THAI NAME: Thai Sato
REVIEW: While I was stuck taking care of the Takjoo Hound, Mrs. Takjoo and her mom traipsed off to Thailand for a week. But, even though I didn’t get to eat my weight in phat kaphrao or drink out of a coconut the size of my head, they were kind enough to bring me back a bottle of sato, a traditional Thai brew.
Now, if you’re looking for an explanation of what sato is, you’ve come to the wrong place. I just feel fortunate that I figured out that “Thai Sato” is not only the description on the label but also the name of the brew. But as for the rest, many, many question marks litter this review.
From a little internet sleuthing, it appears that sato, like makgeolli, is brewed in an earthenware jar by fermenting glutinous rice, water, and “yeast balls” called (perhaps?) luk paeng. One difference from makgeolli is that water seems to be added toward the end of the sato brewing process rather than at the beginning. Like various popular Thai dishes such as som tam and larb, sato hails from Isan, the northeast region of Thailand. You can get some more info on sato from wikipedia (of course!), the Southeast Asia Fermentable blog, and bangkokbeyond.com. You can also check out some videos of homebrewers here, here, and my favorite here.
Back to the review! Thai Sato is very light and slightly carbonated. A tangy, vinegar quality is also noticeable; it reminded me of a watered-down Korean vinegar drink or a mild kombucha. The flavor is likewise extremely mild. It tasted of vanilla up front and then finished with a slightly bitter, creamy taste.
Looking back on how enthusiastic I was when I first tried Jangsoo Makgeolli, people should be skeptical of my first take on sato. However, I thought Thai Sato was lovely and something I would seek out again. But, as Levar Burton would say, you don’t have to take my word for it: This guy is a kindred spirit!
Appearance: Pale yellow.
Scent: Chardonnay; cream cheese; apple vinegar.
Body: Light and crisp.
PURCHASED: Big C Shopping Center
AVAILABILITY: Sato, in general, seems to be widely available. I’m guessing that if this brand is able to be bought at Big C (a supermarket similar to Korea’s E-Mart, Lotte Mart, etc.), it is probably widely available.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 5%
VOLUME: 620 ml