The Joy of Sake

On August 21st, 271 of the world’s finest sakes will be featured along with 14 of Hawaii’s finest restaurants in the annual Joy of Sake event at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

This year marks the ninth year of The Joy of Sake: America’s Largest Sake Celebration. A noteable change for the event this year is a switch in venue from the Convention Center to the beautiful setting and open-air atmosphere of the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Photos: Courtesy of ThE Honolulu Academy of Arts

Sake tasting areas will be set up along the Academy’s cool, open corridors, with restaurant stations located in the Academy’s various courtyards.

The Joy of Sake is the largest sake-tasting outside Japan, and has been held annually since 2001. It features premium sakes submitted as entries to the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, a rigorous blind tasting held in Honolulu every year with ten judges from Japan and the U.S.

Of the 271 sakes available for tasting that night, 129 are not available in the U.S. You have to go to Japan to find them, so it’s a rare treat as well.

On the menu this year to taste and pair with sake are dishes from 14 restaurants, including Hale Aina Award-winning restaurants: Nobu Waikiki, Gyotaku, Chai’s Island Bistro, TOWN, Halekulani (Lewer’s Lounge) and Hoku’s. Here is a list of all of the participating restaurants and what’s being served.

    Photos: Courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts

  • Chai’s Island Bistro
    Shredded Green Papaya Salad with Poached Prawn and Tamarind Vinaigrette
  • Doraku
    New Style Tuna Tataki—Garlic Chips, Sweet Onion, Kaiware, Wakame with Garlic Aoli Ponzu
  • Gyotaku
    Featured Dish: Okinawan Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie
  • Hakkei
    Ume-dare Somen Noodles—Okra, Young Ginger, Poached Chicken and Dashi Gelee with Sour Plum Dressing
  • Hale Macro
    Organic Kale and Kula Strawberry Salad with Sesame, Cashew and Tofu Dressing
  • Lewers Lounge (Halekulani)
    Sous Vide of Short Ribs with Star Anise and Local Greens
  • Hoku’s
    Hoku’s Fresh Island Sashimi Hamachi with Grilled Shishito Pepper, Ahi Tataki with Bonito Aioli and Soy Gel, Snapper with Grapefruit Brulee, and Salmon Gavloy with Celery and Chiso Salad, and Hoku’s Chef’s Special Ochazuke
  • Kaiwa
    Steamed Abolone with Dashi Gelee
  • Nobu Waikiki
    Yellowtail Sashimi w/Jalapeno
  • The Joy of Sake Izakaya presented by Marians
    Shichimi Crusted Scallop Salad with Yuzu Sea Salt Foam, Okara Bean Curd with Clams and Vegetables, Pork Belly and Bamboo Shoots with Bonito
  • Town
    Braised Kulana Oxtail, Yaki Orisotto and Hot Mustard
  • Yoshi-ya
    Tako Sunomono—Octopus Salad with Wakame and Summer Cucumber
  • Zenshu
    Ahi Yuke (Marinated Ahi on Cucumbret Nest w/Fuji Apple and Quail Egg)
  • Cakeworks
    Candied Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich

Purchase your tickets by this Friday, August 7, 2009 and you will be able to attend a “Sake 101” workshop at the Honolulu Academy of Arts for FREE to learn more about sake:

Photo: Couretsy of
The Joy of Sake

Sake 101 Workshop
Monday, August 10, 2009, 5:30-6:30pm
Honolulu Academy of Arts – Doris Duke Theatre

Five members and their guests will be chosen at this workshop to attend the last level of sake judging at the US Sake Appraisal on Thursday, August 20, 2009.

The Joy of Sake takes place on August 21st from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $70. If tickets are purchased directly from the Honolulu Academy of Arts,  a tax-deductible $20 goes to the museum.

Buy your tickets online at the Academy’s web site or call Megan Hiramoto at 808-532-6099.