Pressing Matters: Kozaemon Sake & Kasu Dinner

pressing matters by tangerinee
pressing matters, a photo by tangerinee on Flickr. Explanation of the photo is below.

Hello Sake Fans,

A note on something coming up very soon, in fact it’s this Thursday.

Minami Restaurant in Yaletown is having another sake dinner featuring Nakashima Shuzo, makers of Kozaemon brand sake. Nakashima Shuzo is based in Mizunami, (Gifu Prefecture) in the Chubu region of Japan.Established over 300 years ago, this small family-run sake brewery has a deeply reverential reputation amongst sake lovers.

Here’s your chance to try what’s available in BC, paired with Minami’s exceptional food. The twist is Nakashima Shuzo will be providing Minami with their sake kasu which will be incorporated into each dish.

What is sake kasu? It is the lees that remain after a sake has been pressed–the solids that did not break down during fermentation. Kasu contains an abundance of amino acids, proteins, minerals, and B vitamins. It is even reputed to help lower cholesterol. The fermented aspect of the rice solids is highly effective for using as a fish/meat marinade as it softens protein extremely well. In Japan, kasu is mainly used as a fish marinade, in soups (kasu jiru) and as a pickling agent for vegetables, but the permutations are endless and kasu is getting more recognition for its versatility in the culinary world. And I have to add, some women even use kasu in their beauty regimen as a masque to soften and whiten the skin.

Doesn’t this make you curious to find out what Minami’s chefs will do with Kozaemon’s kasu? I sure am! And paired with Kozaemon sake too? It’s going to be a treat.

Kozaemon Nakashima, 14th Generation President of Nakashima Shuzo, will be in attendance.

Price is $145 (tax and tip included). Reception at 6:45pm and dinner starts at 7:00pm. You must call Minami directly to reserve a spot or go to this link if you would like to register online:

Hope to see you there!


My photo above illustrates how sake mash is separated using an assakuki, a mechanical press with hydraulic bladders that expand and push the moromi (mash) into the stainless steel plates. The solids form on the sides of the plates which are then easily removed from the assakuki (or more famously referred to as the Yabuba, which is a well-known brand of mechanical sake press). You can see the kasu is being extracted from the assakuki by the kurabito (brewery worker) and some of the not-so-perfect remains in the nearby container. This was taken at one of the very first breweries I had ever visited: Tama no Hikari Sake Brewery, located in Fushimi, Kyoto. Fushimi is a historically renowned district for sake making due to its pristine, soft water. Today, it is still the second largest producer of sake in the country.

Yoshi no Gawa Sake Dinner at Ki Modern Japanese & Bar

sake galore by tangerinee
sake galore, a photo by tangerinee on Flickr.

October 1st is almost upon us–well, what’s the significance of that date, you ask?! It’s International Sake Day! October 1st was designated Sake Day in Japan back in the 70’s. Officially it’s the first day of sake brewing season, as our favourite rice based tipple is traditionally brewed from Fall to late Winter/early Spring–when conditions are optimal and controlled for making sake.

We have a lot of events coming up in the city, sake-wise. This is great and I’m so glad we are finally seeing more interest in sake, as it is deserves more attention!

Join me Thursday, October 11th at Ki for a very cool sake dinner featuring Koji Kawakami, 19th Generation President of Yoshi no Gawa Sake Brewery, Niigata Prefecture. Yoshi no Gawa is Niigata’s oldest brewery–this prefecture has 97 breweries, so they are serious about their sake. This pride comes from their reputation for ‘like-water sake’, as I like to call it. Very dangerous as it is so smooth, it tastes like water. Given that, there can be lots of depth in Niigata sake as well. Yoshi no gawa has some incredible selections that I’m excited to try again, paired with Niigata-inspired food from Ki’s Chef Yoshi Tabo.

I took the attached photo in Niigata City where Sake no Jin takes places every year. It is probably the largest sake tasting I have ever been to in terms of sheer size and attendees. Over 80,000 people come through the Toki Messe convention centre over a weekend in March. Every single sake brewery–97 of them–in Niigata participates. It’s a sake spectacle and it’s a primo event for a sake lover. But I am digressing, I just wanted to illustrate that Niigata has a great reputation for sake and the event at Ki this month with Yoshi no Gawa is not to be missed!

Price is $150 which includes tax and tip. There will be a reception at 6:30pm and dinner begins at 7:00pm.

If you are interested in joining or have any queries, please contact Ki directly: Chris Irwin – 604.609.0600 or .

I hope to see you there!

Kanpai and Happy Sake Day!