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Soda with sushi? [moved from Boston board]

[NOTE: We've moved this discussion from the thread at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793279 -- The Chowhound Team]

As an aside, who drinks soda with sushi? Maybe that's what got them going.

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  1. Oishii Boston will make a fantastic, non-alcoholic version of their shisoito cocktail, which is just muddled shiso leaf, yuzu-infused honey, and soda water. It makes a terrific complement to sushi. Sprite is quite popular in Japan too.

    Oishii Boston
    1166 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

    1 Reply
    1. re: lipoff

      actually, i noticed Basho used Sprite in their blood orange martini, which I thought strange but perhaps it has some vague Japanese connection!

    2. Who drinks soda with sushi - why that would be me (diet cola by the way)! ; ) I don't drink, & a lot of places don't have many non-alcoholic choice besides juice - which is usually orange, which I find too heavy & sweet to drink with sushi. Cranberry is too tart, Sprite is too sweet, so I stick with the diet & a glass of water to "cleanse the palate". You get the "sweet" of the soda, the salt of the soy sauce, & the bite of the wasabi - all you need is something with crunch (tempura?) & you've pretty much played up all your taste "options"!

      6 Replies
        1. re: southie_chick

          That is the single most shocking habit i have ever read on CH.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Then I probably should never invite you over for dinner opionatedchef - I like you but after you see some of the things I eat, you'd probably never want to speak to me again! ; )
            Then again, maybe THAT would be a great topic to start - You Would Be Shocked To Find Out That I Enjoy Eating ............

            1. re: southie_chick

              Go for it southie_chick! It would be a great and fun thread.

              1. re: southie_chick

                ha! great idea.do it, chick! easy for me- kfc, and clam dip(RIP).

            2. re: southie_chick

              I drink diet cola with my unagi and avocado rolls too. Usually I also have toro nigiri. It's just a force of habit. I'm also one of those awful people who mixes a dab of wasabi in my soy sauce. I am a vegetarian 90% of the time, but sometimes I just need my sushi and diet cola.

            3. Oh god no, soda with sushi!!??

              21 Replies
              1. re: Joanie

                Everyone can't drink alcohol

                1. re: L2k

                  I always put my fork down and chew slowly, and then take a sip of water between bites of sushi. Cleanses the palette.

                  1. re: SteveRB

                    The pickled ginger is supposed to be the palate cleanser. Just a small piece is enough.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        Not everyone is comfortable with chopsticks or using their fingers.

                        Me, I've tried chopsticks many times, both with Chinese food and sushi. I'm sure I'm doing something "wrong" cuz my hand cramps after awhile. So I end up w/a fork for everything but sushi. No matter how the food gets to my lips, it tastes the same :)

                    1. re: L2k

                      Well, there ARE non-alcoholic drinks besides soda: Water (or seltzer if you really like bubbles) and green tea would seem most sensible to me. But I won't yuck your yum.

                      1. re: plf515

                        I order tonic water with lime as a beverage with sushi and other Asian foods (other than Indian). Medications preclude alcohol consumption and I think green tea tastes like brewed ashtray.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Mmmmmmmmbrewed ashtray! Nice one, grey.

                          I'm not a tea drinker myself (unless I'm sick as a dog), but I find ginger "tea" is quite palatable and works with the gari already offered.

                          That said, my bev of choice with sushi is generally sparkling water.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            grey, i felt that way for yrs. until i started adding (oh nooooo, mr. bill!) sugar. now i really like it. iced of course (oh noooooo...).

                        2. re: L2k

                          Is that the spectrum then? Alcohol or soda? There's also water, or tea, or even juice. I drink Diet Coke all the livelong day, but, for me, it just doesn't mesh with sushi. Water always does.

                          1. re: ferret

                            If you think juice meshes with sushi, why wouldn't soda?

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              I don't particularly think it does, I just find it odd that the justification for soda is "everyone can't drink alcohol," as if only 2 choices exist. When my kids were younger they'd order the ramune with their sushi, but I prefer to taste the subtleties of the fish without flavored beverages.

                              1. re: ferret

                                I think the real "justification" is people should drink whatever they like to drink. Nobody should need to justify their preferences.

                          2. re: L2k

                            I was agreeing with you, wondering why everyone was so up in arms about it. I don't drink much booze myself and probably would just have water w/ sushi, but don't see how soda and sushi is so unbelievable for some.

                            1. re: L2k

                              er, there's always water. I order both green tea and water at sushi places. Unless they also have a god house tea then I get that.

                                1. re: rasputina

                                  Not everyone likes tea with sushi.

                              1. re: Joanie

                                Hey, you of all people Joanie should know I drink diet soda with pretty much everything! You've seen me eat ribs at the Rat & clam pizza from Bertucci's back in the day with a diet soda! : )

                                1. re: southie_chick

                                  Damn, who am I talking to? I didn't even really mean to post this reply since I only peruse the Boston board these days but here we are on general topics so it's okay (smiley face here). Who have I shared a Bertucci's clam pizza with? And like I said before, I personally have no problem w/ diet Coke and sushi, tea also isn't one of my faves (unless you get the fresh made iced tea w/ mint at In House Cafe in Allston, similar to being in Marrakech).

                                  1. re: Joanie

                                    Joanie, the mint iced tea sounds awesome! It's always nice to see a "familiar face" on the board. By the way, it's Ruth - I would sometimes meet up with you when I'd be out with Linda D or Kevin J.
                                    I'm up in New Hampshire now (about 10 minutes away from where they're building the Merrimack Outlet) so if you're ever up this way, feel free to drop by! My e-mail is my boardname @Yahoo.com. : )

                              2. I have a low tolerance for alcohol (and am usually driving) and don't like hot tea. I drink diet soda with lunch and dinner most days. If anyone raises an eyebrow (or more) at that, well that's their problem, not mine.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                  not hard to turn hot tea into iced (it's most of what i drink, yr round); even green tea at a sushi counter, and use sugar if you like it that way.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    not hard to turn hot tea into iced (it's most of what i drink, yr round); even green tea at a sushi counter, and use sugar if you like it that way.

                                    Sweet tea with sushi? And your complaint about soda was what exactly?

                                    1. re: Samalicious

                                      gee sam, sake itself is a little sweet but it's certainly not coke or koolaid. come on man!

                                    2. re: opinionatedchef

                                      If you're ordering green tea at a sushi restaurant, dumping in ice to turn it cold, and adding sugar to make it sweet, I don't think you can claim culinary superiority to someone who drinks Sprite with their dynamite-rolls.

                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                        too many assumptions. and who said anything about superiority?

                                        for me, what it comes to is this:
                                        --you have something that you love.in this case, sushi.
                                        --you enjoy sharing that love with other people, i.e. friends and CHs
                                        --you see someone eating something you love but you think they might not be experiencing the full glory of that something because they drown it in ketchup or eat it super well done or drown it in salt or sugar, or eat it cold or eat it with coke,or whatever.
                                        --you want to encourage them to try a different take on it.
                                        Heck, thirty yrs ago i refused to eat japanese food because it just seemed too pure and simple to me. but someone convinced me to try it and i've been addicted ever since.
                                        At one pont in my life, all i drank was diet pepsi; but that's not true any more. So much learning and growing to do in the culinary world; and CH is a great facilitator for that.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          And some people have gone through life "evolving" to a point where they enjoy eating sushi and drinking a soda with it. What on earth is wrong with that?

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            There is nothing wrong with soda and sushi. My daughter likes diet coke with her sushi, and if that's what she likes I'm happy for her.

                                            I know it's hard for some people, but sometimes people should follow the rule of; if you don't have anything good to say, say nothing at all.

                                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                                        I always put sugar in my hot tea, some people take offense at that too. I vividly remember going out to a Chinese restaurant in NYC with a girl (American) living in Singapore. We all put sugar in our tea; she freaked. Went to a sushi place in the Bay Area. Put sugar in my tea, received disapproving looks from other guests and server. Why was that a problem for them?

                                        I don't like green tea. In general, I just don't like hot tea, for my own reasons.

                                        And I just prefer soda. Why do I have to defend my choice of beverage?

                                        1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                          yep, had lots of shocked looks, lots, in 8 wks of asking for sugar next to my green tea in japan, 28 yrs ago. but the shocked looks didn't phase me in the least. i always spoke japanese as much as possible, loved sake and mugicha, and showed how excited and interested i was in all things japanese, and i think that prob won out in the long run. having grown up in the 60's and 70's when soda ruled more than it does now, i think drinking the most bitter thing i had ever had- green tea- was a particularly huge challenge. i never would have thought that now, as a year round iced tea loyalist, i would drink (sweetened) iced green tea and mugi cha (and lots of other teas)all the time. such fun to travel , gain new food loves, and introduce others to strange new ways.

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Well, that's 2 things we have in common opionatedchef - I put 1/2 packet of sugar in my hot black tea (used to drive my uncle, who is from Japan, crazy when I'd do that) & I am a year round iced tea drinker - usually diet peach or diet "Arnold Palmer". I prefer iced tea to soda, but the Japanese places usually only have green iced tea & I'm not a green tea fan.

                                            1. re: southie_chick

                                              funny, i also love peach iced tea; first discovered through snapple; now i buy loose tea from Upton and make a concentrate for a few pitcher's/days worth at a whack :-}

                                              i was once told that ice addiction (me, major)was caused by a Vit K defficiency. But K is Potassium and i take potassium every day, so go figure............. I have learned how to say 'a lot of ice' in every language when i travel!

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                Vitamin K is not potassium. K is the symbol for potassium on the periodic table, but in vitamins and supplements it is listed as potassium. Vitamin K is an organic compound, like all vitamins. It is responsible for blood coagulation, among other things.

                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                  mp, thnx so much for clearing that up for me.

                                    3. I don't really like soda (except for Hansen's Mandarin Lime), but I know plenty of people who don't like tea or alcohol and drink soda with sushi. I haven't tried this myself, but I don't think it's any weirder than liking Velveeta or Pillsbury crescent rolls or some other thing hounds love to hate. As long as you use nice manners while consuming these things, well, have at it!

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Isolda

                                        WOW - didn't know I'd open up this can of worms with one comment! I like something cool to drink with my sushi, so the hot tea is out. I don't like the taste of green tea - hot or cold - so that's out. Most of the time, the diet soda is out of a gun, so it's not too sweet & kinda watery - just enough to cut the salt of the soy, & the spice of the wasabi. And, like I said, I also drink water too as a "palate cleanser" when there's too many flavors going on. Can't do the ginger - my stomach doesn't like it. Just like I can't drink the fizzy waters - big bubbles are not my friend.
                                        Guess I'll just have to stick with pizza when I go to a chow meet ......... if that's still OK to drink soda with! ; )

                                          1. re: southie_chick

                                            southie_chick, I have people in my family that, though one generation removed from County Kerry, will NOT drink tea, iced or hot. For some reason, the default drink is ginger ale with ANYTHING, and sometimes beer or red wine, depending on the meal. I see this no more weird than folks who begin their day with a Coke or Pepsi (diff thread) instead of coffee, though I love both coffee and tea (and yeah, Diet Coke too).

                                            1. re: pinehurst

                                              Funny you should say that pinehurst. My Irish dad loved "real" ginger ale (Schwepps or Canada Dry) but couldn't stand Sprite. My friends & I always blame my "weird" eating habits on my dad's "Irish Food Rules"! : )

                                        1. I don't see what the BFD is. I'd sooner be shot than have a soda with sushi, but I wouldn't presume to have my tastes be the golden standard. I don't like sweet drinks unless there's enough alcohol in it to balance the sweetness, but your taste is your taste. Why cast aspersions on somebody at a sushi bar for their drink choices? You can always gossip about them later to other sushi aficionados (just kidding). Live and let live. Pick on their hairstyle or clothes choice instead, why dontcha?

                                          1. As an aside, who drinks soda with sushi?

                                            Lots of people do. Otherwise, why would sushi places offer soda.

                                            Lot easier to turn a profit charging $2 for a can of soda than $10 for a piece of toro.

                                            Larger point. If it doesn't affect your enjoyment of sushi, who cares what people are imbibing with their fish and rice.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              I guess we go to different sushi places then. I don't think I've been to a sushi place that even offered sodas. Green tea, oolong tea, water, sparkling water, beer, sake, that's pretty much it. Went to a place once that "paired" it with wine, which I thought was jumping the shark a bit too much.

                                            2. See, unlike a lot of you guys, I go to the *really fancy* sushi places... you know, the kind with the conveyor belt delivering me the freshest sushi available. Most of it made within just a few hours. And on that belt is always a chilled Diet Coke. They wouldn't offer it if it wasn't the perfect beverage, no?

                                              It goes awesome with my potstickers and chicken katsu and deep-fried crunchy roll and Ichi-Roll. That's what REAL sushi experts eat.

                                              Okay, I do eat some of that raw fish stuff too.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                Completely agree. Diet Coke goes great with deep-fried crunchy roll and Ichi-Roll off a conveyor belt. Just not with sushi.

                                                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                  You don't know what you're missing....

                                                2. re: acgold7

                                                  i was once at a sushi place in Chicago (Itto sushi, one of my regular haunts back when) and the sushi chef squatted down behind the counter so nobody could see him (so he thought) and ate a bagel with cream cheese. So I guess diet Coke is not out of the question.

                                                3. I suppose it's not any better than the earlier days in Japan (and elsewhere) where there would be people smoking up a storm while eating their sushi. I wonder how nicotine and tar affect the taste of sushi. Sugar, HFCS, aspartame or whatever sweetener is used in soda probably isn't the best match for those really delicate white fleshed fish, but then neither is sake according to many connoisseurs. If a sushi place offers soda, then I have no problem with it. In fact, I might even order one in the late stages of the meal or post-meal, like a ginger ale with a squeeze of lemon. It's refreshing and cleanses the palate nicely (I prefer the stronger "dry" ginger ales you can find in Japan). There's a well-known sushi place in LA where the itamae offers a yuzu based sweet drink post-meal that's similar to having a soda.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                    Over 10 years ago I went to this Japanese restaurant at Festive Walk (a mall in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong). The offerings were clearly catered towards the locals and the HK Polytech University students, as the beverage lineup included HK cafe drinks from sodas to Hong Kong milk tea and of course "yin yang" (coffee mixed with HK milk tea). For the hell of it, I had an iced HK milk tea, some nigiri, a cooked dish or two, and it was actually not bad overall for what it was doing. Of course the establishment was not Michelin grade, the fish was not the top end prime stuff (let alone seasonal imports of variety), and sushi rice not made with dual blend of new and old grains with a strong vinegar presence.

                                                    I've done iced coke with tons of lemon slices with nigiri sushi before, at a very popular place in NorCal (Japanese owners, HK expat waiters). It's a business, they have to do what they have to.

                                                    At Ningxia Road Night Market in Taipei a few years ago, I saw a street food stall that had 8 different blocks of local seafood, from swordfish to tuna to salmon to white fish to super white fish (escolar variant), and of course three kinds of colored little fish eggs, egg omlette, and cooked shrimp. Basically nigiri local style, made to order, put in little boxes to go. Nearby were stalls selling the usual tapioca milk teas, papaya milk drinks, freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly squeeze sugar cane juice, honey kumquat lemon, aloe jelly lemon drink, osmanthus sour plum drink (Taiwanese ume, really good stuff), and even the wacky aquired taste winter melon tea...your typical Taipei night market drinks. It was pretty much a pick your own snackage night.

                                                    I've had that yuzu juice/nectar shot at Sushi Zo in Los Angeles....perfect end to a meal. Probably mixed in with a little honey and water, similar to (but way better than) those $2.50++ mini glass bottle (with yellow bottle cap) yuzu honey drinks at Nijiya imported from Kochi prefecture. Not a soda though, as it had no carbonation, and it was literally a shot, too little.

                                                    Soda with dim sum, on a different topic, is a perfect pairing. Coke helps alleviate those thirst effects and "stiff neck" symptoms at numerous mid tier dim sum restaurants around the world and kids are more used to it than drinking "kung fu" bitter tea, let alone really dark pu-er, or the more fragrant jasmine or sau mei + chrysanthemum blend (a personal favorite).

                                                    Although I wonder....if anyone pairs $500 champagne, four digits priced French wine or Henessey XO with a fast food hamburger, taco bell, or KFC.

                                                    1. re: K K

                                                      remember "Sideways"?

                                                      I eat sushi with beer, sake, white wine, champagne, diet coke, hot tea, water. I eat fries with champagne. I'm not a purist. That would be too limiting for all the flavors in this world. Think about all the combinations of flavors that never would have been discovered if people didn't try something with something else everyone pooh-poohed.

                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                        Purists are the worst. Right after puritans.

                                                  2. It's hard to imagine sushi with sweet soft drinks. To me it sounds like the fastest way to ruin the food. Hot green tea is such an ideal match...

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: wadejay26

                                                        Of course. I cannot pretend to speak for others.

                                                    1. Who the F cares? If you like it you like it. If you don't you don't. Why is it that sushi people seem to have a corner on the market of uptight d-bags who go around trying people how to eat their food properly?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                        <Why is it that sushi people seem to have a corner on the market of uptight d-bags who go around trying people how to eat their food properly?>

                                                        Ketchup on hotdogs. I think hot dog people can give the sushi a run for their money.

                                                        I've never had soda with sushi, and never really thought about it. But I do enjoy champagne, reisling, and processo with it. So I guess if you like bubbly/sweet and want non alcoholic with your sushi why not drink soda?

                                                      2. Underage youth around the world? My daughters have been eating sushi & drinking soda for quite a few years. DH & I enjoy a variety of alcoholic drinks so more than likely, the girls will grow up to as well; however, I just can't imagine they're going to be turned off by soda as soon as they turn 21.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: ceekskat

                                                          Well obviously you have failed as a parent because your daughters are drinking soda instead of water, tea, juice, etc. with their sushi. And hopefully as they get older they will shake of the poor training and choose a more appropriate beverage.

                                                          Please please recognize the sarcasm.

                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                            And milk, lol! Growing up in India, we always had water with our meals at home. Imagine my surprise when I moved to the U.S. at the of 9, to find that kids here drank milk with their meals. I just couldn't fathom drinking milk with Indian food (separately of course). My favorite "restaurant" drink in India was fresh sweet lime soda (still is).

                                                            Regarding sushi & soda/drinks, I would love to hear from people in Japan.

                                                            1. re: ceekskat

                                                              You'd be hard pressed to find a sushi joint in Japan that even offered soda in its menu. Sake, beer, water, tea, plum wine, that's about it. Some places "pair" wine with sushi, but they are unusual and use that as their "gimmick".

                                                              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                And what an awful gimmick it can be sometimes.

                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                  Agree. I don't know who thought that would work, but I guess there's always somebody who's going to give it a thumbs up. Like drinking soda with sushi.

                                                        2. weird

                                                          no I do drink soda with sushi

                                                          1. I'm a chocolate milk and sushi kinda girl :-)

                                                            1. If it's not in your mouth, why do you get a vote?

                                                              If somebody wants to drink a triple-fudge chocolate malted milkshake with their sushi, it's their choice. I'll abstain (politely), but it's nobody's else's choice.

                                                              (LOL - cross-posted with you, snax)

                                                              1. Sushi is no longer this exotic food that people feel inclined to match with an equally exotic beverage.

                                                                Who drinks soda with sushi? People who drink a lot of soda (or pop....I'm a Midwesterner, damn it) and also eat sushi fairly often.