Asumi Noguchi

Asumi Noguchi

A guide to ponzu and its many unique ingredients

Ponzu is a vinegar with flavors from different regions

Soy sauce and miso are known around the world as Japanese seasonings. Both of these fermented seasonings are characteristic of Japanese cuisine, as they are well suited to cooking with umami and to bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients. Ponzu is another Japanese flavor, and it has been attracting the attention of chefs around the world. Th ere are two main types of ponzu. One is a mixture of vinegar and citrus juice; the other is the same mixture combined with soy sauce. Although soy sauce and miso vary in flavor depending on the ingredients and the region of origin, they do not differ in flavor as much as ponzu can. With ponzu, the aroma, acidity, and sweetness vary greatly, depending on the type of citrus fruit added to the sauce. Taking advantage of such variation, each region in Japan is now promoting its own variety of ponzu. In some cases, stores make and serve their own original ponzu, in other cases, farmers bottle and sell theirs. We asked the experts at a long-established restaurant that makes ponzu to teach us how to make it. Their ponzu vinegar has a rich regional flavor.


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