• Jennifer Yeo

IPPIN Celebrates Japanese Food and Beverage Culture at Takashimaya 25th Anniversary Japan Food Fair!

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At the Sake Bar at IPPIN's Booth

Takashimaya 25th anniversary Japan Food Matsuri was one of the most spectacular fairs in Singapore. From 28 September to 14 October 2018, IPPIN celebrated Japanese culture with an impressive showcase of sakes and Japanese specialities from over nine Japan prefectures such as Niigata, Fukui, Ishikawa, Gifu, Ibaraki, Nagano, Miyagi, Fukuoka and Kumamoto.

IPPIN's booth featured a Sake Bar with sake from 12 breweries from Japan, including Japan's oldest sake brewery, Sudo Honke. There were 29 premium sakes at affordable prices, from S$51 per bottle and S$15 for a sake tasting set. Sake aficionados also attended sake tasting sessions to sample the different varieties of sake.

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25-year old Vintage Kakunkou Junmai Daiginjo Sake by Sudo Honke

The most prized item at IPPIN's booth was the 25-year old Vintage Kakunkou Junmai Daiginjo Sake by Sudo Honke - Japan’s oldest sake brewer. The sake is priced at S$38 000.

In fact, the sake is so unique that it was sent to guests of Prime Minister of Japan as gifts. I was honoured to have the opportunity to meet up with the President of Sudo Honke, Mr Gen-uemon Sudo, who shared with me some of the secrets of brewing sake.

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With Mr President of Sudo Honke, Mr Gen-uemon Sudo

Another sake brewery, Hashimoto prides itself on using traditional methods of brewing sake since it was established 258 years ago. I was delighted to meet up with sake brewers, Mr Yoshiyuki Hashimoto and his wife who shared with me the history of their brewery.

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With Mr and Mrs Yoshiyuki Hashimoto and the Dai Ginjyo 25-Year Aged 1993 Sake

The Dai Ginjyo 25-Year Aged 1993 Sake is one of the most unique sakes produced by Hashimoto. It has a gorgeous, mellow aroma and ripened umami taste. This sake is the celebration of 50 years of brewing techniques of sake maker, Ryohei Mei. Priced at S$627 per bottle.

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Other popular sakes from Hashimoto

Other popular sakes from Hashimoto include the Honjyozo Dry Shoki, Honjyozo Jyudaime and Daiginjyo Gendainomeikou.

Honjyozo Dry Shoki

(1st from left)

Brilliant sake with dry and refreshing taste. It has a mellow flavour with delicate texture.

Priced at S$53 per bottle.

Honjyozo Jyudaime

(2nd from left)

Produced by Ryohei Mae, it has the mild aroma of rice and a soft aftertaste. It is well-balanced and can be served hot. Priced at S$55 per bottle.

Daiginjyo Gendainomeikou

(3rd from left)

This sake was brewed to commemorate Ryohei Mae who received a prize for brewing sake for 50 years. It has a mature taste and pleasant fruity aroma. Best to drink chilled.

Priced at S$128 per bottle.

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Sommelier from IPPIN, Ayumi preparing the sake for the tasting session

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With Mr Toshio Sasaki, Deputy Manager of Sake Brewery, Showa Shoji

I was also delighted to meet up with Mr Toshio Sasaki, Deputy Manager of Showa Shoji and had the pleasure of trying some of the brewery's popular sakes. The most unique is the 2-Year Aged Daruma Masamune priced at S$393. The rice flavour is blended into the "moromi" (solid mass of swollen rice grains) and the taste gets richer and deeper with the passage of time.

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25-Year Aged Daruma Masamune Sake

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Maiko getting the sake ready for tasting.

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High Quality Sakes from Showa Shoji

Takesuzume, Yamahai Junmai

(1st from left)

Having been pressed pasteurised in 2014, this sake was cellared for two whole years, resulting in its rich dry taste.

It has a rich amber colour, deep savoury and acidic taste and a sharp finish.

Priced at S$75 per bottle.

Kinran Kamenoyo Kumejiro

(2nd from left)

Made from Fukiokoshi rice in Nagano prefecture, this sake is best served on the rocks due to its dry taste. It is particularly popular with men. Vinitaly 5-star Sake 2018: Selected Prize.

Priced at S$70 per bottle

Shuho Alps Masamune Daiginjo Shizuku

(3rd from left)

Made from Yamadanishiki rice in Hyogo prefecture, this sake is made using underground water of the Alps mountain. The “moromi” (solid mass of swollen rice grains) is controlled by low temperature for a long time. Sake is dripped from hanged bags by gravity. This premium sake has won the Gold Prize for the Annual Japan Sake Awards for the Daiginjo category.

Priced at S$203 per bottle

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Fruit, brown rice and ginger vinegar

In addition to the Sake Bar, there was also a retail section showcasing premium fruit, brown rice and ginger vinegar as well as exquisite mosaic sushi, sushi rolls and bara chirashi sushi handmade daily by skilful Ninja Chef, Takanobu Matsuto. My favourite was the Bara Chirashi Don which was delicious and bursting with freshness.

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Chef Makanobu Matsuto at work

Shoppers sampled succulent boiled octopus and grilled kurama shrimp and took their pick from the delightful range of condiments and retail items from Umaiya such as sweet ayu fish, candied prawns and walnut with young sardine.

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Japanese condiments and retail food items from Umaiya

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My favourite Bara Chirashi Don

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Succulent Boiled Octopus

Overall, the 25th Anniversary Japan Food Matsuri was a fun, enriching and interactive showcase of Japanese food and culture in one location and I loved the sakes and food products at IPPIN's booth.

© 2019 by Jennifer Yeo. 

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