Edamame: Beer's best friend!

Today, edamame is known in Japan as beer’s best friend, and one of the most popular “otsumami” (drinking snacks). Go into any bar, izakaya, or traditional restaurant in Japan in the summer and the first thing that will arrive at your table is a small bowl of edamame. Boiled, salted edamame and a glass of cold, draft beer make an invincible duo to combat the heat and humidity of July and August in Japan. Although edamame goes well with most any alcohol, there has been a direct correlation between the popularity of beer (introduced in Japan in the 1880s) and edamame sales. Edamame is actually a nutritionally ideal snack when imbibing: it is rich in Vitamins B1 and C, both of which help break down alcohol, and it contains methionine, an amino acid which helps protect the liver from toxicity damage. The sweetness of edamame combats the slightly bitter aftertaste of beer, and the physical process of popping the edamame out of the pod and eating it provides a short repose from drinking. The distinctly Japanese rhythm of drinking and pod-popping is ergonomically satisfying, and may provide the perfect snacking pace—not as time-consuming as hulling a peanut, but slower than stuffing your mouth with chips or other fatty finger foods. We think it would be difficult to find a healthier, more heart healthy snack for any occasion, whether or not alcohol is involved.