What is one of the most popular drinks for health conscious Japanese?
Black rice vinegar better known as Kurozu as I found out?
Robbie Swinnerton in A healthy pick-me-up at the train station (Japan Times, September 5) tells us that "traditionally, kurozu is brewed in large ceramic ewers left to age for a year or more. The only ingredients are water and brown rice or wheat that has been inoculated with the magic mold spores known as koji-kin".
He also writes that some credit Kurozo with offering health benefits for example "lower blood pressure, promote digestion, enhance resistance to infections and suppress lactic-acid buildup, reducing fatigue".
What used to be marginal and limited to health food stores has now entered the mainstream.
You can even find Kurozu bars in train stations as he shows.
Marie of Touching Beauty "noticed that a "Kurozu" bar had opened inside the Shimbashi Station in Tokyo in a location that used to be occupied by a "bento" (boxed lunch) shop. The Kurozu shop is a "tachinomi" (stand-and-drink) type of bar which caters to health-conscious office workers on the move. It offers a selection of 9 vinegar beverages, including black vinegar with soy milk and a blueberry vinegar shake".
The picture above illustrates some of this bar's offerings.
I have to confess that the only time I drunk vinegar or rather gargled with it was when someone suggested it as a good way to soothe my sore throat.
Black vinegar is also popular in Chinese cuisine as a Black vinegar (Recipe: peanut dipping sauce) on The Perfect Pantry shows.
Black is the new gold for Tokyo Thursdays # 55