Tag Archives: daiso

Where to shop for Japanese ingredients

20 Oct

For making authentic Japanese dishes, the shopping for ingredients is thing for not forgetting. Also, never forget important Japanese manners of beautiful presentation with proper dishes.

List of those places for getting it is here.

Let’s enjoy shopping for real Japanese foods-ware!

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Where to buy Japanese Ingredients in Vancouver

Japanese food enthusiasts are lucky to live in Vancouver (and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland of B.C.) where Asian produce is readily available, and imported Japanese food is around nearly every corner! There are many places to shop for Japanese ingredients, but here are my favourite:

Fujiya: http://www.fujiya.ca/

Fujiya’s largest location (on Clark and Venebles) is your one-stop-shop for all pantry items. This is where you will find everything you need to keep in stock: dashi, large sacks of rice, noodles, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, ponzu, and the best selection of Japanese pickles. They also have a good stock of frozen items (including the famous natto), a selection of fish, ready-made sushi and bento, Japanese cookbooks, and even carry Japanese kitchen tools such as ginger graters, cooking chopsticks, and more. Although short on produce, they do carry some specialty vegetables such as kaiwara (daikon sprouts) and shiso herb (often used as a garnish for sushi and sashimi). If this location is convenient to you, you can stop reading now.

T&T: http://www.tnt-supermarket.com/en/index.php

Although mainly Chinese in its product, T&T locations carry a great stock of Japanese items. Although less likely to carry the widest variety of Japanese soup stocks and sauces, the best part about T&T is its variety of Asian vegetables, freshly made noodles and selection of frozen fish. It’s also the best place to pick up fish balls for nabemono (Japanese hot-pot).

H-Mart: http://www.hanahreum.ca/board/default_e.asp

H-Mart is primarily Korean, and has a small selection of Japanese sauces and stocks, but has a great selection of Asian produce and seafood that more than makes up for it. This is a good place when you just need a couple of additional items. Their downtown location is on the second floor (look up!) and also has ridiculously convenient hours: 7am – 10pm Monday – Saturday, and 9am – 10pm on Sundays.

Konbiniya: http://www.konbiniya.com/

The smallest of the stores mentioned, Konbiniya mostly carries dried/instant foods, snacks and bento boxes. Famous for the automated voice welcoming you to the store upon arrival and thanking you for your visit as you leave, they tend to have a selection of ingredients for easy to prepare [read: instant] foods for home-sick Japanese ex-pats needing an instant reminder of home. However, they do carry some staples. Also check out the manga, videos, Japanese hair-dresser, dishware, and karaoke box upstairs!

Where to Buy Japanese Dishware and Cookware

Daiso in Richmond (http://www.daisocanada.com) and YokoYaya downtown (http://www.yokoyaya.com) are two of the best places to find daikon graters, ginger graters, sesame mortars, cooking chopsticks and other amazing Japanese cookware. T&T is good for rice cookers, but various stores in Chinatown also carry them. Look for Japanese brands (like Zojirushi) with heavy insets for the highest quality.

For something a little fancier, try Utsuwa-no-yakata in Burnaby (in Metrotown) and in Richmond (at Aberdeen Centre). They also carry earthenware nabe (hotpot dishes) and lovely sets at reasonable prices.

Let’s enjoy shopping!

Shopping in Japan: forking cheap!

13 Jul

It’s true that Japan is home to the truly, extravagantly, unattainably expensive and unnecessary products (such as face cream dotted with flecks of gold leaf – it’s true, my mother bought it, in both senses of the phrase). However, it’s also home to unbelievably well-priced, well-made, oddly handy and exciting things for your kitchen (and belly!)

In order to fully take advantage, I have been scouring all sorts of stores to find those items that you just can’t buy at home, taking trains to towns big and small, chatting with street stall ojisan (uncles), popping my head into village shop windows, browsing through the Japanese big brand stores and daintily walking through posh department stores, hoping to not be noticed as the working-class intruder that I am. And for all of that train-riding, head-popping and dainty walking, there are two stores that always stand out as the best buys: the convenience store and the 100 yen shop.

The Japanese Convenience Store:

Actually convenient, the Japanese konbini (short for kon-bii-ni-ansu su-to-ah = “convenience store”) is home not only to dirty magazines, razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste, stockings and socks, breath fresheners, and everything else you need for a clandestine night away from home, it’s also the place where you can stock up on the social lubricant that will get you there – liquor!

Conbini Biiru

Convenient Sake

With a wide selection of sake and beer, the Japanese convenience store is there to ensure you have a forking good time when you just can’t make it home from the office.

Conbini Onigiri

Convenient food

You may want to fill your belly with more than just drink though, and so much more than the North American 7-11, the Japanese convenience store is full of yummy snacks, treats, and what’s more – REAL FOOD. Rice balls, lunch boxes with rice, egg, noodles, potato salad, and main courses of chicken, beef, or fish, you can leave a Japanese convenience store with more than just a processed-cheese smothered hot dog and a stomach ache. Ahh, konbini-ent.

The 100 Yen Shop:

Possibly even more convenient than the Japanese konbini, the 100 yen (= around $1) shop carries everything from underwear to make-up, from furniture to home-cleaning items, and my favourites, dishes and food! One walk around the 100 yen shop and you’ll be shocked at all of the things you have been living without.

Hyakkin

100 Yen Heaven

Totally enthralled by the dishes available, I refrained from buying the breakable, and went with some cute, plastic bowls and trays.

Hyakkin booru

100 yen treasures

And the best part is, you don’t have to be in Japan to enjoy a 100 yen adventure! Greater Vancouver’s Richmond has it’s very own Daiso – the first of its kind in North America. http://www.daisocanada.com/ If you’re in the area, take a trip to Aberdeen Centre and delight in two whole floors of madness. Be careful, though, with import fees, everything at Daiso Canada is a pricey $2 Cdn!

I’m off to the Japanese countryside for the next week plus, where I’ll be weeding, gardening, forking up some food for my leathery grandmother, and saving up some posts for when I return to internet-accessible areas.

Let’s forking when I come again!

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