Sanbaizu: Recipes and Usage of the Vinegar Sauce

Have you ever heard of the traditional Japanese vinegar sauce called Sanbaizu (三杯酢)?

Today I will talk about it for those who don’t know but want to find out what it is.

Sanbaizu (三杯酢)

Sanbaizu is a simple liquid seasoning made by combining three ingredients, as San (三) in its name means three in Japanese.


Vinegar and Soy Sauce

The three ingredients traditionally prepared are vinegar, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), and shoyu or soy sauce.

But sometimes, sugar is substituted for mirin.

The Chinese character or kanji 酢 in its name, pronounced as Su or Zu, stands for vinegar, 

which is the main ingredient, and Sanbaizu is a vinegar sauce.


Sakazuki Sake Cup

The rest word, Bai (杯), stands for Sakazuki (盃) or sake cup, which indicates Sanbaizu used to be made with a sake cup in the past.

As San (三) means three, the vinegar sauce would be made using a Sakazuki three times.

Using Vinegar, Mirin, and Soy Sauce

That is why traditional Sanbaizu consists of a 1:1:1 ratio of vinegar, mirin, and soy sauce.

However, nowadays, it is typically made up of a 2:2:1 ratio of vinegar, mirin, and soy sauce.

Vinegar Mirin Soy sauce
Traditional 1 1 1
Modern 2 2 1

Either way, pour these three liquids into a bowl and mix well.

Using Vinegar, Soy Sauce, and Sugar

If you want to make Sanbaizu sauce with sugar, the recommended mixing ratio of vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar is 3:1:2.

Put the three seasonings into a bowl and stir well until the sugar is dissolved in the liquid.


Cucumber Salad with Sanbaizu

We use this vinegar sauce as a marinade or a dressing.

In the former case, it goes well with fried fish, such as horse mackerel, flounder, or sea bream.

Meanwhile, as a dressing, it makes a good pair with fresh vegetables and seaweed such as Mozuku.

Tokoroten Noodles with Sanbaizu Sauce

Additionally, as I wrote before, we often eat Tokoroten (ところてん) seaweed jelly noodles with Sanbaizu sauce during the summertime.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 三杯酢 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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