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Glossary of Asian Culture - S

Sake: Popular Japanese alcoholic drink made from brewed rice (sometimes called Japanese rice wine).

Sake Masu: Masus are wooden square boxes originally used to measure rice in ancient Japan. Today, masus are used for drinking sake. It can be used alone or with a sake glass. In Japan, a masu is often used with a sake glass.

Samurai: Ancient class of Japanese nobility, noted for their decorative armor, highly-skilled battle techniques and adherence to a code of conduct known as Bushido. Were important part of Japanese society until the end of the Edo Period in the mid 1800s.

Sandalwood: Different types of fragrant woods that usually produces aromatic essential oils often used in aromatic products such as incense and fragrance oil. Sandalwood scents usually carries a light fresh smell of wood.

Santoku: Multi-purpose Japanese kitchen knife with a flat edge and rounded blade. Commonly used for dicing, mincing and slicing foods like vegetables.

Sashimi: Thin slices of quality raw fish or seafood that are often eaten with condiments like pickled ginger (gari), grated Japanese horseradish (wasabi) and soy sauce (shoyu).

Sencha:Japanese green tea made without grinding tea leaves.

Sesame: A plant that produces oil-rich seeds used for cooking. Sesame seeds are favored for their fragrant nutty taste. In Japanese cuisines, sesame seeds are often grounded up and used in desserts. Sesame seeds are found in many Chinese dishes.

Seven Lucky Gods: Japanese gods of fortune carrying different blessings. The seven gods include: Hotei (abundance and health), Jurojin (longevity), Fukurokuju (wealth and happiness), Bishamonten (warrior), Benzaiten (art, beauty, knowledge and music), Daikokuten (commerce ad trade) and Ebisu (fisherman and merchants).

Shingata: A style of kokeshi dolls also called creative kokeshi dolls that were developed after the Second World War. Their style is more rounded and the decorative designs more elaborate and artists are given more freedom in crafting kokeshi dolls.

Shabu Shabu:Japanese hot-pot style dish containing thinly sliced pieces of meat and veggies that are boiled in hot water and then served in citrus-infused soy sauce, or ponzu, or goma sesame sauce.

Shitake mushrooms: Edible mushrooms native to East Asia. Used in many Asian cuisines, shitake mushrooms are considered delicacies. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, the most popular being sautéing shitake mushrooms in delicate Chinese dishes like “Buddha’s delight”.

Shochu: Japanese distilled alcoholic beverage commonly made from sweet potatoes, rice or barley.

Shoyu: Japanese word for soy sauce, a popular dark, salty sauce made from fermented soy beans.

Soba: Japanese thin noodles made from buckwheat flour that are often served cold with a dipping sauce, strips of seasoned dried seaweed and scallions.

Somen: Thin Japanese noodles made from salt and wheat flour that are often enjoyed cold with a dipping sauce and condiments such as chopped scallions and grated ginger.

Soy sauce: A popular Asian condiment produced from the fermentation of soybeans. Soy sauce is light brown in color and has a fragrant salty taste. It is used to season food and used as dipping sauce for cooked dishes.

Sukiyaki: Japanese hot pot dish often containing noodles, thinly sliced beef, vegetables and tofu, and served with various dipping sauces.

Sumo: A traditional Japanese wrestling sport. Two wrestlers are placed within a ring and each wrestler attempts to push the opponent out of the ring or force the opponent to touch the ground with any part of his body. Originally associated with Shinto.

Sumo wrestlers:
The wrestlers in the traditional sport of Sumo. Known as rikishi, sumo wrestlers are cultural symbols in Japan. Sumo wrestlers follow strict lifestyle regimes. Highly respected in Japan, they can be recognized by the topknots they wear on their head.

Traditional Japanese dish containing pieces of raw fish, vegetables and other ingredients on a bed or vinegar-infused rice. Served in circular rolls, cone-shaped hand rolls and square pieces, sushi's origins are traced to Southeast Asia around the 4th century.

Sushi Mat: A thin mat usually made out of bamboo used for rolling rice and seaweed to make sushi rolls.

Sushi-oke: Special round wooden bowl (sometimes called a hangiri) used to prepare sushi rice. It is often lacquered and used as a decorative sushi serving tray.

Sushi Press: Traditional box device used to create pressed or oshizushi sushi. Called oshizushihako in Japanese, sushi presses are typically made from wood or plastic. Rice, seaweed and additional ingredients are pressed into a rectangular log, and cut into individual squares.

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