Drink and eat vinegar at Osuya in Tokyo
When I was small, my father often made me eat food with vinegar. It´s quite common to marinate food with vinegar in Japan. But the theory of my father was the vinegar makes the body flexible. If you´ve just started practicing Yoga for example, you may realise how stiff your muscles are. Quite many old Japanese people often say that vinegar makes the body flexible. This is probably no scientific proof and could be a nonsense but since my father was one of those “old” Japanese, he made me eat. I don´t know if his theory was right or not, I was and am quite flexible.
Since vinegar resolve meat tender, people believed muscle also get flexible (softer). But this is a pure myth. Unfortunately or fortunately, the vinegar you drink is digested and we don´t need to worry about getting our muscles marinated.
However, vinegar has good effects on our body. The vinegar you have converts into citric acid inside the body. Citric acid improves the blood circulation and helps to recover from exhaustion.
Well, when you are very tired, your muscles are stiff so in a way, drinking vinegar makes your body more flexible isn´t a total myth in the end.
There is a cafe/bar specialised in vinegar in Ginza, Tokyo. This is Osuya where I found by accident when I met up with my friends (former student). From the Mitsukoshi department store, we started to walk randomly to see a place we could sit and talk. Then I saw a shop sign of a soft cream in a dim light on the side of the street. I stopped to see what the place was and if it was open.
Another reason I stopped was I thought I saw the word 酢フトクリーム (sufutokuriimu/ vinegar-ft cream). 酢 (su) is vinegar in Japanese and this was how I found Osuya. My friends were also very curious. So we entered.
Inside is rather small and there are golden beer taps. Everything was so shiny and perfect. We were a little lost and didn´t know what to do there. A waitress/shop assistant came out and kindly offered us some explanations.
First vinegar tasting in my life. There are drinking vinegar and the vinegar for mixing. Just to imagine drinking vinegar, my mouth watered of the sour taste. But we were willing to accept this challenge.
Despite of her fluish condition, Olga enjoyed a lot tasting different vinegar. Yuzu (柚子/ citron), apple, mango, blueberry & rose hip, pomegranate, fruity ginger… there are so many drinking vinegar to choose. There were so many that we were again lost. And another problem, all of them were just equally tasty.
I was imagining sharp smell and taste, which normal cooking vinegar has but it was completely different. It´s smooth and fruity. It´s really worth having a vinegar tasting.
The sign was absolutely right. It´s 酢ウィーツ (suiitsu/ sweets-"vinegar-weets”). I wouldn´t say it´s like juice because it has a certain freshness of vinegar. But it has a feeling of digestif.
After the tasting, now we understood more about Osuya and we wanted to try some vinegar products. Other type of vinegar is what you can use like a syrup. You can mix with water, soda or pour over your yoghurt or ice cream. Osuya´s recommendation was the vinegar for beer. Vinegar itself is a little fizzy and by mixing it with beer, the beer creates very silky form.
Let´s try. Kanpai, Cédric!
I´m not a big fan of beer but wow, this was good. OK, this might be a cocktail and not really a beer but I liked it.
We didn´t have it but you can also try ice cream with different fruity vinegar. You can both eat and drink vinegar at Osuya. I will try next time I go.
Here is the map for Osuya in Ginza, Tokyo.
But there are more shops. In Tokyo, Ginza, Shibuya and Machida. And more in Nagoya, Osaka, Sendai and Fukuoka. If you are happened to be in these cities, drop in Osuya. It´s worth trying some vinegar taste. After this night, my idea of vinegar had completely changed. If you love trying new tastes, this is a perfect place for you.
Osuya official webpage : http://www.vinegar-world.com/osuya.html
You can read more about vinegar tasting at Osuya from Olga and Cédric´s blog : Born to be around the world. (in Spanish and French)
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I am interested in drinking vinegars. I visited Kyoto and stayed at the Ritz, where we were offered a breakfast cocktail of vinegar. It was served in a delicate glass, a little larger than a shot glass. The language barrier kept me from discovering how to purchase the vinegar . I would like to buy it and drink it every morning before breakfasting.