There’s nothing like treating yourself with a glass of wine and its perfect snack pairing. Whether you prefer your wine red or white, light and refreshing, or rich and full-bodied, there’s a tasty Japanese snack to pair it with.
Every type of wine has its own unique flavor profile, making certain snacks better compliments than others. Check out some of our favorite wine and snack pairings—and please enjoy responsibly.
Pinot Noir is a light to medium bodied red wine known for its fruity (cherry, raspberry, strawberry, etc.) flavors. This type of wine is perfect for a cheese and cracker platter.
For a cracker-like snack, Onigiri Senbei: Ginshari makes a great, crunchy snack pairing without being too salty. The richness of Pinot Noir pairs well with herbs as well, so consider the Olive Oil Senbei: Salt Herb and Vinegar Flavor too.
Pears also pair well with the berry flavors of Pinot Noir. If you’d prefer a sweet with your wine, go for a 20th Century Pear Langue de Chat Cookie.
Zinfandel can be red or white, but looks more like a blush. Both types are fruit-forward in flavor, but reds are typically followed by a spicy or smokey finish while whites are slightly sweeter. In general, zinfandel pairs wells with spicy foods.
For a mix of flavors—including goma (black sesame), mustard, and aonori (green seaweed)—go for some Spicy Mini Heart Senbei. We also like Kabukiage Rice Crackers: Uma Kara Spicy, which have a nice kick that’s not too overwhelming. For a good crunch and a punch of real wasabi flavor, go for Wasabi no Kiwami Rice Crackers.
One of the darkest types of red wine, Syrah or “Shiraz” is typically a deep burgundy or purple color. This kind of wine is full-bodied and strong, meaning you want to avoid pairing it with anything too sour or seafood-y.
This type of wine goes well with earthy mushrooms. The rich, umami flavor of Shiitake Mushroom Black Pepper Arare makes a great match—and we enjoy the satisfying crunch of these rich crackers. If mushrooms aren’t your thing, go with a simple Onigiri Senbei: Ginshari to cleanse your palate.
One of the most popular, recognizable, and available types of red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its fruity, woody, and peppery undertones. This robust, full-bodies wine can stand up to bold, cheesy, and spicy flavors.
When it comes to pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with cheese, we like the melt-in-your-mouth, airy goodness of Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Hokkaido Cheese. If you’d like some spice, go for a Kameda no Kakinotane Rice Cracker: Wasabi. The satisfying mix of rice crackers and peanuts is flavored with soy sauce and wasabi, making for a great munchie.
If you’d prefer a sweeter pairing, reach for something that’s not too sweet, like dark chocolate. We like Japanese Kit Kat: Dark Chocolate Otona No Amasa.
Riesling is a refreshing white wine thanks to its balance of acidity and sweetness. Both dry and sweet rieslings pair well with seafood, and sweeter rieslings go great with Asian cuisine, making it the perfect pairing to many Japanese snacks.
Go for a mix of Japanese flavors—including shrimp, shoyu, sesame, and more—with a bag of Buson Haiku Senbei. Taste real edamame with a crispy Edamame Senbei or the salty, sour, spice of Osaka Beni Shoga Ginger Tempura Potato Chips. The tangy, peppery, and slightly sweet flavors of fried Dondon Yaki make another great pairing.
This type of white wine is light, crisp, and refreshing. Pinot Grigio can be dry, minerally, fruity, or sweet, but just about all pair well with seafood. As such, you can’t go wrong with a seafood-inspired Japanese snack.
Takoyaki Tei Corn Puffs really taste like the Japanese street food Takoyaki (fried octopus balls), making them a great umami-packed snack to pair with Pinot Grigio. Similarly, Ebi Crunch is a play on Ebi Furai (Fried Shrimp). This mix of rice crackers and peanuts is perfectly seasoned with black pepper, curry powder and garam masala. Finally, there’s Uni rice crackers, which look and taste like uni (sea urchin).
This white wine tends to taste a tad herby or vegetal, while still managing to be crisp and refreshing.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with smoked foods, and so we like a glass paired with some OFU Smoked Crackers and Peanuts: Fukairi Shichimi Seven-Flavor. This kind of wine also pairs well with rosemary and soft cheeses, making a Honey and Gorgonzola Cheese Cookie an interesting, sweeter option to try.
Chardonnay is subtle in flavor and can be easily overshadowed by the wrong foods. This medium to full-bodied white wine pairs well with more mild, buttery, creamy, and nutty flavors.
We like the light, airy texture of Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Kinako. The sweet, nutty flavors of this snack go so well with a glass of chardonnay. For something a bit sweeter, try a Yokohama Butter Sandwich Cookie. If you’d prefer a nice balance of sweet and savory, go for crispy, crunchy Tomoriko Corn Sticks.
Another fruity and approachable red wine, merlot is usually dry and rich, with either plummy or oaky undertones. Merlot can be light or medium bodied and pairs well with a variety of foods.
Merlot goes well with onion-flavored chips, and so we like pairing Negi Baka Okaki Rice Crackers: Green Onion with this wine. These crispy rice crackers are fried in scallion oil before being seasoned with green onion, garlic, black pepper, and a hint of wasabi.
When it comes to sweets, merlot pairs well with dark chocolate and berries. Go for a Totteppo Sable Cookie: Chocolate & Berry or Pocky: Megami no Ruby Goddess Ruby.
No matter your preference for wine (red or white) and snacks (sweet or savory), there’s a wide variety of pairings to try. Take a moment to relax, pour yourself a glass, and try a new Japanese snack pairing—you might just find your next favorite thing.