You can pair sake with bak chor mee, or even bathe in it for good skin – here’s what else you didn’t know about the Japanese rice wine, according to a sake lecturer

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Sake, also known as Japanese rice wine, has people all over the world besotted with it. Many know sake for its unique taste, but only a few are aware of what else it offers.

From pairing it with Singapore food, to bathing in it for good skin, Business Insider has rounded up some obscure facts about sake from 28-year-old Japanese Ayumi Fujishiro – one of only two Sake Service Institute Official Lecturers in Singapore.


You can cook and bathe with sake

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Yes, you read that right. Besides drinking sake, the Japanese rice wine can be used in the bathtub – and there are benefits of doing so, according to Fujishiro.

“In Japan, we put it in bathtubs when we take a bath so that (our) skin becomes amazingly beautiful,” the sake lecturer said.

You can also use sake to make garlic sauce for steak, to marinate karaage (Japanese fried chicken), and to steam fish and clams as the wine does a good job at removing the fishy taste, she added.

So there’s no reason for you to waste away the beverage if you can’t finish drinking it.


You can pair sake with Singapore food dishes

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The traditional Japanese wine goes well with a few of the most iconic food dishes offered in Singapore, according to Fujishiro.

She said that it can be paired with satay, roti prata (Indian-influenced flatbread dish) or bak chor mee (minced meat noodles).

Specifically, junmai or junmai ginjo – which are different types of sake – taste best when paired with strong-flavoured Singapore food such as laksa and chili crab, she added.

“Sake is made by rice so it is obvious that sake goes well with food! Rice can go well with everything – salty, sour, spicy, bitter and sweet,” Fujishiro said.


Only certain sake and food pairings work 

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It’s widely known that only certain food dishes and alcoholic beverages make ideal pairings, for example steak and red wine.

And sake is no exception, said Fujishiro, who is also a certified sake sommelier (kikisake-shi).

Sashimi (thinly-sliced raw fish or meat) and seafood such as steamed or grilled fish should be paired with junmai ginjo, ginjo, honjozo, which are different types of sake.

Meanwhile, strong-flavoured meats such as steak or yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken) should be eaten with tokubetsu junmai or junmai, which are stronger sake types.

She said that generally, having sashimi with junmai dai ginjo – a type of sake which may taste excessively fruity or sweet – would leave an undesirable fishy taste in one’s mouth.

Similarly, pairing wagyu beef with the same type of sake would result in an overpowering beefy taste, which makes it difficult to savour the sake flavor.


Expensive sake doesn’t equate to good quality sake

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Higher quality red wine usually costs more. But when it comes to sake, this notion does not apply.

Fujishiro said the list of ingredients will show if a bottle of sake is of higher quality.

If it is made with just rice, water and perhaps some yeast, without any other chemicals, it is quality sake, she added.


You shouldn’t keep a bottle of sake for too long

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Fujishiro has often been asked how long a bottle of sake can be kept for after it has been opened.

She said that a bottle of sake should ideally be consumed within a week after being opened. However, shelf life varies depending on the type of sake, she said.


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