Japanese Groceries :)

__xrachel
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.

Hi guys. This thread is about Japanese Groceries. What are you favourites? What Japanese food have you been dissapointed in? What do you want to buy soon?

Here's my list:

Favourites:
Kewpie Mayo
S&B Mild Curry / Hokkaido Corn Cream Stew
Okonomiyaki flour and sauce / Yakisoba Sauce (plus aonori, red ginger, katsuobushi etc.)
Instant Miso Soup and Dashi
Sushi rice plus nori, vinegar, wasabi etc.
Pokka Coffee/Royal Milk Tea/Calpis
WASABI PEAS!
Furikake (especially wasabi flavour)
Morinaga Pancake Mix (guilty pleasure!)
Natto

Dissapointments:
Ramen noodles, I think they're quite yummy and they taste authentic (unlike the UK variants) however they are so salty they make me feel sleepy and bloated afterwards :(
Pocky, most overrated snack
Collon (too sweet)
Instant Purin (creme caramel)

Things I want to buy but never have:
Mochi
Azuki bean paste
Mochi ice cream
Aburaage (tofu pouches)
Japanese Sweets that are actually delicious.

I *think* that's everything! I have spent FAR too much money in the Japan Centre!
What does everyone else love/hate?
xx

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jskidmoreca
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

My most recent favorite find was furitake - I was not so impressed with the wasabi flavor. I like ones that have seaweed, sesame seeds & bonito flakes (so do my cats!) I saw someone write about sukiyaki flavored furitake, but have yet to find that one.

I don't know what they are called but I have found a sweet ginger flavored cracker/cookie - oh my goodness they are addicting!! They sell them at Trader Joes, but I found them at the asian food store for a lot less.

I love medium grain white rice - no more long grain for me! I like nori a lot, but I bought individual packets that got soggy even though they were not opened - I will stick with the larger sheets or furitake (that gives me my nori fix)

Love, love, love mochi, but it is not readily available and what I find in stores tends to be "procesed" (not like what I have gotten in Hawaii) and the type I get here tends to taste more like marshmallows - I don't know, but I have found a recipe and I am going to make my own fresh mochi soon! It doesn't look difficult at all, but I could be wrong.

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MinamiTanaka
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 42 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I agree with pocky being over rated. I think it actually tastes really artificial.
One of my favourite things is sukiyaki sauce, so good. I usually buy the kikkoman make. I love furikake too.

Vosotros
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 42 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

My favorites would include rice crackers (the ones with the sweet soy covering). My kids like an pan man crackers but I can't seem to get them anymore at either store around me. Sweet rice, both brown and polished and the quality of rice in general at a Japanese grocery would keep me coming back. Also the quality of fish and produce are great especially some of the more obscure produce such as lychee, burdock, eggplants, and radish which tend to be more expensive and stale in regular groceries. Ponzu sauce, soba noodles and the broth, real wasabi (and wasabi peas) and obscure teas are my favorites as well.

Disappointments: I seem to be in agreement with fellow posters that Pocky is over rated, as well that the ramen cups are way too salty. Most japanes sweets don't excite me very much. I'm not much for the roasted barley tea either.

I'd like to try more miso types and some of the salad dressings that are soy and ginger based. There are probably many others but I need to go back and refresh my memory.

__xrachel
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

jskidmoreca - Marshmallow mochi doesn't sound too good. :\ Aww, I'm sorry about your soggy nori, were they away from the kitchen? Maybe steam got inside them? Good luck with making mochi, I might tackle it some day!

MinamiTanaka - I don't understand the fascination with Pocky! Maybe it's because it's in anime a lot? Hmmm.

Vosotros - I'm ashamed to say I rarely buy fresh produce from my Japanese shop. :| I assumed that sushi rice is all roughly the same quality, is it worth buying a Japanese brand?

Thanks for your interesting repliesssss. :)

Brit-chan
Bento-ing from: Lafayette › Louisiana › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 9 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

Hm... I like Pocky, but i agree it is overated. I like Yan Yan, mostly for the frosting. :X And those kusagi(sp?) gummies, i've always found those yummy. I havn't been able to try much except for what I can find at World Market...I don't know where an asian/japanese market is around here...I think there is one... Somewhere. u_u; I'd like to get the right kind of rice for onigiri. I've made them with long grain and it comes out good (they just fall apart a bit easier) and that's probably one of my favorite things I've eaten so far.

I'd like to eat some made by someone from Japan though. It'd be much better. XD

Instant ramen is ok if you are poor and in college...but I want real ramen! Pho isn't japanese or really ramen, but you can get it at several restaurants here and it's very good! <3

Oh, and I like the ramune soda...even though it's just really sugar sprite-like soda. XD

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Yum yum bento yum yum!

annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

__xrachel - I can't believe I found a fellow natto lover! I'm having natto in my bento today for lunch. I love it with wasabi and soy sauce over rice.

Soba noodles are wonderful, but I've never perfected the dipping sauce for them.
Miso soup goes without mention, right?
Kabocha squash is my favorite winter squash and I'll settle for nothing else (okay, maybe delicata or carnival).
I found a container of individually wrapped packets of mushroom-flavored nori, which I loved, but eventually they went stale. I guess the airtight container and individual wrapping wasn't enough.
Aburaage is great, but I have to rinse it first, it's too sweet out of the can. I have also found it challenging to use them all in different ways - I love inarisushi but can only eat so much of it.
Miso. I usually buy mild, light miso.

As far as sweets, Kasugai Lychee chews are yummy, and Botan rice candy. Also, I adore Kuri-iri Dorayaki, "baked red bean cake" - basically pancakes stuffed with sweet red beans.

__xrachel
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

Brit-chan - You can buy those gummies from the Japan Centre website but the p+p is quite expensive. :\ I always imagine Japanese food to be tastier if it's cooked by a Japanese person! Same with Indian food, haha. I've never heard of Pho before, but the pictures on Google look very similar to ramen, I guess it is a good substitute. :)

annenayne - Woo, natto is brilliant, you have to love the gooey strings. I once made the mistake of trying to heat it in the microwave, it burnt and the house STUNK for hours! :| I've never had dorayaki before, I think I will make it some day... I have azuki beans in the cupboard that are waiting to be used. However, I always imagine it to be quite dry, is that the case?

alioc
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 42 weeks ago.
My picks from the Japanese grocery

Essential: White miso paste, good-quality sushi rice, mirin, Japanese soy sauce, cooking sake, umeboshi, nori, kewpie mayo, black sesame furikake

Currently in my pantry: Okonomiyaki sauce, yakitori sauce, noodle sauce, udon noodles, furikake (nori & egg, salmon, perilla, aonori, black sesame), Pocky, lychee jelly

Underwhelmed by: Tarako spaghetti, bonito (I know, I know, love Japanese food but don't like bonito?!)

I would love to get more but I'm trying to be more eco-conscious and cut down on my food miles and on processed food. I find with the basic stash, I can make just about anything I want.

Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I like anything with red bean paste in it, and I quite like glutinous rice. We're kind of limeted here on what we can get hold of. Pocky are nice, but their are nicer things and their very expensive. I have recently convinved my dad to invest in a bottle of sake which has improved the flavour of alot of things greatly (he still won't get mirin but I'm not far off 18 so sake and sherry will do for now). I am currently trying to get hold of some miso and dashi.
By the way. Does anyone know where I can get Japanese groceries in Yorkshire?

Moniiku_Asami95
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I know this is totally off topic, but your hair is really cool! :)

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Moniiku_Asami95
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
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Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I have no Japanese groccery stores from where i live.
It's very hard to even find one. :( If I found one, I would be in heaven!!!

__xrachel
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

annenayne - :D Oh, no, stinky office! I'm thinking I'll make dorayaki this weekend, hopefully the azuki bean paste will turn out okay.

annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

__xrachel - Give it up for natto! I had some for lunch last week and left the bowl in my office overnight - BIG MISTAKE! I have never made dorayaki. I've only had it packaged, and it was never dry.

annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

Oooh, I'm looking forward to hearing about it. Will you share the recipe if it works out?

morbo
Joined: 13 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I'm fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles with a few decent Japanese groceries nearby. (The big Marukai in Gardena is my favorite.) A lot of good stuff already listed, so I'll just add some of my favorites. :)

- Goma sauce (awesome for dipping or salad dressing )
- Usukuchi shoyu (the lighter colored soy sauce that I hope I'm spelling correctly :)
- yuzu juice and freeze dried yuzu rind (my local store actually had some fresh yuzu in stock last week....... for $8 a piece)
- those little multi grain mix-in rice packs
- semi-brown rice ( haigamai )
- mochi ice cream
- jfc brand gyoza (no msg for when I don't have time to make my own )
- Koshihikari Echigo beer
- ponzu
- those awful little elise brand matcha flavored cookies. they're kind of terrible tasting but i still love them for no good reason
- frozen udon noodles
- trader joe's rice crackers. the ones in the zip top bag. OMG
- Bunashimeji mushrooms. Excellent in mushroom rice.
- Dessert Pocky. Pocky is normally overrated, but this particular type is awesome.
- japanese sweet potato

I'm also fortunate in that one of the local stores sells artisan tofu made locally. It's pretty expensive, but oh man, if you love tofu and ever find any, definitely give it a try.

red_the_opinionated
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I'm with you on the local Japanese grocery. Here in Portland, I love Anzen Market. They sell some great local tofu that is comparable in price to pre-packaged, and even sell already crumbled for a very chep price - I assume it's "extras" from the tofu people.

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madame.kira
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I second that natto comment! I really didn't have a taste for it at first, matter of fact it didn't appeal to me whatsoever. I never did understand where people say it smells like smelly feet though. I've had numerous brands (and now it is a staple here for me) and all just taste like burnt coffee beans to me and have an odd smell, but it's not offputting to me at all.. LOL.

Let's see, what I love:

- Fried fruit/veggie chips (they have taro and jackfruit in them, something I can't find elsewhere)
- Natto
- Miso (in all forms, paste, soup, etc)
- Nori + hijiki
- Ramune sodas!!!
- Pocky, Kasugai gummies, Koala March cookies pretty.much.anything.in.the.snack.aisle
- "Sweet steamed bread" I don't really know the name of these but they sure are good! I first started my search for them after seeing Shaolin Soccer for the first time, lol.
- Daifuku
- Tofu dango
- Kewpie mayo
- Sake, mirin, any of the rice cooking wines as well
- umeboshi

I've yet to try the jellies of any sort. I saw a box of jellies the other day in there, egg custard flavored but am scared to try them. Not sure how they will taste.. Any thoughts?

annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

Natto!

I can never find umeboshi, excpet at Whole Foods, where they're ridiculously expensive. I keep meaning to order some but never quite get around to it.

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Japanese Groceries :)

I am shocked...shocked..! some of you like natto. :o I guess I underestimated you all!

(I also agree about Pocky and similar chocolate-cookie type snacks being very overrated. I'll have to make a list of Japanese snacks I do like someday, though I have a few posts up about ones I like on Just Hungry: kakipea, Meiji Chelsea candy (though this one I like as much for the package design as the taste). Also 100 Japanese Foods To Try.)

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UnicornChow
Bento-ing from: St. Louis › Missouri › USA
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 36 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)
momo12mtv wrote:

I have no Japanese groccery stores from where i live.
It's very hard to even find one. :( If I found one, I would be in heaven!!!

Same here. I know of one that is about 30-40 minutes away, but I'll admit, when I went there the first time it was so...scary looking, I didn't even go in. I haven't been back, but I guess I should get over it and give it a try.

I do like Pocky, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite snack. I have some "instant" miso soup packets that I got online and I really like those.

Eleven Clovers
Bento-ing from: Warsaw › Poland
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 34 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

__xrachel: Pho is a Vietnamese noodle-soup dish (hee, from my country!). It's actually pretty good, generally eaten with either beef or chicken (or both :P), a bunch of herbs and onion, chilli sauce and lime juice. Oh and fried batter sticks, which I don't particularly like. It's usually referred to as 'morning noodles', though my mother used to make it for the whole family for sunday lunch when I was younger (she doesn't really bother anymore, since there are only 2 of us now). I wouldn't say pho is much of a ramen substitute, since there is a pretty big difference imo between noodles made of rice flour and wheat flour. Besides, when eating pho, the stuff you add to it is pretty specific, you don't tend to add any random toppings you like to it (don't know why actually), so it's not very flexible to use.

I have never tried natto or dorayaki but I would really like to, both sound really interesting ^_^ I do agree about Pocky being overrated, but I like nevertheless, especially the blueberry ones XD

Japanese groceries... well there is a small chain of stores around here called 'Kuchnie Swiata' (World Cuisine) and they sell some basic Japanese groceries, however they are murderously expensive and I think I only ever bought one item in there (Pop Tarts, haha). My father owns an 'Asian House' shop, and supposedly carries one of the best selections of asian foods around here, so occasionally I pinch some stuff off him. It's pretty decent however he doesn't have any furikake or katsuobushi (>.< I need to talk to him about that) or any miso, and the only Japanese snack available is wasabi peas. There's other stuff I wish he had too, but I can't list it off the top of my head. I do however rummage around all the shelves every time I come to the store for any new finds. Even if I do though, I can't pinch too much off him, because my mother has a pride issue and likes to show him that we don't need his help, so I have to pay, and his prices are murderously expensive too! Geez, he could at least give his own daughter a discount. *grumbles*

I get my furikake and Pocky when I go back to Vietnam :P

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"A common way to tell if it is well cooked is to throw the sausage onto a hard surface; if it bounces, the sausage is good."

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annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Japanese Groceries :)

We shocked Maki! Natto, Maki! (Hahaha, I punned.)

I almost bought a box of Chelsea butterscotch the other day, but I passed. I don't eat much candy. The packaging really is adorable, though.

I forgot to mention:
Nori Maki Arare (rice crackers wrapped in nori)
Individual packets of crispy nori snacks

And I know this is Thai, not Japanese, but I can't live without sweet chili sauce (like the Mae Ploy brand).

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