Kampai! Slainte! Seaweed tastes from Scotland and Japan

The whirl of new sushi bars invites more than a shot of sake. Japan's geographical combination of mountains and craggy shores (as well as its taste in drink) is remarkably similar to that

of Scotland. Both nations have oodles of seaweed, visible around the sushi and equally evident in the aromas and flavours of some whiskies.

A top Japanese restaurant in London recently hosted a lunch in which tasters were invited to match assorted sushi and other Japanese dishes with single malts. The chef was Yoshihiro Motohashi, who has cooked for the Emperor of Japan.

To my palate, seaweed-lined rolls of crab, flying fish eggs and avocado found a perfect partner in salty Oban, raw tuna was a delight with peppery Talisker, aubergine delicious with the spicy, sweeter Cragganmore. Duck in soy sauce was a surprisingly successful marriage with the heather-honey of Dalwhinnie, cod in caramelised miso astonishingly happy with the tea- like Lagavulin ... and I grazed splendidly on beef teriyaki with the grassy Glenkinchie (all by United Distillers).

Generally, the more seaweedy, oily and briny the Scotch, the better it works. From other whisky houses, I would suggest coastal spirits such as Glenmorangie, Balblair, Clynelish, Old Pulteney, Highland Park, Scapa, Isle of Jura, Springbank or almost anything from Islay. If you don't fancy rice for St Andrew's Day (this coming Monday), there are more Caledonian combinations of grain and fish. Herrings in oatmeal, perhaps? Michael Jackson

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