I am typing this while drinking from a bottle of Japanese Amazake, and am totally getting into the mood of things.
It is form of ‘sweet wine’.
Amazake is an alcohol-free beverage made from fermented rice, said to be a 1500-year-old Japanese culture. How unusual and bold to have an Amazake concept in Singapore, considered a rather niche market.
Amamoto Café is located at the basement of One Raffles Place, aimed at the office crowd. While it is called a “café”, a better way to describe would be a take-away kiosk as there are no seats or coffee.
I tasted from the sampling cup first. The drink was sweet, though there is no added sugar. The natural sweetness comes from the rice.
Japanese have Amazake because it is packed with enzymes – the special koji mould used in its fermentation will in turn produce essential amino-acids, oligosaccharides, vitamins, minerals, and a host of other bio-chemicals that supposedly bring repair, nutrition and health to the body. Add the beautifying benefits.
Will I get a glow in the face after drinking?
Beverages offered at the kiosk include Original ($4.80), Roasted Soybean ($5), and Matcha ($5), all containing Amazake and non-sweetened soymilk.
There is also a selection of Cold-Pressed Fruit Drinks with Amazake and non-sweetened soymilk, including Kiwi ($5.80), Orange ($5.80), Blueberry ($5.80) and Mango ($5.80); and Cold-Pressed Vegetables and Fruits with Amazake and non-sweetened soymilk such as Orange & Carrot with Ginger ($6.80), and Kiwi & Mustard Spinach ($6.80).
I ordered a Matcha ($5) and saw the serving mixing matcha powder into the concoction. Okay lah.
Verdict? It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and so I didn’t enjoy the drink very much.
The matcha taste was possibly insignificant, and it got moderately heavy after a few sips.
I preferred the bottle drink somehow, without the additional flavours, more of the natural taste. In fact, I could feel some of the rice grains within.
As a bottle can be quite filling, I could take my time to sip while doing work.
Somehow, the Amamoto Café’s version tasted different from the ones I had in Japan. It has less of the ‘wine’ aftertaste.
Turned out that Amamoto uses Thai rice instead of Japanese short grain rice for its export Amazake. The result is supposedly Amazeke with a lighter note and less sweet.
I am divided on this. On one hand, it is quite a unique, healthy drink; on the other, I was wondering if there would be a sizable demand in the CBD, or if the taste is mass enough. My take is, CBD workers may prefer something lighter and more refreshing. (Like well, unhealthy bubble tea.)
Just so you know, Amazake is also Lactose-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten-Free.
1 Raffles Place #B1-39, One Raffles Place Singapore 048616
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 9:00pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun