Is Arctic or volcanic water Hong Kong’s new luxe menu item? Jason Kuok is working with restaurants and cafes to promote water pairing.
Jason Kuok is the first and only certified water sommelier in Hong Kong and Macau. His favourite picks are bottles filled with water – from the Arctic, or a volcanic area in Germany – rather than wine.
So what is so special about a drink we take for granted every day? After all it is “colourless, odourless and tasteless”. However, when it comes to mineral water, which has a different flavour and texture, it is another story. “The taste of mineral water usually comes from minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and sulphate,” Kuok says.
“Water with a high calcium content will have a chalky and dry texture; magnesium gives an umami [a taste that is neither sweet, sour, bitter nor salty] flavour. However, it will become bitter when it’s too high. Sulphate will give the water a slight bitter flavour.”
For sparkling water, there are naturally and artificially carbonated types. Just as when drinking sparkling wine, the bubble size and quantity of bubbles will vary depending on the water.
Kuok’s job as a water sommelier is similar to that of a wine steward: he helps guests choose the best water to go with their dishes, wine and coffee. He completed an intensive nine-day water sommelier course at the renowned Doemens Academy in Graefelfing, Germany, and is now working with six restaurants and three cafes in the city to promote water-pairing dining.
Kuok likes to pair strongly-flavoured food with low total dissolved solids (TDS). “If you want to enhance the tannin character of a red wine, choose water with a low TDS level,” he says. “If you are doing wine tasting, high TDS water can help wash away the aftertaste and prepare your palate for the next wine.”
Kuok believes water is like perfume: everyone has their own preference and there’s no such thing as absolutely good or bad water.
(Source: Source : SCMP )