Easy Japanese Appetizers and Otsumami for Beer and Sake

Hosting a Japanese themed cocktail party has never been easier with this list of top Japanese appetizers. The featured dishes use minimal ingredients and are simple to prepare. You'll be amazed at how easily you can prepare these dishes. You'll quickly become known as the best host in town.

  • 01 of 08
    Japanese Snacks or Otsumami for Beer, Sake and Alcohol
    Japanese Beer Snacks (Otsumami). Photo Credit: Project with vigour/Aflo/RF Images/Getty Images

    The easiest appetizers to serve are store bought pre-packaged Japanese snacks to complement beer and alcohol. At a local Japanese market you are likely to see an entire aisle dedicated to dried otsumami snacks. These snacks are savory and salty and often spicy as well. Typical snacks include tempura seaweed, roasted green peas, and spicy dried shredded squid.

  • 02 of 08
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    Spicy Edamame. © Judy Ung

    Spicy edamame can be whipped up in a jiffy and it is addicting. It's sauteed with garlic, sesame oil, and spicy Japanese seven chili pepper (shichimi togarashi), chili oil (la-yu), and dried red chili peppers. You may be able to find fresh edamame pods at the supermarket, farmers' market, or a specialty market. But it is now easy to find them frozen in many supermarkets and warehouse club stores.

  • 03 of 08
    Ika (Squid) Au Gratin with Panko, Garlic and Parmesan
    Garlic Calamari Au Gratin. Photo Credit: © Judy Ung

    This crunchy garlic calamari au gratin differs from traditional Japanese-style cream-based au gratin in that the calamari is mixed with flavorful panko crumbs. The garlic flavor is a wonderful complement to beer and sake.

  • 04 of 08
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    Spicy Konnyaku (Yam Cake). © Judy Ung

    Almost any dish with a bit of heat, or spice, goes well with an ice cold beer, sake, or refreshing alcoholic beverage. This spicy konnyaku (devils root) is so easy to prepare and cooks in minutes. Its texture and spice are great for nibbling during cocktail hour.

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  • 05 of 08
    Kimchi Natto Ae (Fermented Soy Beans with Spicy Kimchi Pickles)
    Kimchi (Spicy Cabbage Pickles) with Natto (Fermented Soy Beans) and Green Perilla Leaf. © Judy Ung

    Natto, or fermented soy beans, are often thought of as a condiment for rice or as a light meal for breakfast, or late night snack. The bold flavors from the kimchi and the spiciness of the Korean pickled nappa make this  kimchi natto a great complement to beer and sake.

  • 06 of 08
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    Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Wings. Photo Credit: © Hideki Ueha

    Wings always go well with beer and alcohol, and this is no different for Japanese cuisine. Try making teriyaki chicken wings in the slow cooker and you'll see how effortless it is. Although these wings go well as an appetizer with beer, you might be tempted to make a complete meal out of them.

  • 07 of 08
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    Soy Sauce Eggs (Shoyu Tamago). Photo Credit: © Judy Ung

    Soy sauce eggs have always been a favorite dish for Japanese bento lunches or sliced as a topping for a bowl of ramen. These eggs also make a great appetizer or otsumami for beer and sake cocktail hour. The best part is that all you need to do is hard boil eggs and then let them marinate in soy sauce. Enjoy this easy recipe.

  • 08 of 08
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    Baked Japanese Dynamite Appetizer with Seafood. © Hideki Ueha

    Baked dynamite is a classic sushi bar appetizer of mixed seafood dressed in a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce and baked until the top is golden brown. This appetizer is quick and easy to prepare, using a shortcut of mixed frozen seafood.