How Sake is Made

At our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, there’s no better drink to accompany your sushi than a glass of real Japanese sake. But what brings the sake to our tables? From the rice grains to your glass, the production of Japan’s famous rice wine is a long and complex one:

  • First, the rice is milled and cleaned. This rice then needs to be steamed to achieve an appropriate consistency to be properly fermented. Half of this steamed rice is placed in a large fat and the other half is put aside to create the starter.
  • The rice set aside for the starter is seeded with a species of mold known as koji. This mold starts the fermentation process, converting the starches of the rice into sugars. This process lasts between three and four days.
  • When the koji starter is ready, it is mixed with the remaining rice. This is then combined with water and yeast. The resulting mixture then continues to ferment for the next few weeks.
  • Once the brewer deems the mixture to be ready, it is pressed to remove the fluids. This fluid is filtered and pasteurized.
  • The sake is aged about six months, then distilled with water to achieve the desired level of alcohol by volume. At this point, it is ready to be bottled, sold, and enjoyed!

How Rice Vinegar is Made

Plain White Rice vs. Sushi Rice

The rice that we use in the sushi at our Bellevue Japanese restaurant is not just normal steamed rice. If you’re familiar with sushi, you may have noticed that sushi rice has a subtle taste and texture to it that goes beyond plain white rice.

So, what is it that turns normal rice into sushi rice?

The answer is sushi vinegar. This is a special variety of vinegar made by mixing rice vinegar with other ingredients. The specific recipe will vary from place to place, but the rice vinegar is fairly universal; the taste of white vinegar is too strong, and would overpower the subtle tastes that you find in sushi. In general, sushi vinegar consists of the rice vinegar, salt, and a sweetening agent like sugar, sake, or occasionally nori.

Anago: the Saltwater Eel

Anago – Sea Eel

When it comes to eels in sushi, many Western diners are most familiar with the freshwater unagi. Somewhat less common among other sushi restaurants is the saltwater variety of eel, known to the Japanese as anago.

Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Eel

Anago is distinctive from its freshwater cousin in its texture and taste. Many people find it to be pleasingly soft and sweet, with a somewhat less oily quality. While the unagi is generally grilled before being used in sushi, anago will usually be simmered. You can find this exciting taste sensation at our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, so come on down to Flo Bellevue to try some anago today!

Knowing Your Sake

Sake at Flo Bellevue

At our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, we offer an extensive list of different kinds of sake to go with your sushi dining experience. If you’re not familiar with sake, you might be confused by the different categories you find.

What is ginjo and daiginjo sake?

Ginjo and daiginjo both represent premium varieties of sake. These are produced by polishing the rice grains further before fermenting them into the wine. Ginjo is made with rice that has had 40% of its mass polished away, while daiginjo has been polished down to 50% or less of its original size. This creates a lighter, more delicate, and more complex taste in the finished product. Consider trying one of these fine options as a complement to your next sushi meal at Flo Bellevue.

Eat Right: Eat Roe!

Have you ever tried roe?  If you haven’t, come and take the plunge at our Japanese restaurant in Bellevue!  Though many westerners can be leery about thinking of fish eggs as a food item, there are many benefits to making them a part of your diet.  Not only are they a delicious part of any sushi, but they’re surprisingly healthy!

It’s been found that roe is the greatest natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  These acids, which are abundant in most forms of seafood, are essential to maintain proper circulatory health and battle all sorts of crippling diseases.  Fish eggs, especially those of the common salmon, are particularly rich in Omega-3.

So if you’re ready to benefit from the powers of roe, order up a plate of our favorite sushi!  We offer both ikura (salmon eggs) and tobiko (flying fish eggs).