How is the taste of vinegar determined?

A photo of Rice vinegar
The vinegar used for Vinegared rice is basically rice vinegar or red vinegar. Mizkan, which contributed greatly to the development of Edomae sushi, is still a famous vinegar manufacturer.

When we think of vinegar, a sour taste immediately comes to mind, but vinegar is not only sour, it also contains a variety of ingredients and has a mild taste. There are also many different types of vinegar, each with its unique flavor. Just as beer is made from barley and wine from grapes, vinegar has a variety of flavors, aromas, and richness depending on the ingredients.

Acetic acid is the predominant acidity, with other organic acids such as gluconic and citric acid also present. It also contains lactic acid, succinic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid, each with a different taste. Lactic acid has an astringent taste, while citric acid has a refreshing sour taste. These mix to form a complex sour taste. Adding even more variety to the sourness are the ingredients that the raw materials originally contained, such as sweetness, umami, richness, and aroma. Rice vinegar is particularly rich in carbohydrates and proteins, while black vinegar is rich in amino acids and various organic acids. These diverse flavors combine to create the flavor of vinegar.

By the way, we believe that what is required of vinegar used for sushi rice (vinegared rice) are two contradictory characteristics: refreshing and full-bodied. When sushi chefs prioritize richness, they use red vinegar or black vinegar with high amino acid content. However, this is a far cry from the light and refreshing taste that was originally sought in nigiri sushi. Therefore, sushi chefs try to solve the contradictory problem by mixing kinds of vinegar.

Various studies have also found amino acids such as glutamic acid, peptides, fat, glycogen, and alliin as substances that strengthen the richness. To make delicious nigiri sushi, the ingredients of sushi toppings and condiments must also be taken into consideration. It is not enough to focus only on vinegar. Of course, sushi chefs are not food researchers, so they have never conducted a quantitative analysis of amino acid content.

According to papers on the taste of vinegar by Masao Fujimaki, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, Ryuzo Ueda, associate professor at Osaka University, and Hiroshi Masai of Mizkan, amino acids exhibit a variety of flavors and are closely related to the unique taste of various foods. It is said that there are more than 20 kinds of amino acids that make up proteins, and 17 kinds of free amino acids exist in vinegar, which affects the taste of each vinegar.

The papers on the taste of vinegar

Rice vinegar is composed mainly of more than 10 amino acids, including glutamic acid, arginic acid, and aspartic acid. Among them, glutamic acid produces a delicious taste. Glutamic acid not only makes vinegar tasty but also works synergistically with the umami component to make nigiri sushi even tastier. Furthermore, the amino acid also acts on the slight sweetness of the vinegar and makes the overall taste milder and milder. In this respect, it can be said that the taste of rice vinegar is determined by the amount of amino acids present in the vinegar.

Although the amount of rice used as a raw material and the characteristics of the alcohol added during the production process are also important factors in increasing amino acids, at least standing fermentation (or static Fermentation) is a particularly important condition. Therefore, we surveyed Japanese vinegar manufacturers that use standing fermentation. Many sushi chefs use these vinegars. However, which vinegar is used as the main ingredient and what it is mixed with is, of course, a trade secret. And for fish preparation, vinegar made from brewing alcohol and containing almost no amino acids produced by fast fermentation is more refreshing. Again, it is not just a matter of focusing on the amount of amino acids.


List of Japanese Vinegar Manufacturers using Standing fermentation

Marusho vinegar (合名会社 丸正酢醸造元)

Establishment: 1879

TEL: +81-735-52-0038

Address:271 Tenma, Nachikatsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama prefecture 〒649-5331

HP: Marusho vinegar

#standing fermentation


Kobara vinegar (合名会社 河原酢造)

Establishment: 1823

TEL: +81-779-66-3275

Address:8-25 Yoshi, Ono-shi, Fukui prefecture 〒912-0401

HP: Kobara vinegar

Products: Yuuki Junmai vinegar Robai

#standing fermentation


Totsuka Vinegar Brewery (戸塚醸造店)

Establishment: 2005

TEL: +81-554-56-7431


253 Natsukari, Tsuru-shi, Yamanashi prefecture

HP: Totsuka Vinegar Brewery

#standing fermentation


Okuno zyouzou (株式会社 奥野醸造)

Establishment: –

TEL: +81-224-51-8891

Address:44 Aza Hayashi, Oaza Irimada, Shibata-cho, Shibata-gun, Miyagi prefecture 〒989

HP: Okuno zyouzou

Products: Junmai vinegar

#standing fermentation


Tobaya vinegar (株式会社とば屋酢店)

Establishment: 1710

TEL: +81-770-56-1514

Address:6-2, Higashiichiba 34, Obama City, Fukui Prefecture 〒917-0232

HP: Tobaya vinegar


Products: Junmai brewed vinegarTsubonosu

#standing fermentation


Takano vinegar (株式会社高野酢造)

Establishment: –

TEL: +81-76-273-1188

Address:103, Tsurugi Okuni-machi Ho, Hakusan City, Ishikawa prefecture 〒920-2133

HP: Takano vinegar


Products: Hakubai

#standing fermentation


Tankai vinegar (淡海酢有限会社)

Establishment: –

TEL: +81-740-36-0018

Address:1403 Katsuno, Takashima-shi, Shiga prefecture〒520-1121

HP: Tankai vinegar

Products: Rice vinegar Ginjo

#standing fermentation


Mikura vinegar (株式会社トーエー)


TEL: +81-5979-3-1660

Address: 2266 Atawa, Mihama-cho, Minamimuro-gun, Mie prefecture 〒519-5204

HP: Mikura vinegar


Products: White Vinegar Gekka, Red Vinegar Akane

#standing fermentation


Onomichi vinegar (尾道造酢株式会社)

Establishment: 1582

TEL: +81-848-37-4597

Address: 1-5-2 Kubo, Onomichi City, Hiroshima prefecture 〒722-0045

HP: Onomichi vinegar


Products: Rice vinegar, Pure Red vineager

#standing fermentation


Imakawa vinegar (今川酢造)

Establishment: 1923

TEL: +81-76-241-4020

Address: 3-19-1 Nomachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa prefecture 〒921-8031

HP: Imakawa vinegar


Products: Marusan Junmai vinegar

#standing fermentation


Iio Jozo (株式会社飯尾醸造)

Establishment: 1893

TEL: +81- 772-25-0015

Address: 373 Odasyukuno, Miyazu-shi, Kyoto-fu 〒626-0052

HP: Iio Jozo


Products: Pure rice vinegar Fujisu, Pure rice vinegar Premium

#Stationary fermentation


Yokoi vinegar (横井醸造工業株式会社)

Establishment: 1937

TEL: +81- 3522-1111

Address: 4-2-17 Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo 〒136-0082

HP: Yokoi vinegar


Products: Kinsho etc.

#standing fermentation


Kisaichi Brewing (私市醸造株式会社)

Establishment: 1922

TEL: +81- 47-443-2511

Address: 6-7-45 Higashi-Michinobe, Kamagaya-shi, Chiba prefecture 〒273-0115

HP: Kisaichi Brewing


Products: THE EDOMAE Sushi vinegar

#standing fermentation


Murayama vinegar (村山造酢株式会社)

Establishment: about 1720

TEL: +81-75-761-3151

Address: 3-2, Ohashi Higashi-iru, Sanjo-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 〒605-0005

HP: Murayama vinegar

Products: Chidori

#standing fermentation


Mizkan (株式会社 Mizkan)

Establishment: 1804

TEL: +81-569-21-3331

Address: 2-6 Nakamura-cho, Handa, Aichi prefecture 〒475-8585

HP: Mizkan


#standing fermentation


Kokonoesaika (株式会社九重雜賀)

Establishment: 1908

TEL: +81-736-66-3160

Address: 142-1, Momoyama-cho Moto, Kinokawa-shi, Wakayama prefecture 〒649-6122

HP: Kokonoesaika


Products: Saika Ginjo Red vinegar

#standing fermentation


Koutarou vinegar (有限会社林孝太郎造酢)

Establishment: –

TEL: +81-75-451-2071

Address: 455 Michimasa-cho, Higashi-iru, Teranouchi-agaru, Shinmachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 〒602-0004

HP: Koutarou vinegar

Products: Rice vinegar

#standing fermentation


Shoubun vinegar (株式会社庄分酢)

Establishment: 1711

TEL: +81-944-88-1535

Address: 548 Enokizu, Okawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture 〒831-0004

HP: Shoubun vinegar

Products: Shoubun Rice vinegar

#standing fermentation


Ishikawa  Industory (石川工業株式会社)

Establishment: 1928

TEL: +81-985-74-0046

Address: 3792 Kamitashima, Sadowara-cho, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture 〒880-0301

HP: Ishikawa Industory

Products: Yamato vinegar

#standing fermentation


Related contents:

Types of vinegar

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