The Vegetarian may well be one of the most distinctive books you'll read this year. Deborah Smith's translation of Han Kang's tale of a Korean woman becoming vegetarian won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 for it's unnerving refusal to look away from the issues of shame and desire. It is a book that demands to be read. As my mother put it when recommending it, "I'm not sure that I enjoyed every minute of reading it, but I was glad that I had". It is a book that feels important, unbending, revealing.
So when I tasted one of the most distinctive wines I had sipped all year, this was not a pairing that I ruminated on or considered. It simply was the pairing. It demanded it.
Akashi-Tai Junmai Ginjo Sparkling Sake is a delicious glass of fizz that will never quite let you decide if it is sweet or savoury. It is light, refreshing, a soft bubble in the mouth with a savoury kick that leaves behind a sweet syrup.
Please don't fall into the trap of thinking that I paired these wines because they happen to be from the same continent. As I say, this had so much more to do with the demanding distinctiveness that this drink and this book have. It's powerful thing and I highly recommend that you try both. Preferably together.