The 19th annual Joy of Sake Honolulu returns


The 19th annual Joy of Sake Honolulu returns to the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday, August 9 with a largest-ever array of 512 world-class sakes paired with sake-inspired dishes from 21 of Honolulu’s best restaurants. The country’s largest sake celebration will also feature an appearance by Japan’s Miss Sake 2019, brewers pouring their prize labels, local potters selling one-of-a-kind sake cups and glasses, and a lantern-lit Izakaya Alley.

Jon Matsubara is one of Honolulu’s best chefs, and he’s debuting his first solo restaurant, Feast by Jon Matsubara, at the Joy of Sake. Jon’s cooked at three-Michelin-star restaurants and Merriman’s, Forty Carrots by Bloomingdale’s and Azure in Honolulu. For the event he’s created a special dish of Kauai prawns in dashi with beurre noisette and green apple. Pick up a plate and head for the ginjo sake tables—you’ll find a beautiful pairing there.

Mari Taketa, restaurant coordinator for Joy of Sake, shares some tips on sampling sake at the festival.

First, don’t try all 512. Don’t even try to come close. The point is to find sakes you love, so sample small pours and keep trying different sake tables until you find ones you love.

Second, sip slowly. What aromas are you picking up? What flavors play on your palate? Don’t focus on only gold or silver award winners—everyone’s taste is different. A sake that you want to keep sipping is the perfect sake for you.

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