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Is Saké Chinese or Japanese?
The Epoch Times ^ | December 3, 2012 | Valeria Beroiz

Posted on 12/03/2012 5:57:40 PM PST by nickcarraway

Saké is a drink that comes mainly from fermented rice. But to start talking about this drink that so popular in Asia, we must go back to the first recipes in the history of saké.

It is said that the first saké was called “kuchikama no saké,” which means “mouth-brewed saké.” It was called so because it was prepared with chewing rice mixed with herbs, like chestnuts, millet, and acorns. All this was spit-chewed and then the whole mixture was put in a barrel.

Although the procedure seems unappetizing, it was done because thanks to the enzymes in saliva, rice starch could be converted into sugar, thus ensuring that all the ingredients were a sugary mixture. Then they added freshly cooked rice and let it ferment naturally. Back then, saké was a drink that did not have a high alcohol content and was preferably consumed as a mush.

The birth of saké is very controversial and there is no actual documentation about its history. There are only theories about how it was created, and even today no one disputes that it is Japanese, although there are indications that it could have Chinese origins.

The theory of a Chinese origin of saké suggests that a rice fermentation process began to be used throughout the Yangtze around 4,800 B.C., and then that this method was later incorporated in Japan.

Another theory that refutes the Japanese origin of saké is that Chinese millet wine, “xiaomi jiu,” was mentioned in several inscriptions in the 14th century B.C. and only used as an offering to the gods in religious rituals. Then, around the 7th century B.C., saké appeared as China rice wine “mi jiu,” a formula almost exactly equal to that currently known as Japanese saké, which had become very popular with the Chinese.

There was a great event in the history of saké and for many other products like amazake (low-alcohol rice saké), miso (fermented soybean paste), and soy sauce: the discovery of koji-kin (Aspergillus oryzae). It is a mold enzyme that caused the chewing process to no longer be necessary, as it could convert rice starch into sugar. However, this process caused the alcohol content of saké to grow considerably. Most of the techniques and methods used to produce a higher quality saké come from China. It is because, as I said earlier, this drink reached great popularity with the Chinese people.

Another oddity in the history of this drink is that in Japan the word saké just means “alcoholic beverage.” It is in Western countries that the word is used to refer to the saké drink that is made with fermented rice.

To refer to this drink, in Japan the term Nihonshu is used, which means “Japanese liquor.”

Another point to consider is that the term saké does not refer to rice wine, as it is known that by definition the word “wine” can only be used for the product made from the fermentation of grapes and other fruits.

Ottawa Tea Festival explores culture, history of tea So if you go to Japan and ask for saké, you will be served any alcoholic beverage, and depending on the region of Japan, they will bring you different drinks. For example, if you are in Okinawa, saké refers to sugarcane alcohol, but if you are south of Kyushu, they will bring a sweet potato alcohol called imo-jochu. Saké is a customary drink served at festivals and ceremonies. Usually served freely in ceremonies, it represents good fortune. Even in the well-known tea ceremony, it is customary to serve it.

In the new year, Japanese people drink a special saké called iwai-zake—which is mostly known as a cough medicine—and this drink has a ritual attached: It is taken in order of age, starting from youngest to oldest. The style in which saké is served depends on one’s pleasure, but also depends on the time of year. It can be served hot or cold, as well as warm. But, it is good to clarify that warm or hot saké is absorbed faster by the body, which is why the soldiers in World War II used to drink hot saké, especially the kamikaze soldiers. It is one of the few alcohols that is consumed hot.

Saké-Marinated Squid

2 pounds of small calamaris (squid)

3/4 cup saké

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash the squids thoroughly (but leave on the tentacles). In a bowl, mix together the sugar, saké, soy sauce, and lemon juice. (Reserve a small portion to use as a sauce later.)

Put in the squids and marinate for 1 hour.

String the calamaris on wooden skewers and cook over a high heat on a grill or even a hot plate. Drizzle with reserved marinade and serve hot.


TOPICS: Food; History
KEYWORDS: china; cookery; japan; sake

1 posted on 12/03/2012 5:57:44 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Japanese or Chinese?

Who cares?

.


2 posted on 12/03/2012 6:02:08 PM PST by Mears
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To: nickcarraway

It might be rice wine to you but it’s saké to me.

SPLUSHHHH!

Judy Carne 1969.


3 posted on 12/03/2012 6:03:36 PM PST by DManA
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To: nickcarraway

The Japs probably stole it when they brutalized the Chinks long ago. /s


4 posted on 12/03/2012 6:05:33 PM PST by Misterioso ("Evil requires the sanction of the victim." -- Ayn Rand)
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To: nickcarraway

Japanese! I know this from watching You Only Live Twice!


5 posted on 12/03/2012 6:05:48 PM PST by RPTMS
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To: nickcarraway

Who cares? Is it 80 proof or better?????


6 posted on 12/03/2012 6:06:09 PM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Mears

sake is Japanese

Koreans also have a rice wine.. hang on thats Makgeolli

what would be compared to sake from Korea is soju (so-joo). they say it is “sweeter” than sake


7 posted on 12/03/2012 6:07:00 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: nickcarraway

Who gives a flip about sake when there’s Awamori shochu to get wasted on.


8 posted on 12/03/2012 6:10:59 PM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
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To: nickcarraway

I have tried Sake several times, and it always tastes like another 4 letter word to me.


9 posted on 12/03/2012 6:11:27 PM PST by Venturer
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To: nickcarraway

British, actually ...

and perhaps a bit of a pooftah.

10 posted on 12/03/2012 6:13:58 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Global Warming is a religion, and I don't want to be taxed to pay for a faith that is not mine.)
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To: GeronL

That’s my recollection. Korean rice wine is sweeter.
I don’t know if the formula is different than Japan’s but there are numerous variations in the Japanese islands.


11 posted on 12/03/2012 6:17:41 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: nickcarraway

***All this was spit-chewed and then the whole mixture was put in a barrel. ***

Much like African millet beer! Peter Hathaway Capstick wrote that many a drunk was carried off by lions after drinking millet beer.


12 posted on 12/03/2012 6:19:17 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The parasites now outnumber the producers.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Lions learned how to marinate? Do they use garlic?


13 posted on 12/03/2012 6:21:34 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Venturer

***I have tried Sake several times, and it always tastes like another 4 letter word to me.***

I like saki. Different from vino.

Reminds me of an old joke Judy Carne used to say on LAUGH IN.

“It might be rice wine to you but it’s ‘saki-to-me’!”


14 posted on 12/03/2012 6:24:33 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The parasites now outnumber the producers.)
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To: nickcarraway

Interesting. Thanks for posting. I was doing sake bombs at the sushi zen restaurant Saturday night.


15 posted on 12/03/2012 6:26:25 PM PST by PGalt
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

I hope nobody here tells me they cannot wait to drink a barrel of Asian spit.


16 posted on 12/03/2012 6:31:04 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Apparently there is a pretty wide variation on soju as well, just checked the wiki


17 posted on 12/03/2012 6:32:02 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: nickcarraway

The marinade sounds like a terryaki, but with a kick. The mouth chewed saki, no thanks!!!

I like a nice warm decantor of saki sometimes with my sushi.


18 posted on 12/03/2012 6:33:42 PM PST by Dogbert41 (What now?)
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To: nickcarraway

Bookmarking for later read when the kids are asleep.Cold sake sucks but hot sake with sushi is excellent.


19 posted on 12/03/2012 6:40:46 PM PST by GSP.FAN (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.)
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To: nickcarraway
As a young man in Taiwan years ago, I went camping with 2 Chinese roommates.
We 1st stopped to get bags of plaster of Paris to surround our tents with,
as snakes (thick in Taiwan, multiple varieties of poisonous ones) won't crawl over it. So I bought a double amount, making double-wide stripes, just to be sure.
That night I drank Mi Jiou (rice wine/sake) for the 1st time. Way way too much.
I awoke in the bushes about 10 yards from my tent, to the utter howling delight
of my Chinese companions.
20 posted on 12/03/2012 6:46:47 PM PST by jobim (.)
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To: Misterioso

you silver tongued devil you...


21 posted on 12/03/2012 6:50:55 PM PST by norton
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To: Vendome

If it ain’t 80 proof run it through the distiller one more time.


22 posted on 12/03/2012 6:56:23 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: nickcarraway

Sake is Japanese
They also have shochu which is similar to vodka
And plum wine (which I haven’t gotten the taste for)

The Chinese have baijou but its 35% up to 50%+

All range from paint varnish to excellent depending on the brew the food the company and the individual

I prefer sake - usually cold (my wife and I can never warm it without killing it even indirectly). That or Irish whiskey or a good 15+ year scotch ;)

Shochiku Bai makes an excellent bottle in the US for just under ten bucks its a versatile junmai that can be served fairly at any temperature.


23 posted on 12/03/2012 6:57:42 PM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: BipolarBob

Way back in 1968, I saw two winos sitting in a doorway one night in Marysville, CA. One had his arm around the other and said...”I jusht wanna tell you, you’re the besht ol buddy I got in da world!”


24 posted on 12/03/2012 7:01:24 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The parasites now outnumber the producers.)
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To: nickcarraway
Warm sake? Bedddddy goooood!
25 posted on 12/03/2012 7:25:54 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: Mears

LOL, exactly. I just know I love it.


26 posted on 12/03/2012 7:26:02 PM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: GeronL
Sake is no longer made that way - commercially that is. The Koji enzyme (scientific name is Aspergillus Oryzae.) is used to break down the starches into usable sugars to convert to alcohol. There are many different blends and flavors of sake to meet a diverse market. So, if this makes you feel any better, next time tell the bartender "Sake to me, please".
27 posted on 12/03/2012 7:29:45 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: BipolarBob
Sake is no longer made that way

obviously

commercially that is

say what? lol

28 posted on 12/03/2012 7:38:40 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: nickcarraway

To answer the question of the title — Everything seems to have started in China. With their long and recorded history, it is hard to beat them.

I have a bottle of Sanbian Bujiu, but I have never opened it. I’ll leave it to you to translate that.


29 posted on 12/03/2012 7:59:35 PM PST by Exit148
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To: Exit148

or google it like i did.


30 posted on 12/03/2012 10:25:39 PM PST by RitchieAprile (the obsteperous gentleman..)
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To: RitchieAprile

LOL! I know what it means! (I’ve studied Chinese) I just didn’t think a lady should translate it here on line. But— then again— this lady DID buy it in China! (another LOL!)


31 posted on 12/04/2012 5:18:46 AM PST by Exit148
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