Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - suggestions?

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.

I hope this hasn't been covered elsewhere; I did scour the forum but I don't see it, so sorry if I missed it!

I am a Japanese cooking enthusiast based in the North East of england, and get most of my ingredients from Japan Centre. They have always proved pretty good, but I've noticed there are a few essentials that I have been able to get on there recently - namely konbu (which I need for yummy vegan dashi - had to get rubbish ol' dashi powder instead) hijiki and whole takuan (better for veggie sushi than the pre-cut half-moons)

I was wondering what other sites you good people recommend, that obviously ship to the UK or are UK based. I must say as I don't live in London it seems pretty tough to buy groceries in stores; the shops in Newcastle's Chinatown have a few Japanese groceries, but they're not the best, really. :(

Thanks in advance!

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maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 3 days ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Hmm, are you sure Japan Centre doesn't have whole takuan? I think I ordered some from them a few months ago...You could try contacting them to see if they have it. (They are quite responsive. Though their online stock is smaller than what they have in-store...maybe a trip to London? ^_^;)

You can try contacting Rice Wine their site says they will deliver within mainland UK, but their site is all in Japanese! Also, try Japanese Kitchen.

With hijiki, try looking for 'Clearspring hijiki' - eg here - it's sold in 'natural food' stores as well as Japanese stores. Pricey though.

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Thanks for this! I think Japan Centre used to have whole takuan, but lately I haven't found it... Perhaps the stock changes from time to time. I still think they are an awesome supplier though, it really makes my day when I recieve a parcel from them! Next time I am in London I will definitely go to the store (and perhaps the restaurant...?) as there are all sorts of nice things there that you can't get delivered.

Rice Wine looks amazing, I think when I am feeling up for a challenge I will try them - my Japanese isn't so good any more, so it might take me a while to navigate it.

Thanks for the tips!

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 38 weeks 1 hour ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Sorry I wasn't able to reply earlier, pii_bii (I couldn't log on for a couple of weeks and it's taken me a while to scour through all the forum activity that happened while I was away - I don't know how Maki and the other moderators manage!)

Would you like to try the Japan Centre again? - whole takuan seems to be back on sale
http://www.japancentre.com/?cmd=itm&cid=271&id=2825

Although it's a little cheaper at the Rice Wine Shop
http://www.ricewineshop.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi?product=tsukemono...
product P152

Unfortunately, kombu does seem to be absent from the Japan Centre online store - which is a little odd as it's certainly on the shelves there.
The rice wine shop has two kinds for dashi
http://www.ricewineshop.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi?product=kaisan&ca...
K108 & K109

It's such a shame you missed out on the whole Akita style smoked takuan (iburigakko) that was available at the Japan Centre last year (they occasionally get in a limited stock of some amazing products). I don't think the iburigakko was ever available online. If I see anything else like this I'll be sure to let you know - I'm sure I can figure out a way to get stuff to you!

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 3 days ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

You know like how some markets have guided tours and such (I think the Borough Market has one). I wonder why there aren't more guided tours of 'ethnic' grocery stores? I wonder if people would pay for such things? Like an hour at Japan Centre or something, showing a small group of people what is what and such...

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Thanks Loretta! I guess I have to be more patient; Japan Centre's stock changes from time to time, depending on what's available it seems. The iburigakko sounds amazing, I must admit it is something I've never heard of...I wish I could afford to go to London more often. I have only actually been to the shop itself once, and I think I was a little overwhelmed. This was a good few years ago, when my japanese cuisine knowledge was pretty limited. :)
I find kombu a bit of a pain to buy, to be honest, but I love making veggie dashi, so it's a burden I have to bear! Clearspring do one, but it's quite expensive. I guess it lasts, and is re-useable, but...I never know how to dry it out after use, and then I annoy people by leaving 'weird' soggy black-green strips in the kitchen for days!
Perhaps next time I do a big japanese food shop I will try getting those bits I can't get at Japan Centre through Rice Wine instead. Thanks for offering to help out with harder to get items! That's really kind of you. And I won't take the mickey and ask for frozen edamame or gyoza skins or anything. I think damp, thawing food goods might annoy the Royal Mail somewhat...:)
Cheers!

cromagnon
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Hi - I've also been trying to get konbu from the Japan Centre; I was passing the store last week and they had it on their shelves but I couldn't buy at the time, and both just before and just after they don't have it listed on the website. I've sent them an email to ask what's going on, and I'll post the results.

While I was looking for konbu, I also found a couple of Irish sites which stock Atlantic kelp (Laminaria digitata, as opposed to Laminaria japonica which is the usual konbu sold). Has anyone ever tried using it?

C.

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Be interesting to know what goes on with Japan Centre and their konbu situation. I found some, shredded in a shop in Chinatown today, so I have a bit to be going on with now, even though I'm used to buying it in large sheets. I too would be interested to know if anyone has ever used Atlantic kelp instead. My first thought was that it couldn't be much different...but I'm too scared to try it! :)

Mike
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Japan Centre seems to be offline at the moment.

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 38 weeks 1 hour ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Perhaps it was a glitch - seems fine to me at the moment

Mike
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Rice Wine Shop's site is all in Japanese! Help!

cichlid
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 50 weeks ago.
Re: Buying Japanese Ingredients online in the UK - ...

Mount Fuji has konbu:

http://mountfuji.co.uk/acatalog/Mount_Fuji_Soup_Stocks__DASHI__2.html

Whole takuan also:

http://mountfuji.co.uk/acatalog/Mount_Fuji_Pickles___Vegetables_11.html

I found their postage costs cheap for light weight items, but that was a while back.

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