Tokyo is a vibrant modern city but tradition is still evident. We might be looking for the latest technology in Akihabara or fashion and pop culture in Takeshitadori; but we all need food and many of us need sake. You’ll find that all around this sprawling town if you know where to look for it.
Food Sake Tokyo is a compact and sturdy volume; it takes the reader on a culinary adventure through more than a dozen neighbourhoods. You’ll discover the best, the most intriguing spots showcasing the local food and drink scene. Yes, every guide book will devote a few pages to restaurant suggestions and even a mention of the town’s signature dishes; but for a true food and sake lover that only teases. Food Sake Tokyo will be a worthy pocket companion of the dedicated gourmet.
The author, Yukari Sakamoto, was the first non-Japanese (she’s an American of Japanese extract) to pass the test to become a ‘shochu adviser’. She has taught classes on food, wine, and shochu (Japanese distilled spirit), and has offered culinary tours of Tokyo’s shops and markets. In Food Sake Tokyo Yukari introduces unfamiliar ingredients, traditional dishes, and culinary culture that make Tokyo such a mecca for food and sake lovers. She leads the reader to the best and most exciting food that Tokyo has to offer, explaining and sampling along the way. There is plenty of information on where to find the best knives (a souvenir for the serious home sushi chef); the indispensable lacquerware and pottery for displaying your Japanese cooking skills; and those kitchen gadgets that are both functional and beautiful.
Learn more in situ
We who appreciate sake will be looking for the opportunity to taste and buy the national beverage. Other visitors will be new to the world of sake but would likely enjoy the chance to learn more in situ. Yukari has penned a glossary of sake terms that will help when selecting an appropriate bottle or with understanding more about bottles with which you might be presented.
Food Sake Tokyo has a whole section on suggestions of where exactly to drink sake. Sometimes sake producers will display their products and offer free tastings. Many breweries have guided tours but mostly in Japanese so take your own interpreter. A sake student will be entranced by the smells of sake brewing. Izakayas (small Japanese pubs) have a range of Japanese drinks including sake which you can enjoy with traditional dishes and very local company. There are plenty of suggestions here and also for Standing Bars which are great for a quick sake fix but without the comfort of chairs. Less casual drinking and dining options are listed aplenty for those who are looking to push out the gastronomic boat.
Food Sake Tokyo
Author: Yukari Sakamoto
Published by: Little Bookroom
Travel guide review by Chrissie Walker © 2018