The main difference between mirin and rice vinegar is their flavor. Mirin has a sweet taste while rice vinegar has umami or bitter taste.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Mirin
– Definition, Features
2. What is Rice Vinegar
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Mirin and Rice Vinegar
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Mirin and Rice Vinegar
– Comparison of Key Differences
Rice Vinegar, Mirin
What is Mirin
Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine native to Japan. It is somewhat similar to sake but has a higher sugar content and a lower alcohol content. This sugar content forms naturally during fermentation. Thus, there is no artificial sugar added. Also, the alcohol content of mirin is around 14%. This alcohol content can be further reduced when heated. We can use mirin to season traditional Japanese dishes like rice, dumplings, ramen, and udon noodles.
Moreover, there are several types of mirin. For example, Hon-mirin, Aji-mirin, and shio-mirin are the major types. Their difference stems from the alcohol content. Aji-mirin has a lower alcohol percentage and 2% salt and goes well with other seasonings. Hon-mirin has around 15% alcohol and is the traditional form of mirin. Some also call it ‘true mirin.’ Shio-mirin has additional salt and has its own unique taste.
What is Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar is vinegar made from fermented rice. It’s a common ingredient in East Asian cuisine, especially in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. Asians use rice vinegar to make pickles, marinades, salad dressings, sushi rice, stir-fries, etc.
In making this vinegar, sugar in rice is converted to alcohol first, and then it is again converted into an acid (vinegar) through a fermentation process. Rice vinegar has an acidic and salty flavor. However, this flavor actually depends on how long the vinegar ferments. However, rice vinegar is less mild and acidic than white vinegar (pure distilled) or vinegar made from grape-based wines. We can use rice vinegar as a substitute for mirin, but it might taste more bitter.
Moreover, there are various types of rice vinegar. White rice vinegar, black rice vinegar, brown rice vinegar, and red rice vinegar are some of them. White rice vinegar is the basic rice vinegar you usually find in grocery stores. Brown rice vinegar is mild in flavor but has more nutrients, while black rice vinegar is often used as a dipping sauce. Red rice vinegar, on the other hand, is made with already fermented rice and contains other grains like sorghum.
Similarities Between Mirin and Rice Vinegar
- Both mirin and rice vinegar have the same basic ingredients: fermented rice, salt, and water.
- They are common ingredients in Japanese cuisine.
- We can use these as marinades, glazes, dipping sauces, salad dressings, and many more.
Difference Between Mirin and Rice Vinegar
Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine native to Japan, while Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented rice.
Mirin has a sweet taste, while rice vinegar has umami or bitter taste.
Rice vinegar has a longer aging process than mirin, which results in its bitter taste.
While rice vinegar has added sugar, white vinegar does not.
Rice vinegar is often combined with other flavorings to make it flavorful, but mirin can be used itself without flavorings.
The main difference between mirin and rice vinegar is their flavor. Mirin has a sweet taste while rice vinegar has umami or bitter taste. Therefore, their uses in cuisine also differ.
1. “What Is Rice Vinegar? How to Cook with Rice Vinegar and Best Rice Vinegar Substitutes – 2022.” MasterClass, 3 Aug. 2021.
2. “Mirin.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2022.