Advanced Pairing of Sushi with Japanese Tea

Advanced Pairing of Sushi with Japanese Tea

Posted by Yuki on 26th Oct 2021

A version of this story has appeared in my fortnightly newsletter.  

Hi fellow tea lovers,
Golly! What happened to the year?!
It feels like it... disappeared into thin air or something! I really can't believe we're closing in on November already.
November reminds me of something special.
(Yes, it reminds me of those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year which I need to get started on - but I'm not talking about that here!)
It reminds me of the winter season approaching in Japan.
The sudden "CHILL" of the deep autumn breeze.
The beautiful mountain-scape filled with trees of changing leaves.
But more than anything else, it reminds me of food... specifically fish.
Delicious, fresh, sweet tasting fatty fish!
The fish are at their yummiest during this time of year. This is because the cold water does its magic in fattening the fish in preparation for winter.
Yes, if you're one for sushi and sashimi, it's the time to fulfill those cravings!
So today I wanted to share a little about Sushi and Japanese tea.
I'm sure you've had green tea with Sushi before. It's an all too familiar combination.
Dine at an authentic sushi restaurant, and it'll be served with a cup of hot Japanese green tea. Jump into a nearby Genki-Sushi, and you'll get the same.
It's been like this since... well, I suppose whenever sushi became a thing!
Ever wondered why?
So there's a very functional and practical reason behind this combination of green tea and sushi.
And the secret lies in the catechin substance that Japanese tea contains so much of.
*And BTW yes, catechin is the polyphenol that is responsible for so many health benefits associated to Japanese tea. It plays a role here with sushi too.
Firstly, it's practically a mouthwash.
Each dish of sushi is a precious experience. Each piece should be cherished as you eat.
What catechin does is it resets your mouth and prepares it for the next dish so you can enjoy each dish to the max.
For example, you don't want that Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) taste lingering while you go for your Maguro.
Individually, they're excellent.
But together? - no thanks!!
The catechin works wonders in washing the fats and completely disposing the fishy smell so you can fully appreciate the next piece of sushi.
Yes, It's like the reset button. It really enhances the sushi experience.
Secondly, it's said that the catechin in green tea is a disinfectant.
After all, sashimi is raw fish. Why not stay on the safer side of things and be sure to be safe when you eat.
So for these two reasons, this combination of sushi and Japanese green tea, ever so abundant in catechin, is a match made in heaven.
It's understandable that all sushi restaurants serve green tea by default.
I hope you're getting the sushi cravings by now.
Because as I'm writing this article - I am too!
Do I have you thinking which type of tea you should look for to match with your sushi?
Here's some guidance for you just in case I do!
Traditionally, it's a Japanese tea called Konacha which are served in sushi restaurants.
It's made from small green tea particles. It's a strong tea with strong astringency to wash the sushi out of your mouth.
(It's also an economical choice for restaurants as well)
You can try that. We carry Konacha in our shop too.
But today, I'll introduce 3 more pairing that I think work magnificently well.
Yes, these are with sushi or sashimi dishes you can easily find in Singapore.

Maguro (Tuna) x Kaga-boucha

A quality Maguro is a delicious sushi piece with a thick and meaty tasting body dipped in flavorful soy sauce. The Kaga-boucha tea, with its fantastic roasted aroma and umami will beautifully balance and compliment this dish. It's a perfectly fulfilling combination.
(You can find our Kaga-boucha here!)

Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) x High-grade Sencha

A quality Amaebi is a rich and fatty dish of delight. Instead of eating this with any green tea, try choosing a high-grade sencha instead. It's sure to amaze as the taste of the Amaebi will actually amplify the tastefulness of the sencha. It's sure to be a heartwarming experience.

Salmon x Karigane

A fresh and sweet tasting salmon sushi is definitely one of Singapore's favorites. Sencha will work for this too, but try matching it with a Karigane or 'Twig' tea. On top of the vegetal notes of a sencha, the Karigane will give you a different 'zing' of freshness, perfect for clearing out the sweetness of the salmon. Definitely stirs your appetite to make you want to eat more!
I hope there's a few combinations you might find interesting to try, but please do let me know if there are any other combinations you like!