The event named ‘Explore Sake 2023’ was organized by the consulate general in association with Kaku-Uchi & SAKE, the first Japanese sake specialty store in Vietnam, as part of the activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Vietnam and Japan.

30 breweries from across Japan participated in the event, which took place at the residence of Japanese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Masuo ONO.

“Sake, with its diverse flavors and long history, is closely linked to Japanese food culture,” said Consul General ONO.

“In recent years, sake has also become known for its ability to pair well with non-Japanese cuisine such as French or Italian cuisine.”

'Banh hoi nem lui' (pork sausage wrapped in rice noodle) is offered with sake. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

‘Banh hoi nem lui’ (grilled pork wrapped in rice noodles) is served with sake. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

The wine was later found to be able to be served with Vietnamese food as well.

During ‘Explore Sake 2023,’ sake was introduced to pair with typical Vietnamese dishes, including banh hoi nem lui (grilled pork wrapped in rice noodles), shrimp stew in coconut, and banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), along with non-Vietnamese food like sushi, seafood from Japan, and cheesecakes.

“Sake is now favored by many people in various parts of the world. It helps bring people together and make life more colorful,” said Sana Tsukimori, the owner of Kaku-Uchi & SAKE Shop, the co-organizer of the ‘Explore Sake 2023’ program.

She expressed her hope that sake would be a bridge to connect Vietnam and Japan.

Shrimp stew in coconut, a Vietnamese dish, is served as finger food to combine with Japan’s sake. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

Shrimp stew in coconut, a Vietnamese dish, is served as finger food to combine with Japan’s sake. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

Jesse Selvagn, a U.S. sake sommelier, who joined the event as an instructor of sake and food pairings, told Tuoi Tre News that he loves both sake and Vietnamese food.

They are a perfect match as sake has a lot of fruity, herbal, and umami flavors and Vietnam also has fruity, herbal, umami, and sweet savors in its dishes.

Umami is described as savory and is characteristic of broths and cooked meats.

Sharing the idea of combining sake with Vietnam’s typical dishes, Selvagn said, “We met with the consulate’s chef and asked him about the kind of dishes that he was interested in making. We both wanted to showcase sake with Vietnamese food, so he made some traditional banh hoi and banh mi.

“We want to show people how wonderful Vietnamese food [is when combined] with sake.”

Chefs prepare food at the event. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

Chefs prepare finger food at ‘Explore Sake 2023.’ Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

‘Explore Sake 2023’ participants were excited to try pairings of sake and Vietnamese food, including Luke Nguyen, a Vietnamese-Australian chef, who said that Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines are similar in the sense that the two countries love using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

“Sake is a great beverage to pair not only with Japanese food but any cuisine. And Vietnamese food can pair with any kind of wine, whiskey, and also sake.”

Assessing the Vietnamese market, Seiichiro OTA, president of OTA Shuzou Co. Ltd., one of the 30 breweries introducing sake at the event, said the Vietnamese market is promising and his company is seeking to penetrate it.

He hoped to introduce sake products to more Vietnamese consumers in the coming time through this occasion.

Japanese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Masuo ONO (C) and delegates join the Kagami biraki ceremony, a traditional Japanese ceremony performed at events worthy of being celebrated, at the event. Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

Japanese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Masuo ONO (C) and delegates join the Kagami biraki ceremony, a traditional Japanese ceremony performed at events worthy of celebration, ‘Explore Sake 2023.’ Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

(L to R) Consuls General of the Netherlands, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hungary pose for a photo at the event. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

From right: Consuls General of the Netherlands, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hungary pose for a photo at ‘Explore Sake 2023.’ Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

An employee of a Japanese brewery prepares sake for participants in the event. Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

An employee of a Japanese brewery prepares beverages for participants in ‘Explore Sake 2023.’ Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

A representative of OTA Shuzou Co. Ltd., one of the 30 breweries introducing sake at the event, introduces his company's products to a visitor. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

A representative of OTA Shuzou Co. Ltd., one of the 30 breweries introducing sake at ‘Explore Sake 2023,introduces his company’s products to a visitor. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre News

Japanese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Masuo ONO (L, 3rd) poses for a photo with representatives of a Japanese brewery at the event. Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

Japanese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Masuo ONO (L, 3rd) poses for a photo with representatives of a Japanese brewery at ‘Explore Sake 2023.’ Photo: Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News