What is OTSUMAMI?
The Japanese word for "finger food", pronounced "Oats, ooo Mommy".
Otsumami includes easily recognizable western snacks like peanuts and potato chips, and Asian treats like rice crackers, bamboo root, and dried squid. Otsumami are not just bar fare. There are tons of baked or processed finger foods which go great with tea and coffee, too.
You can buy cheap, mass-produced Otsumami of various quantities and quality. If you know anything about Japan, it should come as no surprise there are some Otsumami shops that have been hand-crafting small-batch artisan snacks for 5 generations or more - some going back hundreds of years!
"Drinking Buddy" is the affectionate translation my good friend Frank gave to describe Otsumami. He started importing and selling Otsumami from a craft Senbei (rice cracker) maker from his wife's hometown of Osaka, in order to help support this and other small craft manufacturers, while spreading their superior-quality products for all to enjoy.
Frank and I have spent years plotting ways to inform and educate people here about the food and culture we fell in love with, in Japan.
One is this blog and my monthly newsletter, Sensei's Cup.
Frank dives into a number of diverse topics on his podcast and has invited me to talk about Sake on several occasions. The great thing about his format is you can learn by listening, whether you're stuck in traffic, jogging, or resting your eyes on the sofa! If you wanted to buy books and scour the internet, you could learn most of what I know and more.
Frank is up to about 33 episodes now, but I want to share one of the first, in which we discussed the basics of Sake. This way you can learn, review, or share it with friends who are new to Sake, without feeling like you are assigning them homework!
If you would rather learn in person or want to skip the learning and get doing, SAKESECRET can help:
Get involved! have any burning questions? Hear something about Sake that didn't make sense? Feel free to comment below, or continue the conversation on