vary from sweet to dry, depending on the amount of sugar added and also on the type of rice used and how it is served.

When researching sake, I was told that sake could be enjoyed with any Japanese meal.

Many years ago, I was given a book ‘Cuisine of Japan’ – a two-book package with one explaining in detail the culture behind Japanese food and the other being the cookbook. Photography was as technology allowed it in 1984 but it still enticed curiosity in me to learn more about it. I have yet to attend a Japanese tea ceremony – something on my bucket list for many years now. Warudokappu o tanoshimu or enjoy the World Cup!

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