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You will see sake differently once you visit GASHUE in Ueno [PR]

Ueno

Discover the four basic Japanese sake types and what foods to pair them with at Permium Sake Pub GASHUE in Ueno, Tokyo. Tasting sets (four sakes paired with four foods) are available for just ¥1,900.

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Ueno is arguably one of the best foodie spots to discover in Tokyo. Among the variety of interesting restaurants and bars, Premium Sake Pub GASHUE stands out for offering a sake-tasting experience that is affordable, tasty (both for the sake and the food), and informative.

If you want to discover the fascinating and complex world of Japanese sake, Gashue is the place to visit.

It's on a quiet street, located about a 3-minute walk from Ueno Station or the iconic Ameya Yokocho shopping street.
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Walk inside and you'll feel the soothing vibe. Gashue has stylish decor coupled with a warm, comfortable atmosphere that's suitable for various occasions. They have a mix of counter seats and tables so you can go casually alone or in a group.
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Although Gashue's specialty is Japanese sake, you should definitely go there with some appetite because their foods, consisting of mainly tapas-like small plates, were precisely designed to be paired with the various kinds of sake that they serve.

Basically, a particular kind of sake is recommended to be paired with a particular food. You just have to ask the staff what they suggest or consult the menu (available in English) to know which pairing to try.

As a first step into the wonderful world of sake, we recommend that you try the ¥1,900 sake-food tasting set that we'll introduce below.

¥1,900 sake tasting sets paired with foods

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Japanese sake is basically divided into four broad categories: kunshu (aromatic sake), soshu (refreshing sake), jukushu (aged sake), and junshu (rich sake). In this tasting set, not only do you get served one of each kind, but also, each glass comes along with a tasty hors-d'oeuvre confectioned specifically to be paired with its corresponding sake.

What you get served changes all the time depending on the season, the availability of the ingredients, and the chef's inspiration of the moment!

Note that if you try the set, Gashue recommends that you get there early (from 17:00 to 18:00) before the pub gets crowded. That way, the staff should have more time to give you detailed explanations about the sake.

Here's a brief overview of the sakes and foods served. The pictures are for illustrative purposes only.

Kunshu: aromatic sake

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Kunshu, with its strong, refreshing aroma and sensation, goes particularly well with foods made with light-tasting ingredients and fruits. Here you see hanpen (pounded fish cake), apples with mascarpone cheese and a little bit of fresh mint as a topping. The sweet acidic taste of the apple and the fresh herbal taste of the mint are the perfect match for this sake.

Soshu: refreshing sake

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Soshu is light and smooth so it goes well with lightly seasoned mellow foods such as the fried tofu bites in the picture.

Jukushu: aged sake

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Jukushu, on the other hand, is a matured sake that has powerful notes, so you can combine it with foods seasoned with various spices and herbs. It goes very well with foods sweetened with brown sugar or foods with nutty flavors.

Junshu: rich sake

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Junshu, because of its strong character is compatible with well-seasoned, strong-tasting foods. Many junshu sakes are best enjoyed warm.

With the sake tasting set, not only do you get one of each of the major kinds of sake, but one of them will also be served as an 'atsukan' (warmed up). You'll be amazed by how fragrant the sake becomes when brought to a temperature of 50 degrees Celcius (as opposed to being served slightly chilled at around 10 degrees Celcius). The warm sake has a powerful taste that mellows out rapidly in the mouth.

Through your tasting experience, another thing you will learn about is how the grain polishing level affects the sake. Indeed, one important thing you see on sake labels aside from the degree of alcohol is the rice polishing ratio, which indicates how much the grain of rice is polished before being used in the sake-making process.

Enjoy Japanese sake at Gashue!

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Gashue is a unique place with the mission of spreading love and knowledge about sake, Japan's traditional alcohol. For that reason, they are very accomodating to foreigners as well, so do not hesitate to walk in even if you don't speak a word of Japanese.

To learn the basics about sake, you can even join a class conducted in English inside the pub.
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