Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rice-Less Sushi and Kirin Beer Tasting

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

I love sushi. There, I said it. I have a very deep, ongoing, and near-spiritual relationship with the nori, the soy sauce and the fatty deliciousness of raw salmon. I also have an aversion to work and the actual creation of said sushi.  I have all the super-handy tools for rolling sushi, but the lazy woman in me would really just prefer to order takeout. Lately, Tim and I have been making rice-less sushi. Yes, this is an aberration, and yes, technically I guess it is just sashimi once you've taken out the rice.

However, cucumbers make an effective salmon and cream cheese delivery system, so don't knock it until you try it.

Option #1: Seriously Lazy. No, like REALLY, REALLY LAZY.

-Slice cucumbers
-Spread cream cheese on said cucumbers
-Layer on chunks of raw salmon

Option #2: The Unecessary 

-Hollow out a cucumber
-Fill with a layer of cream cheese, a layer of salmon and a sprinkle of nori (dried seaweed)
-Eat like a cucumber boat of deliciousness that looks ugly but tastes fantastic

I did warn you re: ugliness

Option #3: The Nori Sandwich

-Spread a thick layer of cream cheese onto a square piece of nori
-Put sliced cucumbers and salmon on one half of the nori
-Fold in half
-Munch en route to somewhere super important. Or in front of the TV. Whichever.

Obviously, you can mix up these options with ingredient variations. Tuna, shrimp, pickled carrots and avocado are all tasty. I just happen to like the classic winning combo of salmon and cream cheese.

Just because we are half-assing the sushi, it doesn't mean we half-ass our drinks selections. I got sent some Kirin Ichiban beer and Kirin Light to taste and pair with a meal, so this was that opportunity. Living in Asia has given use plenty of chances to try Asian beers, but I am personally more familiar with the Tsing Taos/Singhas/Tigers of the world, and I don't know if I have actually ever tried Kirin before. (Spoiler: it totally tastes like beer!)

The color of the Kirin Ichiban vs the Kirin Light was apparent once we poured them into glasses:

Taste-wise, there was a clear winner to me: the original was better. Unsurprising, really. The light has fewer calories (95 to the original's 145), but it also has about 25% less alcohol. So, if you want to match someone beer for beer, or you don't want to get too dehydrated at a summer barbecue, Kirin Light is the way to go. Otherwise? Original, please. To my completely unrefined palate, it tasted like a German wheat beer, and it was perfect to pair with a really fatty dish like cream cheese/salmon.

Oddly enough, Tim loved the Kirin Light. I'll be honest and say that each sip, to me, tasted like water with a beer aftertaste. Not a glowing recommendation, right? But he loved it, and thought it was really refreshing and something he could drink a lot of. Since he has undoubtedly consumed more beer in his lifetime than I have, I will have to assume he knows what he's talking about.

I will say I was kind of disappointed when I read the label and saw that Kirin was another Anheuser-Busch product that was licensed - so, actually made in the United States. Not in a pretentious, "I only drink beer from abroad," kind of way, but I think it's fun to try food/beverages as they are consumed around the world. Apparently, some places in Japan and the U.S. serve draft Kirin with a frozen-beer slushy portion served on the top of the glass! I could get on board with that.

Are you a sushi roll kind of person? Or do you prefer nigiri, cones, sashimi, etc?
Nigiri, rolls, hand rolls - whatever. I like it all. 

Your thoughts on a beer slurpy. Go.
I am intrigued. Yes to keeping the beer cold as you drink it, but I'm not sure if it would be too cold to have any real flavor. Side bar: now I want a wine slurpy. A lot.

NB: Lest ye long-time readers get the wrong idea, this beer is not gluten-free! It's 100% malt. I'm back on the gluten wagon, but I'll save that for another post :)

Learn more about Kirin Ichiban and their partnership with Iron Chef star Candice Kumai on Facebook!


  1. LOL...I'm glad you put that gluten disclaimer in there! For a second I was thinking, "WAIT!!!! Kirin is GLUTEN-FREE????!!!!!" and getting all excited.

    I love sushi. I'm not super keen on uni or clam or scallops. So it's probably more accurate that I am a "tame sushi" lover. I'll pretty try anything though :)

  2. My thoughts exactly! GLUTEN FREE! Tell!

    So fun to move again and take on another project. You DO know it becomes an addiction, right? Best wishes to you both in this beautiful new/old house. Hope you will stick around and tell lots more! :)

  3. A beer slushy would sound good on a really hot day. Love your lazy sushi, that is my kind of making sushi!

  4. Give me all the sushi. I like it all...though I always save my favourite bite for last - which means a piece of salmon sashimi.
    Also - Kirin will always remind me of drunken nights in Japan, both at restaurants and in random places after buying a growler of Kirin from a vending machine.

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