Top photo by Adang N MI/Flickr
Japanese society is known for being one of the rigid countries when it comes to their work ethics. They expect the best from their employees and the company in return, rewards them with the salary that they deserve. To distress and relax for a short time after work, Japanese workers often spend their time drinking beer with their co-workers or their friends. They either go and drink alcohol after taking a dip in the hot springs, while singing in the karaoke bars, or at home right after work.”Of course, they do not drink all the alcohol they bought in one sitting. They also consume snacks and/or food that best compliment the beverage. Collectively, these beer snacks are called “otsumami.”
beer snacks are called “otsumami”
Here are some of the examples:
1. Squid Tempura
– Squid Tempura or Ika Tempura (Ika Ten) is one of the most common and recommended otsumami by Japanese consumers. Basically it’s a platter of tempura fried thin-sliced squid. The key here is to make the texture crunchy and chewy. To make it more delicious, you can season it with salt or add flavors like teriyaki or spicy chili pepper.
2. Teriyaki Wings
– Traditionally, Teriyaki pertains to the process of cooking meat overnight with a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and the like. It can also be used as marinate and dip for other dishes – and the best partner for both teriyaki sauce and alcoholic beverages is chicken wings. In Western cuisine, they often partner their beer with buffalo chicken wings. The spicy flavor may taste good but it’s really challenging to look for alternatives if you have no packed buffalo flavorings in the kitchen. Whereas, teriyaki sauce can be hommade and be customized according to how you want it with your meat.
3. Spicy edamame
– Another easy snack to make is the spicy edamame. After thawing the edamame with running water or as instructed in the pack, simply place the edamame in a pan along with garlic, sesame oil, and spicy Japanese seven chili pepper (shichimi togarashi), chili oil (la-yu), and dried red chili peppers. Sautee all of these ingredients together and serve after cooling. The interesting part of this dish is that you get to have the spicy kick while drinking beer and get the nutrition that your body needs since edamame seeds are known for having Vitamin C, protein, and the like.
4. Seaweed Tempura
– Localized as Nori Ten, this dish simply requires seaweed strips to be fried in tempura batter. There are flavors of seaweeds to choose from so choose wisely!
5. Store-bought packs
– If you have no time to cook after work hours, there are already otsumami snacks available in the stores. Some include spicy dried squid, seaweed tempura, etc.”
Distressing with alcoholic beverages, be it beers, sake, wine, or drinks from outside Japan, is best done after long hours of work and with friends or co-workers. Make it more interesting and memorable with top Japanese snacks.