Embrace the Fragrant Harbour’s winter chill with an ochoko of sake at one of the city’s specialist bars.
A new hangout that opened last July in Sheung Wan, TMK serves sake and temaki, with a side of rock ’n’ roll, in surroundings that are reminiscent of your favorite dive bar. The sake list is compact but comprehensive, while a sake-based cocktail features plum and cucumber syrup for a refreshing concoction. Make friends at the bar with the “Drinks on Me” order (HKD290, about Php1,880), which ensures a pour of sake for staff and patrons. tmk.hk
Located in the historic PMQ complex, Sake Central celebrates Japanese culinary traditions. Existing at the crossroads between a classic watering hole and a retail and educational space, it’s overseen by Italian Matteo Ceravolo, who believes that sake is something that should be appreciated by all. The 16-seat bar serves otsumami, or snacks, to match your preferred pour of rice wine. sake-central.com
When Ronin first opened in 2013, the sibling establishment to popular yakitori spot Yardbird, its 14-seat interior was unique in Hong Kong, not only for its diminutive size but also for its dedication to the Japanese libations it served alongside its exquisite bites. As well as whiskies, umeshu and shochu, it has a spectacular selection of sake and even offers sake pairing. roninhk.com
Ask The Expert!
Q: Is there a correct way to enjoy sake?
There’s no right or wrong way to drink sake. In my opinion, a wine glass is always the best choice when it comes to tastings and the study of it, but when it comes to social drinking, the best thing is just to enjoy it.
Q: Are there any rules regarding hot or cold sake?
There are a few guidelines but no rules: often, a sake that isn’t too aromatic but more full-bodied and with a strong rice component can be enjoyed at various temperatures. A fruity, light and sweet sake is more suitable to be drunk cold, but I always suggest experimenting and trying every sake at different temperatures.
Q: Is there a sake you can recommend for this time of year?
There’s a seasonal release called hiyaoroshi that matures over the summer before being bottled in September. It’s sold until December or January and is usually very creamy, acidic and umami, which makes it great for autumn dishes.
— Matteo Ceravolo, general manager and sake expert at Sake Central