Nikko Kirifuri

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annis
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Nikko Kirifuri

Post by annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:46 am

A new Japanese restaurant opened in my beloved Madison, WI, recently - Muramoto - and this evening I finally made it there with some friends (the band Null Device, and associated S.O.'s, all in one place preparing for a show tomorrow). The food is quite good, and not, unlike many restaurants in town these days, absurdly priced.

They are known for their sake, and rice wine is experiencing a bit of a fad in parts of the U.S right now. I felt it would be only polite to make sure I got to taste more than just one. I will not talk about the early samples, lovely though they were.

I will talk about Nikko Kirifuri. This is an unfiltered sake. These are cloudy, and from a distance look a bit like milk. I've seen these, though I've never tried one before. In general they are a bit sweeter, but I bothered the waitress for more info because I generally don't care for sweet wines, and I didn't think sweet sake would go over too well. When she mentioned the tartness of the Nikko Kirifuiri I knew what I would be trying. It's been very hot and humid in Madison lately, and cool and tart sounded good. So I ordered it.

This stuff isn't just unfiltered, it's a meal. There are bits of rice still floating in it, and it is thicker than most of us would expect from the word "wine." It has an amazing tartness (not overpowering), and a fruit aroma. It is the strangest, most wonderful sake I have ever had.

If the sake craze makes it to your part of the world, and you're not a teetotaler, find some place which will serve this. It's a bit more expensive than the lower end unfiltereds (I tried a lower end unfiltered a friend ordered - it's a barbaric smack in the face after the Nikko K.), but isn't the shock to the wallet many sake can be.

I have the urge to break out the ink stone and paint chrysanthemum blossoms and crickets.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Post by klewlis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:19 am

hm.... chunky wine... i'm not sure i could handle the texture, regardless of how great the flavour may be!

glad to hear that you've found something great though ;)

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Post by Emma_85 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 10:57 am

Never tried rice-wine before. Sounds like it would be expensive here though, normal wine is much cheaper, costs only a few Euro's a canister (only people with no idea buy wine by the bottle :P ).
So, uh... is it just as alcoholic as normal wine (16% where I live) and does it taste anything at all like normal wine? Your discription seems to suggest otherwise...
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Post by benissimus » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:19 pm

Forget the wine, how was the sushi?! Actually I have to admit that you talking about the floating food in your wine made me a little hungry, maybe I will try it in three years.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Post by Emma_85 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:29 pm

Urgh... sushi :P . Lol, rice wine doesn't sound bad, but raw fish does.
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Post by annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:41 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Never tried rice-wine before. Sounds like it would be expensive here though, normal wine is much cheaper, costs only a few Euro's a canister (only people with no idea buy wine by the bottle :P ).
Canister? In the U.S. regular people get wine in bottles (or boxes... we don't discuss that). How big are these canisters?
So, uh... is it just as alcoholic as normal wine (16% where I live) and does it taste anything at all like normal wine? Your discription seems to suggest otherwise...
It is as alcoholic as normal wine, in the 12-20% range (the high end fortified, I believe). It tasted as much like wine as sake does in general, which is not a lot. There are some points of similarity, especially with white wines, but one sip would make it clear it's a different thing.
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Post by annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:53 pm

benissimus wrote:Forget the wine, how was the sushi?!
I didn't have any sushi this time, but my dinner companions that did seemed to think everything was pretty good. I knew we'd be getting better than usual Japanese food when I saw the giant sushi rice tub when we walked in.

Restaurant miso soup in the U.S. is regularly a light dashi stock (bonito, kombu) with one of the lighter misos, wee cubes of tofu and perhaps some wakame (seaweed). At Muramoto we got a stronger stock, and a very dark miso, which I'm 90% sure was fermented with very deeply toasted rice. It was quite robust. I liked it.

Then I had eel tempura, which I liked even more. I love eel. Then I had the Nikko K., and all else was forgotten in the face of such strangeness.
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Post by Emma_85 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:36 pm

Well, I've never been to a Japanese restaurant before, the nearest one is in Heidelberg, but honestly, I'm not sure my stomach would thank me much :wink: . I prefer Indian and Indonesian food.

How big are these canisters?

Oh you can get the small 3 litre ones, or the big 6 litre ones and everything between, you don't have you fill your canisters up, just fill in as much wine as you want to buy. The wine that comes in canisters isn't as alcoholic and normally sweet whatever grape, but the bottled wines are much more expensive. Normally people mix wine with water here so there's not much point in buying an expensive wine, a cheap one will too. The annoying thing is you have to buy your own canisters of course, but once you've bought one (just a cheap white plastic one) all you have to do is go up the road and fill up at the local green grocers. In spring no wine has been picked and wine doesn't keep that well in canisters so you usually have to wait until summer before you can buy canisters loads of wine again.
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Post by Turpissimus » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:47 pm

I thought sushi was the overcooked rice, and that sashimi was the undercooked fish. Could be wrong though.

Fun fact: The word 'Tempura' is said to be a corruption of the Portuguese
word 'Temporo' which means 'cooking'.

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Post by annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:44 pm

Turpissimus wrote:I thought sushi was the overcooked rice, and that sashimi was the undercooked fish. Could be wrong though.
This is true (well, sashimi is raw fish) but I found if I make that distinction in general conversation most people still have no idea what I mean. The sushi rice will also have a bit of vinegar in it.
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Post by Turpissimus » Sat Jul 31, 2004 5:10 pm

I believe salt and sugar (urgghh!) are also added. Apparently particular restaurants have their own method for cooking up the stuff, and sushi chefs can take ten years to be properly qualified. Imagine - ten years learning how to cook rice.

Emma isn't entirely incorrect though - sushi can inslude a bit of raw fish. Maguro for instance has a bit of tuna, hototegai a bit of scallop, tako a bit of octopus.

Also, while we're discussing Japanese food - it would have been nice if you could have tasted fugu. I know the chefs are highly trained and the fish itself coveted and expensive, and so not therefore likely to be available in Wisconsin. It seems the fish itself is regarded as tasty, and according to one source "causes a pleasant numbing of the lips and tongue".

Or how about ikizukuru, a fish which is skillfully cut so that the tail and backbone continue to twitch after it has been served? Dojo-nabe (loach hotpot) is made from live loach, tofu and stock cooked at the table. As the stock heats up the fish swim into the tofu for release from the heat, and then suffocate, and are eaten.

It strikes me that this kind of fare might be a bit too exotic for the average citizen of the Badger state (or for that matter for the average japanese), but it would be a bit sad if you didn't have any "gruesome foreign food" stories to share with us.

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Post by annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:27 pm

Turpissimus wrote:Also, while we're discussing Japanese food - it would have been nice if you could have tasted fugu.
No. I'll pass on tetrodotoxin poisoning. No flaccid paralysis for me, please.

As an aside, I once got curious about fugu, and looked up the toxin. Most tetrodotoxin poisoing incidents in the U.S. happen to young males in California. Evidently one or two a year take a dare to swallow a small whole, live lizard. If you pick the wrong one, your day is ruined. Amusingly, one of the symptoms of tetr. poisoning on a US gov't fact sheet is "a sense of impending doom." No kidding.
I know the chefs are highly trained and the fish itself coveted and expensive, and so not therefore likely to be available in Wisconsin.
To serve it in the U.S. at all requires a raft of paperwork.
It seems the fish itself is regarded as tasty, and according to one source "causes a pleasant numbing of the lips and tongue".
And another source I have describes the flavor (minus the numbing, which is *not* supposed to happen, IIRC) as "bland."
It strikes me that this kind of fare might be a bit too exotic for the average citizen of the Badger state (or for that matter for the average japanese), but it would be a bit sad if you didn't have any "gruesome foreign food" stories to share with us.
Madison is a major college town, so we have more than our fair share of excellent restaurants covering food from all over the place. I regularly eat things most people here are afraid of: chilled jellyfish, eel, congee is a regular breakfast. Even duck isn't a regular food for most Americans. I've eaten durian (blech). I love to freak out the waiters at one of the local Chinese restaurants by ordering bitter melon w/ black beans and pork. They always ask me if I know what I'm doing (I don't order it often enough that the last waiter hasn't left already).

But I think I'll avoid any food that can trivially lead to a creeping flaccid paralysis, the progress of which you will be aware of until your final moments.
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Post by Turpissimus » Sat Jul 31, 2004 7:01 pm

No. I'll pass on tetrodotoxin poisoning. No flaccid paralysis for me, please.
Yes that might be quite sensible - apparently even in Japan some 50-100 people each year die of the poison, although the figures given seem to vary a great deal depending on which source you consult. It appears to happen most in remote areas of Japan, where, I imagine, the C-grade chefs, who only just passed the exam go.

Anyway, I'm glad you get the opportunity to taste something exotic. Here in Romford, alas, there is not much in the way of adventurous cuisine.

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Post by Keesa » Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:00 pm

I try not to drink wine (alcoholism runs in the family, so I have to be careful), but I must admit, the Nikko Kirifuri sounds interesting! Have a glass for me next time you're there. :wink:
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Post by 1%homeless » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:57 am

alcoholism runs in the family, so I have to be careful
Well, I have a mutant allele that prevents me from drinking. I break out in rashes and itch for about a week. It's not really an allergy, but some weird Asian genetic condition that I can hardly find information about. What I've read is that a good portion of the Asian population can't really drink without being flushed or getting extreme reactions like mine. I guess from certain perspectives it can be good luck ...or a curse.
I love to freak out the waiters at one of the local Chinese restaurants by ordering bitter melon w/ black beans and pork
...? So how do you prepare this? I actually never ate raw bitter melon, but my usual bitter melon is just the stuffed variety in a soup that my mom makes once in a while.
I've eaten durian (blech).
Agreed. :P I hate it when my parents stink up the fridge with that stuff. It's not just the smell, but it makes some of my leftovers taste like durian as well. Ick.

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Post by Turpissimus » Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:49 am

some weird Asian genetic condition that I can hardly find information about.
Yes, I've heard about this. I'm told it's to do with the way different cultures purify water. In the far east they drank tea, and the tannins killed of cholera and what have you, but in the west the method of choice for water preservation was to simply drink beer. I believe I saw it on one of these channel four documentaries about the human genome or something. Anyway, I've met plenty of chinese/singaporeans with the trait.

EDIT: I've just realized that makes absolutely no sense. How could rashes and hot flushes be a prompt for natural selection? Ho-hum, time for some quite serious googling when I get home......
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Post by annis » Mon Aug 02, 2004 12:34 pm

1%homeless wrote:Well, I have a mutant allele that prevents me from drinking. I break out in rashes and itch for about a week. It's not really an allergy, but some weird Asian genetic condition that I can hardly find information about. What I've read is that a good portion of the Asian population can't really drink without being flushed or getting extreme reactions like mine.
I remember being at a bar with some friends once and some Asian businessmen (Chinese, I think) were in for some conference or another. "Is that guy about to have a heart attack?!" one of my friends asked. I had to explain about the flush some Asians get when drinking.
I love to freak out the waiters at one of the local Chinese restaurants by ordering bitter melon w/ black beans and pork
...? So how do you prepare this? I actually never ate raw bitter melon, but my usual bitter melon is just the stuffed variety in a soup that my mom makes once in a while.
Stuffed? How is that made?

For the bitter melon with pork, when I make it it's just a lazy stir fry: slice the melon lengthwise, scrape out the terrifying red pith and seeds, slice, parboil for a few minutes then drain. Then you're ready for the usual preparation, fry garlic, sliced pork or beef, the bitter melon, black beans (the fermented variety) plus the usual Chinese soy, stock and yarrow or cornstarch to thicken.

Mine isn't the same as the one restaurant I know that has this, but it's pretty close.
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Re: Nikko Kirifuri

Post by Big John » Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Wow wee ka zoweeee 8)
This sounds wonderful. I feel thirsty just thinking about it. Luckily there is a water cooler nearby :cry:



quote="annis"]A new Japanese restaurant opened in my beloved Madison, WI, recently - Muramoto - and this evening I finally made it there with some friends (the band Null Device, and associated S.O.'s, all in one place preparing for a show tomorrow). The food is quite good, and not, unlike many restaurants in town these days, absurdly priced.

They are known for their sake, and rice wine is experiencing a bit of a fad in parts of the U.S right now. I felt it would be only polite to make sure I got to taste more than just one. I will not talk about the early samples, lovely though they were.

I will talk about Nikko Kirifuri. This is an unfiltered sake. These are cloudy, and from a distance look a bit like milk. I've seen these, though I've never tried one before. In general they are a bit sweeter, but I bothered the waitress for more info because I generally don't care for sweet wines, and I didn't think sweet sake would go over too well. When she mentioned the tartness of the Nikko Kirifuiri I knew what I would be trying. It's been very hot and humid in Madison lately, and cool and tart sounded good. So I ordered it.

This stuff isn't just unfiltered, it's a meal. There are bits of rice still floating in it, and it is thicker than most of us would expect from the word "wine." It has an amazing tartness (not overpowering), and a fruit aroma. It is the strangest, most wonderful sake I have ever had.

If the sake craze makes it to your part of the world, and you're not a teetotaler, find some place which will serve this. It's a bit more expensive than the lower end unfiltereds (I tried a lower end unfiltered a friend ordered - it's a barbaric smack in the face after the Nikko K.), but isn't the shock to the wallet many sake can be.

I have the urge to break out the ink stone and paint chrysanthemum blossoms and crickets.[/quote]
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Post by 1%homeless » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:45 am

when I make it it's just a lazy stir fry
Hmm. I have never eaten bitter melon in stir fry. But it's not that unusual to be shocking. I might try it someday. :)
Stuffed? How is that made?
http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/recipes/R ... lon%20Soup'

It's simliar to my mom's recipe, but she adds those clear angel hair thin noodles in the stuffing. There are a few other miscellaneous things that I can't recall in the recipe.

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Post by Kopio » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:16 pm

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......sushi.....mmmmmmmm! Hey William.....ever try making your own at home?? I make a mean tuna roll! Last time it turned out looking like this though.....I don't think it was tuna!

Image

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Post by eris » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:59 pm

Poor Nemo!

Otherwise, sushi is delicious though I have a hard time rolling it. I have a bamboo mat & I line it with plastic wrap before I place the sushi rice in it. Still, the sushi roll is rather ugly, but it does taste good.

Anyone have good tips on making a pretty one?

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Re: Nikko Kirifuri

Post by mingshey » Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:28 am

annis wrote:I will talk about Nikko Kirifuri. This is an unfiltered sake. These are cloudy, and from a distance look a bit like milk. I've seen these, though I've never tried one before. In general they are a bit sweeter, but I bothered the waitress for more info because I generally don't care for sweet wines, and I didn't think sweet sake would go over too well. When she mentioned the tartness of the Nikko Kirifuiri I knew what I would be trying. It's been very hot and humid in Madison lately, and cool and tart sounded good. So I ordered it.
Just sounds like the same thing as makkoli or dong-dong-ju of Korea. It had been the most popular wine in Korea. It is notorious for the headache you get after drinking a lot of it.(this is partly because Koreans drink like crazy) -- Any kind of unfiltered wine containes a relatively higher proprtion of methanol. And this turns into the worse kind of aldehyde(form-aldehyde, a toxical material if I remember it correctly) that gives you headache. In the filtered(distilled) wines, including Sake, contains less amount of methanol, easier to evaporate, thus gives less headache.

By the way, try warm sake in the cold winter night next time. (yummy)

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