Friday, June 20, 2014

NA Sales Premium Karaage Powder for your Karaage Revolution!

No matter where you go, fried chicken is a fantastic comfort food. The southern United States is known for having some the greatest fried chicken, but let's not forget about Japanese style karaage!

Japanese style chicken karaage often uses smaller, boneless pieces of chicken in contrast to the big bone-in pieces of American fried chicken. Additionally, potato starch or corn starch is used to create a light, crunchy texture.

Today we prepared our new Premium Karaage Powder with no MSG in our kitchen. We used two different methods of preparing the chicken: one method we used just the powder, and the other we mixed the powder with water. Both were tasty and brought about different characteristics.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kikusui – Defeating the Stigma of the Can

What do you think of when you hear “sake in a can?” To be frank, it’s probably not the most positive image. Canned products have faced an undeserving stigma for being low grade or having inferior quality. That is simply not the case, and Kikusui wants to let the world know.

Kikusui Brewery in the Winter
We met with Richard Priest of Kikusui and had the privilege of sampling a few products, including the aforementioned canned sake. But first, why are some of Kikusui’s sakes canned? The main goal is product preservation. With a bottle, the seal will never be completely airtight around the opening. In comparison, Kikusui’s can is specially lined on the inside and completely sealed so nothing can enter or leave. Furthermore unlike a bottle, light cannot enter a can and spoil the sake. An unpasteurized sake such as the Funaguchi is susceptible to various environmental hazards such as light and air, but a completely sealed vessel will prevent the elements from negatively affecting the contents. Kikusui’s Funaguchi sake in its characteristic yellow can was the first of its kind when it was introduced over forty years ago as a NAMA (fresh) sake. To date, it is Kikusui’s most popular product, accounting for a third of their overall sales.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hatcho Miso

Miso is the everyday ingredient of Japanese cusine. A simple miso soup is a healthy way to start the day. Recently we had the opportunity to meet and speak with Mr. Nobutaro Asai, president of Hatcho Miso from the Hatcho district of Okazaki City in Aichi, Japan. Okazaki is also famous for being the birthplace of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, a reported fan of Hatcho Miso. He enjoyed it so much, he would have the miso sent to Edo and distributed to his followers.

Mr. Asai’s philosophy behind his products is to spend deliberate time and patience to create the highest quality miso. From start to finish, it takes two and a half years to create a batch of miso. Mr. Asai explained that although this seems like too long for most manufacturers, this is crucial to create the richest flavors. In addition, the only ingredients used are soy beans, salt, and water. No additives are used.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

NA Sales 11th Annual Tradeshow

Thank you to everyone who attended our 11th annual tradeshow! We had the biggest turnout this year and appreciate the support of everyone. This year, the event was held at the Westin San Francisco Airport hotel ballroom. There were, as always, an exciting amount of products on display for sample including sake and beer from Japan as well as locally from the states!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bringing Together Sake and Wine

What do you think of when you hear the words “Japanese culture?” Perhaps sushi, maybe samurai warriors, or maybe even catchy pop music comes to mind. But what about the enigmatic sake? Sake is one of the defining cultural pieces of Japan, yet it hasn’t quite broken into the international mainstream compared to its western rival, wine.

Over the weekend, myself along with several other NA Sales staff members had the pleasure of attending  a “Sake 101” seminar from the Hakkaisan brand ambassador and Sake Samurai Tim Sullivan as well as Suguru Nakajima, a representative from the Hakkaisan brewery in Niigata, Japan, at the beautiful Silenus Vintners vineyards in Napa, California. Also in attendance were Scott Meadows of Silenus Vintners, Yuri Soshizaki of Napa Valley Wine Train, Bryan Avila of Napa Valley Wineworks, and Pam Harter of David Arthur Vineyards, to name a few. This convergence of eastern sake from Hakkaisan and western wine from Silenus Vintners was a beautiful contrast.

(Sake Samurai is a title given by the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council to individuals who are dedicated to spreading knowledge about sake worldwide. Tim is no exception, and travels the globe to passionately speak about sake to both beginners and seasoned veterans in an easy to understand manner.)