A Beginners Guide to Sake

When you visit Kobe Steakhouse, not only will you be able to indulge in the delicious Japanese food, but you will also be able to try some of our authentic sake choices. For those not familiar with this classic Japanese alcoholic drink, here are a few things to help you understand more about sake before you try it for yourself:

DEFINING SAKE: If you ask for sake in Japan, you will be met with a confused look because the word simply refers to a generic group of alcoholic drinks. However, when not in Japan, ordering sake will get you the traditional alcoholic fermented rice beverage. If you want the classic sake beverage while in Japan, you should ask for a Nihonshu.

TYPES OF SAKE: Because of the varied production processes and ingredients, sake is available in a myriad of varieties. Sake can be classified using several different factors, including the region from which it hails, the brewing process, the type of rice used, and more. One of the most common ways to classify sake is by labeling the polishing process. The polishing refers to how intensely the rice was milled, removing the outer layers of the grain and getting to the heart of the core. The most premium sakes have been polished down the most. Here are a few of the major types of sake to help get you started:

  • JUNMAI: This pure rice, non-additive sake exhibits a full taste with a slightly acidic profile.
  • HONJOZO: Made with water, rice, and koji, this type of sake contains a small amount of added alcohol, helping to smooth out the flavor and provide an easier drinking experience.
  • GINJO AND JUNMAI GINJO: This premium sake delivers a fruity and light flavor due to its specialized yeast ingredients and unique fermentation process.
  • DAIGINJO AND JUNMAI DAIGINJO: As one of the most premium types of sake, this drink requires a specialized brewing process and highly polished rice in its production.

DRINKING SAKE 101: Now that you have some background about the origins and production process of sake, it is time to enjoy the drink. Many beginning sake drinkers wonder what type of glass to use when drinking the beverage. Unlike traditional wine, there is no special glass shape that makes drinking the differing varietals a better experience. Most sake is consumed out of a glass material. Doing so will ensure that the complex flavors and aromas of the drink are not lost within the receptacle materials. Those looking for a more authentic experience can choose to drink their sake out of a traditional ochoko or masu.

Some sakes are better served warm while others need to be chilled to bring out the best flavors. There are no hard and fast rules about this and you will soon discover that drinking temperature is often just a personal preference. If you wish to drink your sake warm, it is important to take care to not heat it too quickly. Experts recommend using a specially designed sake carafe to gradually heat the beverage so that it is evenly warmed and the flavor is not lost. Experimenting for yourself will help you to discern how you best prefer your sake.

The best way to learn more about sake is to simply begin drinking it. Once you get the opportunity to sample some different varietals and experiment drinking it at varying temperatures, your own personal taste preferences will begin to be revealed. Have fun during the learning process and enjoy the beverage for all that it offers. Cheers!

Health Benefits of Japanese Food

The Japanese diet is based on the principle of health and longevity. Japanese food is not only tasteful and mouth-watering but also offers various health benefits. Japanese food traditionally consists of unprocessed foods, refined sugar or foods, and high amounts of grains and vegetables. Here are some of the many health benefits of enjoying Japanese food:

A REDUCED RISK OF CERTAIN CANCERS

Japan has had an extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate cancers. This is attributed to the high consumption of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, high-fiber foods, and overall lower calorie intake.

LARGE VARIETY OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES

The Japanese diet consists of a wide range of vegetables, which contains essential minerals to support overall nutrition. For example, seaweed is highly nutritious, including large amounts of iodine that can help your body preserve a healthy thyroid. Also, high amounts of fruit are consumed for breakfast and dessert, which has high amounts of fiber and water content.

LOWER CHANCE OF HEART PROBLEMS

As a nation, Japan has one of the lowest rates for the development of heart disease in the world and even more compared to developed countries. The reasoning behind these low instances of heart diseases is that the Japanese diet is filled with foods that help improve heart health.

Furthermore, Japanese food lacks ingredients in their diet which promotes poor cardiac health like high levels of saturated fats, modified carbohydrates from processed foods, and lower levels of sugar consumption. Soy is commonly in many Japanese dishes, and it is known to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as, regulate blood pressure. The Japanese use soy as an alternative to red meat, which can be very high in saturated fats.

HEALTHY TEAS

Japanese restaurants usually include green tea with their meals, which have numerous health benefits. Green tea is known to help regulate blood pressure, lower blood sugar, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, and slow down the aging process. It also contains half the amount of caffeine that coffee does, and helps breaks down oils in your digestive system. Green tea also helps create a relaxed and focused mental state of mind due to it being rich in antioxidants.

PLENTY OF PROTEIN

The Japanese culture understands that eating high-quality sources of protein helps promote a healthier lifestyle. Many of the dishes in Japanese food are full of protein, which is incredibly beneficial to your body. Fish, chicken, and even tofu are some of the most common staples in Japanese food. When you eat a lot of protein, you create stronger building blocks for your bones, your muscles, your cartilage, your skin, and even your blood. Protein also provides large amounts of iron, which keeps your blood oxygenated, so it continues to flow through your body as efficiently as possible.

In addition, the Japanese diet uses a lot of fish instead of red meats because it lowers the risks of heart attacks. By consuming more fish, you’re also gaining a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and brain-boosting nutrients.

HEALTHY OPTIONS

Teppanyaki, which is also part of the Japanese diet, is another great option for healthier eating. Even though teppanyaki is fried, it’s incredibly healthy. One of the benefits of choosing this style of cooking is the food preparation. Compared to others where everything is deep fried, teppanyaki doesn’t deep fry any of their foods. Instead, items are cooked in a conservative amount of cottonseed oil on a flat-top grill. With options like fish and veggies, you can easily eat knowing you’re putting the right foods into your body.

The Differences Between Hard Shell Crab, Soft Shell Crab and Krab

When dining out, you have probably noticed a plethora of similar sounding ingredients in some of your favorite dishes. In the case of hard shell crab, soft shell crab and krab, this is often confusing. In Japanese cuisine, they are all used in similar dishes, so what are the differences? Here we’ll give you a little information to help you navigate the menu next time you dine with us.

HARD SHELL AND SOFT SHELL CRAB

Though called by different names, both soft shell and hard shell crab both come from the same type of crab. These crustaceans, usually blue crabs, go through a molting period when they mature. This means that they have grown too large for their shells and need to remove them before they can grow a new, larger shell to accommodate their size.

This process begins with the crab absorbing water until it swells large enough to break open its current shell and climb out. Once the crab has picked its way free from the old shell, it can begin growing a new shell. A few days will pass before a new hard shell has finished growing to cover the exposed soft body of the crab. During this short window, the crab is harvested quickly and can be prepared in a variety of different ways.

While both soft and hard shell crab have a bright, salty sweet flavor, the textures are quite different. The texture of a soft shell crab is unique. Normally deep fried, a light crunch gives way to the buttery soft meat inside. Though not quite as delicate in texture, the hard shell crab has a slightly more robust flavor hidden inside the tough exterior.

For a soft shell crab experience you will not forget, take a look at our Spider Roll. A deep fried soft shell crab and crab cake are combined with cucumber, avocado, masago and mayo rolled together with diced mango, eel sauce and sesame seeds inside a sheet of crisp nori.

WHAT IS KRAB AND WHY IS IT USED?

Despite the name, krab is normally not made with any real crab, though some companies do use real crab along with the other ingredients. Called surimi, imitation crab or krab, this imitation meat is normally made of three basic ingredients. White fish, starch and spices are ground together to create a paste which can then be shaped into leg-like pieces and colored to resemble crab. Common in Japanese cuisine, this imitation seafood is used in many dishes all over the world.

Created in Japan as a cost effective replacement for shellfish in the 1970’s, surimi gained global popularity. Not only is it cheap and easy to manufacture, but surimi has a longer shelf life than standard shellfish and is easier to acquire all year. A decade later, surimi surfaced in the United States as imitation crab or Krab in sushi and seafood restaurants where it became a favorite. Today, imitation crab is still widely popular both in seafood dishes and as a shellfish alternative.

For those who would like to try imitation crab today, might we suggest our Rainbow Roll. Imitation crab, cucumber and avocado are rolled together inside nori and topped with tuna, salmon, white fish, avocado, mosago, lemon drops and sesame seeds.

For those who suffer from shellfish or other food allergies, please talk to your chef and server. While we cannot guarantee to completely eliminate all allergens, we will do everything we can to ensure your protection, including preparing your meal in our back kitchen.

Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed

As the leading Japanese Steakhouse in Central Florida, we are now in 11 locations from Orlando to Tampa, and our reputation is built on serving delicious Japanese cuisine, and doing it with flair!

Though we are pleased to cook specialized orders in the kitchen, including gluten-free meals, our specially trained chefs are proud to prepare the dishes for your entire party on an authentic Japanese grill as a part of your dining experience at the table.

Each table seats up to 10 people, and you will see your dinner prepared right in front of you after you have selected from our extensive menu. Our talented chefs enjoy preparing your dinners for you and your party in a stir-fry style that is naturally delicious in authentic Japanese style.

Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world. We offer the freshest of fish for sushi and the main dishes, precision-cut steaks, and super-fresh vegetables including fresh carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, seaweed, and more. Since all are natural, all are loaded with plenty of nutrients, but seaweed offers an especially high content of minerals and micro-nutrients, such as iodine and iron.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF SEAWEED

A favorite ingredient in Japanese cooking is seaweed. There are hundreds of variations of sea plants in the ocean, and they all are referred to as seaweed. The large majority of edible seaweed is harvested from Asian coastlines, not in the West. In most cases, seaweed is even more nutrient dense than land vegetables.

Asian cultures have known the value of seaweed for thousands of years, and they have known the incredible benefits that come from a diet that includes seaweed. Most seaweed is good to eat and has been found to be surprisingly high in antioxidants and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, iron, and iodine. Of all the fresh vegetables we serve, seaweed is the most abundant in nutrients, and the common types of edible seaweed have 3 to 50 times the amount of iodine. This mineral is severely lacking in land vegetables.

Iodine and iron are two nutrients that are not easily found in Western foods, but they are extremely essential for optimal thyroid function. The thyroid must function properly as it regulates hormones throughout the body. It is essential, but you can ensure you are getting the proper amount simply by eating seaweed several times a month. Enjoy having sushi rolls after work or inviting friends to have a fresh, authentic Japanese dinner prepared tableside.

In popular dishes like sushi, the type of seaweed that is typically used is called Nori, and Nori is used in the edible wrapping for sushi rolls. We also use seaweed in other ways, too. Seaweed salad is a light, but very popular salad dish served with a very tasty, light dressing, and we add seaweed to some of the main dishes because it provides such a nice texture and taste.

Another fantastic benefit of seaweed is that it has high antioxidant properties as well as significant anti-inflammatory capacities. Seaweed is loaded with phycocyanins, carotenoids, and other various bioactive compounds. In common language, seaweed invigorates the immune system to perform at its best, which gives you more energy. Seaweed is one of the most distinctive ingredients which makes Asian cuisine so unique and delightful to eat. It is one of the most beneficial, and now you know one of our traditional secrets to delicious Japanese dishes.

So, to feel your best, have Japanese cuisine often! We find it is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy a fresh, fabulous meal with extra natural and nutritional benefits.

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