Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you live?

(The survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who responded - your comments were and are truly useful to my project!)

In connection with a project I’m working on at the moment, I’d like to take a short 5-question survey of Just Bento and Just Hungry readers.

I assume you are here because you have at least some interest in Japanese food and cooking. My questions are as follows.

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

By ‘extraordinary’, I mean things like:

  • Ordering food by mail order. I know ordering ‘gourmet’ or special food by mail is not quite extraordinary, but in my mind ordering everyday food items by mail is a bit much.
  • Asking friends or family to send/bring stuff from Japan.
  • Going way out of your way, or traveling a long distance, to get to stores that carry Japanese foodstuffs.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Regular (non-Asian) supermarket? Asian market? Health food/natural food store? Somewhere else?

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?

For instance, where I am now (southern France) I’ve seen that things like soy sauce, nori, sushi rice, rice vinegar etc. are available at regular supermarkets. Fresh fish is a problem, though I did find a small fishmonger that has really fresh fish. What can you (and do you) get easily locally?

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

And, finally…

5. Where do you live?

Please tell me your location (city/country - I don’t need your exact address ^_^), so I can get a good idea of what is available where and so on.

So, to repeat, here are the five questions:

  1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
  2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
  3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
  4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
  5. Where are you located?

Thank you so much! Your answers will be very helpful to me.

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And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Rather hard, I have resorted to mail order a couple of times but I have to pay a stupid amount on postage so it's just not worth it.. being a student I also can't afford it

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

I'd call it 'local' as some would call the island here local compared to living in a city.. There's a little Asian food store called 'Eastern Delights' that has some things like special noodles and rice, soy sauce, tinned asian vegetables and things.. nothing too fresh though.. some miso. I do have to get a bus to get there but I think it's local.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Lots of fish, being on an island does have its advantages. Vegetables like daikon and such are just horrible to find.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Definately. I have a book on bento boxes and I've only been able to make one thing properly :( things just aren't the same if you dont use the right ingredients

5. Where are you located?

Jersey in the Channel Islands.. inbetween France and England ^^

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Very difficult. I have ordered several ingredients online (like bonito flakes and dried wakame).

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Not really. Usually just sushi-making ingredients.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
I can get Chinese and Korean ingredients easily and locally, and some of these can be substituted for Japanese ingredients. I can find soy sauce, rice vinegar, tofu, and panko breadcrumbs in the regular supermarket. The International supermarket has Japanese curry, nori, and snacks like pocky and green tea cookies. I would *love* to find mochi, kamaboko, and tofu skins.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Yes. Often.

5. Where are you located?
Louisville, KY, USA.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Relatively easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Yes, from a wonderful Japanese/asian supermarket in the suburbs (but I don't own a car so I seldom go here) or a smaller Japanese market quite near my work.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
I can get about 90% of the ingredients in my Japanese cookbooks written for non-Japanese users (e.g. Washoku) at the above-mentioned markets. I would say that the hardest issue is produce - I still can't find many of these items (such as butterbur, myoga, negi, rape blossoms, wax gourd, fresh yuzu, bracken, etc.) that I find in my translated Japanese cookbooks (e.g. Japanese Homestyle Cooking/Tokiko Suzuki). Dry pantry items are not really a problem. I don't cook a lot of meat or seafood but I think seafood/fish might be a bit of a challenge if that were a priority. I can count on any supermarket I go to to have the basics (shoyu, nori, seasoned/unseasoned rice wine vinegar, sushi rice, udon, soba, etc.).

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
It is an additional barrier to trying out fish/seafood dishes (which intimidate me anyway) so I pretty much skip these. (Like, ark shells? saury? corbicula? cuttlefish? Yikes!) Also if I am lacking an herb or vegetable that I have never had, I feel uncertain about what I can substitute, or if it's OK to leave it out. But generally I can cook most recipes.

5. Where are you located?
Portland, OR (USA)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

>Very easy, I have several asain markets in my metro area.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

> Absolutely! It just takes anywhere from a 10-20min drive to one of the many local asian markets

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

>A Lot! Like basics plus more, such as soy sauce, mirin, tonkatsu, ponzu, rice vinegar, furikake, several sake varieties, rice sheets, soy paper, nori, rice, sushi grade tuna, masago roe(my favorite), several types of sesame oils, fresh and canned quail eggs, kamaboku, plus a lot more that i cant think of right now.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

>No not really.

5. Where are you located?

>Van Nuys, California USA

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. Very easy (see # 5)
2. Yes definitely. At the local supermarket, co-op, local specialty businesses (such as natto companies) or farmer's markets.
3. Most, although some items are harder to come by than others (Goya, ゴーヤー, I haven't seen).
4. Not at all. I often take recipes directly from Japanese cookbooks.
5. San Francisco

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

I travel about 40 miles to get Japanese ingredients

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Asian supermarket (Mitsuwa). Some Japanese vegetables at Whole Foods

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
Everything you've listed below. Daikon, Burdock Root (?), Bok Choy, Mirin, Fish Sauce, Seawood Wraps, Rice Crackers, Edamame, Miso, Fish cakes, tofu

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Nope. I tend not to follow recipes very closely anyway. If I'm missing an ingredient, I improvise.

And, finally…
5. Where do you live?
Chicago, Illinois, USA

I live in Japanese ingredient heaven

1. It's very easy to get ingredients.

2. I can get ingredients at local Japanese stores, Asian stores, Whole Foods (fewer ingredients), and some prepackaged items at groceries. Some Japanese vegetables can also be found at the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market.

3. I can get ordinary ingredients easily and locally.

4. I'm deterred from trying some recipes, but only for obscure ingredients. Okinawan food, for instance.

5. Sunnyvale, California

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

I can get a few ingredients at the regular grocery store and most others at one of four Asian markets in the neighbouring Champaign/Urbana. There is a large international population in the area due to the University of Illinois, so finding all manner of groceries isn't too difficult if you know where to look and are adventurous.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
At my local grocer I can get things like soy sauce, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, ramen and teriyaki sauces, etc. One chain store has very fresh fish, often carrying sushi-grade tuna. In nearby Champaign/Urbana there are 4 International/Asian grocery stores (at least), with two of them offering fresh vegetables and fruit..

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
I can get all manor of fresh vegetables and fruit at the International/Asian grocery stores. One of them has a very good selection of frozen fish, local made tofu & kim chee as well as several pickled seaweed salads (Yummo!!!!). The only problem I have in finding some ingredients, is tracking them down in a store where the packages may have Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese labels calling the ingredients by some other name. For example, I haven't been able to find the tiny shrimp or fish used in several dishes that I want to try. I think I may have found the dried fish but there are SO MANY items in the store and I have not yet spotted the dried shrimp. I ask, but no luck so far. I shall persevere! ^_^ They have, soft drinks, canned coffees, bubble tea (one of my favourites!), Japanese rice, laver (nori), mirin, soy sauce, all types of vinegars, sauces (Japanese brands of mayonnaise and all manner of noodle sauces)… the list goes on and on… so many things… even some kitchen items like steamers, woks, scrub pads, tea & sake sets, hashi and even many types of fine sake. I CAN NOT find real mirin wine, though. I have found a couple of different "cooking" mirin that are not too bad but no one around here seems to realize that mirin is like any other cooking wine - if you wouldn't drink it straight, don't cook with it. Several large chain grocery stores carry the large staples with a couple of them carrying a moderate selection of fresh Asian vegetables.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
I am rarely detered… If I don't have an ingredient, I can figure out how to use a local ingredient for substitution.

5. Where do you live?
I live in Rantoul, Illinois USA

Aloha! Laurel

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
It's quite easy since there is a nice Japanese store 10 minutes away from where I live. It's a small place but I have always found what I needed until now. The produce section is limited though.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
I buy most of the Japanese ingredients I need from that Japanese market I mention above or from a Korean market that is conveniently located right next to the train station and that has started to carry more and more Japanese products.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Pretty much all the basics are found very easily. The produce I buy mostly from a Chinese/Asian store where the selection is much wider.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
No, I often change the recipe a bit or replace some ingredients anyway.

5. Where are you located?
Zürich, Switzerland

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

It really depends. I can get more standard things, particularly all things sushi related, quite easily. For more specific Japanese items that are not sushi related there are few options. I live just outside of Oslo and I travel to Oslo daily for work. Oslo, to my knowledge, has one Japanese store, Japan Torget. It's tiny and amazingly expensive. I have shopped there a couple of times for things I can't find elsewhere, such as shichimi togarachi. Otherwise I just don't feel I can justify buying things there. No bento boxes.

Plain, sushi related stuff and more general Asian food are readily available in other Asian markets.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Oslo has some excellent Asian markets where I buy nori, edamame, gari, Japanese rice and such things. I particularly would like to promote "A Food Market", at the corner of Osterhaus Gate and Calmeyers Gate in downtown Oslo, which I believe is run by Vietnamese. Or they may be Thai, I'm not quite sure. They have a "Japanese shelf", with Golden Curry and Sushi stuff, and Nishiki rice. They also have a good veggie section and frozen foods, even with ready made frozen sushi fish (al chopped up and ready to make nigiri sushi). I ADORE this store. It's quite new and really amazing. I find it's the best Asian market. There is also a good one called T&T around the corner in Torggata. T&T also has a "sushi corner", in the back left section, with various Japanese items.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
As I said, all sushi related things and general Asian ingredients are readily available.

Norway has great fish, particularly salmon. According to my mother, who has travelled quite a bit in Japan, the salmon is better here than there... (Although she admits all the other fish was better in Japan...)

More "exotic" Japanese items are not generally available. I have seen Kabocha squash at Japan Torget, but it is so prohibitively expensive I haven't bought it. Even dashi is very very hard to find, I can only find powder. And no bonito flakes, i don't think.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Yes.

5. Where do you live?
Oslo, Norway.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
By ‘extraordinary’, I mean things like:

I can get some things locally, mirin, sushi rice, nori, soy sauce, tofu. Some at my local supermarket and some at an Asian supermarket. Fresh fish is very hard, even though I live on an island we dont eat fish so much, very few fish shops and none where I live so that is hard. Great salmon to be had so I tend to use that a lot, other types not so much and Tuna is crazy expensive €8 for a small serving for two.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
See above, no fish but most other things I need.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Sometimes but I usually improvise, indian ingrediants (which I use a lot)are much easier to get but in some cases I cant get the right things for those recipies either so I have learnt to improvise over the years.

5. Where do you live?
Dublin, Ireland. Land of bad fish.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Pretty easy. The few things I can't get are mitsuba, gobo (I grew some once, but couldn't pull it out of the garden) and freeze dried tofu.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
I live two minutes walk from a Korean food shop, and very close to two regular supermarkets that stock quite a few Japanese ingredients. If I drive into the city, or across the other side (only 25 minutes or so) I can get pretty much everything.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Soy sauce, tofu (except freeze dried) daikon, renkon, dashi, katsuobushi, wakame, miso.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Nope, I'll substitute with something similar.

5. Where are you located?

Wellington, New Zealand.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

I'm really lucky because I live pretty close to a sushi-bar/Japanese food store. I can get a lot at the supermarket as well, but some more specialised things, like ume, are not available around my area.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Regular (non-Asian) supermarket? Asian market? Health food/natural food store? Somewhere else?

Regular supermarkets are more oriented towards Indonesian and Chinese food. Some have a small "Asian section" that has more Indian and Japanese things, but there's usually not much choice. The oriental food shops around here carry more choice, but not always Japanese. The Dutch colonialism left strong ties with Indonesia and Surinam, so most things are from there.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?

Fresh fish! I have a really good fishmonger around the corner, and the supermarket has good stocks as well. Veggies are no problem either, I really love bimi, and there's a chain that sells it here.
That's about it for the Japanese stuff though. My bentos are not that Japan oriented really, they're more "things I like chucked in a box"...

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Nope! Either I go looking for it, or try to find an alternative. Or go find a similar recipe with other ingredients. I have to add that my entire collection of Japanese recipe books consists of 1 book on sushi at the moment. So I tend to just make the suhi I can get everything for...

And, finally…
5. Where do you live?

I live in Hoogkarspel in Holland. I live about 35 miles from Amsterdam (which for most non-Dutch is the only city they know ;) ).

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Fairly easy. Instead of a 20 min drive to the supermarket of my choice I drive 40 minutes and have 2 very large Japanese Markets available (Mitsuwa and Nijiya Market Place) as well as a Chinese/Asian one (Ranch 99).

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Yes. My local organic grocery store Frazier Farms has a fairly well stocked section. They have 5 different types of seaweed as well as Katsuobushi and other little things.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Since the 40 min drive is no deterrent to me I can get everything very easy including produce!

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Never.

5. Where are you located?

Vista, California, (which is in North County San Diego, California)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Easy as there are thousands of international students here, especially Asian students.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
My local supermarket/s and there are about four asian grocers within walking distance.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
I don't each much imported stuff as I need to read the ingrediants list, but I can get kewpie mayo, noodles, nori, wasabi, miso, cooking sake, sushi rice, glutinous rice all in my normal supermarket. The asian grocers have things like daifuku and mochi, green tea ice cream etc and a thousand other things I haven't had a chance to look at closely yet.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
No, my natural wimpiness does that instead.

5. Where are you located?
Melbourne, Australia.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Answer> Very. There is an Asian grocery chain where I live called Super H Mart. Atlanta is also home to a number of ethnic markets.
2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Answer> See 1.
3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Answer> Fresh produce, imported fish, all manner of dry goods -- I've yet to not find something.
4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Answer> I am still learning how to cook Japanese dishes, but so far new recipes only encourage me to go to the store more often.
5. Where are you located?
Answer> Lawrenceville, GA (metro Atlanta area)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1) Fairly easy. I can find basic ingredients (rice, sauces, some vegetables) in my local food store and the Asian market carries the rest plus lots of goodies.
2)Yes, I can find local ingredients and buy local when I can.
3)I can get from fresh daikon to frozen fish and flour. Even personal care products from asia can be found in my local market.
4)No, if an ingredient is not available, I improvise.
5) Austin, Texas

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

I can get basics at my local grocery store. For more specialty items I have to travel to other parts of the city.

Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Like many others I can get the basics: sticky rice, nori, rice vinegar, miso soup. I don't have an Asian market near by as my neighborhood features Jewish, central American, Italian and Jamaican minorities. There are some very good areas of the city to pick up Asian foods of all types. I try to keep a list of what I'd like to try and pick them up when I'm in that part of the city or when I feel like a bit of an adventure.

Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

A little. Even if I know what I want they are rarely labled in English when I go to the store and I'm a bit shy about asking for help.

Where are you located?

Toronto/Canada

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Rather easy for me. We have some Japanese marts, and our supermarkets do sell some Japanese ingredients.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
There is 1 supermarket that has a really wide range of Japanese ingredients and snacks constantly, with the other 2 supermarkets having just some. Some are also available at DAISO outlets (Japanese $2 store), and a small handful of Japanese marts. These are found in the many malls we have here.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Common ones are udon, japanese rice and miso. In the aforementioned 1 supermarket, many varieties of furikake, sauces, sweet beancurd skins, dried noodles (soba, somen, ramen) and vacuum-sealed ones. Supermarkets that boast a sushi section have tamago, unagi and seafood and fish that are sashimi quality. Yep, I'm lucky! :D

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Yes, it does. I really want to make my own cold soba noodles, but I can't find the sauce easily. So far, haven't found it yet.

5. Where are you located?
Singapore!

Hope this helps! I love your website, and am new to bento-making. I made my fourth bento just last night, and happy with the results!

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
It's pretty easy for me, I only have to go to a japanese market, nothing fancy. I can find simple things like kare ko, nori, noodles, sushi rice, etc. at Walmart stores though.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Yes, my two options are: japanese markets where I get everything I need for japanese food, and chinese markets where I can get asian food in general and some cheaper japanese ingredients of korean/chinese brands.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
I cant get most vegetables, fish and packed things you'd normally need. They even have a section for japanese candy and snacks, and another for cooking instruments including rice cookers, hot water pots and dishes in general.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not really, the only thing I can complain about is the prices because compared to local food, the imported goods can go as much as double the price.

5. Where are you located?
Mexico City, Mexico

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Relatively easy

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Yes, most of them. I live in a university town with a lot of Asian students, so there are many Asian shops and our city centre supermarket has an astonishingly good international section. And I grow wasabi in my back yard!

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Most things except strange vegetables. New Zealand has very strict quarantine regulations so importing vegetables can be a problem, although more growers are branching out into exotic ones.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

No, not unless I can't figure out what a thing resembles. For instance I made okonomiyaki the other day and had to use taro instead of that other slimy stuff whose name escapes me at present. Recipe books that don't give you either possible substitutions or some sort of description so you can decide what might be a good substitution are annoying.

5. Where are you located?

New Zealand. One of the major cities though; most smaller places wouldn't have as good a supply.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Actually pretty easy if it's normal ingredients you're looking for. I live in a city with a large asian population and there's an asian (mostly Chinese) supermarket around every second corner. They all sell basically the same stuff though ^^ But the price and quality may differ. I have never found Bulldog Chuno sauce anywhere yet, though... Not even Amazon Germany sells it o.o
2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Some are even available in large supermarkets (though those are way too expensive and not necessarily of high quality :( ). I usually go to Asian Supermarkets. Or I simply replace some things, mostly the basics like sushi rice for which I always use milk rice bacause it's also a round grained kind. Works great and is a lot cheaper! :)
3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Nori, Miso, Wasabi, Dashi, Kombu, Wakame, Curry blocks, some sweets, soy sauce, other kinds of sauces (oyster etc), mirin...... basics.
4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
No. I simply replace things I don't get. For the first try I usually use everything that's required in the original and then go look for something to replace it, but tastes the same (I almost never use mirin just because it's so expensive...). Or I ask around in the internet if someone knows what to use :) But I guess I'm just lucky because I usually get everything nearby even without mailordering.
5. Where are you located?
Erlangen, Bavaria, South of Germany

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Very easy. There are three different Asian food stores in my town, and I get get the vast majority of ingredients that I want, but the stores are a mix of different kinds of Asian, so a few Japanese things I haven't been able to find.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
See 1.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
Miso, pickles, frozen dumplings and buns, inari skins, dried noodles, Pocky. I probably couldn't find kanten or large bonito flakes for dashi from scratch.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Only once in a while.

5. Where do you live?
Rochester, New York, USA

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

very easy

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

yup...Super H for stocking up/specialized ing....most basics available at Giant, Safeway, and Harris Teeter

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

yet to find something I couldn't get

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

no, see above

5. Where are you located?

right outside of Washington DC

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

very easy, thankfully!

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Mitsuwa Supermarket, Tensuke Market, Super H-Mart

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Pretty much everything since the markets listed cater exclusively to the Japanese population (H-Mart = Korean) in the Northwest Chicago burbs. Not the intense selection you'd find in Japan but good representation of cooking oils, vinegars, seasoning, etc. Good enough.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Not an issue fortunately.

5. Where are you located?

Chicago area (10 min drive to Mitsuwa)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Very easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Yes. Japanese stores at 20 min by tube, Asian stores in my neighbourhood.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

most non-Asian supermarkets have some japanese ingredients such as soy sauce, nori. But as I can easily reach asian or even japanese-only stores, I tend to buy japanese ingredients there instead of supermarkets.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

It depends on how much I want to try the recipe and how essential the ingredient is. But generally speaking, no it doesn't, I can find most ingredients easily enough, just have to wait for a free saturday

5. Where are you located?

Paris, France (19th: many chinese or vietnamese run stores)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

If I knew what to call them in Korean I could probably get everything. Alas, no clue what I'm looking at when I go to the Korean grocery markets.

Heather
South Korea

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Quite easy to obtain most ingredients at nearby asian grocery stores and specialist (small) Korean and Japanese grocery stores. Some fresh produce items not available

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
some ingredients (sushi rice, nori, curry mix, kewipe mayo, bulldog sauce) available a local supermarket, other ingredients available at Asian grocery stores and growing number of Korean grocery stores in my neighbourhood (to cater fro growing Korean population in my city). It is not always possible to obtain all fruits and vegetables used in Japanese cooking

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Most basics, or suitable substitutes available easily and locally

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
no, it is usually possible to find something suitable as a substitute

5. Where are you located?
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Kyla

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1.How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures? VERY EASY
2.Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where? YES, SAN DIEGO, CA, USA
3.What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally? VIRTUALLY ANYTHING
4.Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe? NOT AT ALL
5.Where are you located? POWAY, CA, USA

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
The staples are relatively easy enough to get (shoyu, miso, dashi, mirin, sake, etc...) and are affordable too. However, things like pickles, inari skins, unagi, tarako are rather hard to locate and i often find myself stocking up on these items when i do go down to London (4 hour journey!)

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Pretty much, as long as i'm not cooking up anything elaborate. The chinese supermarket stocks a small selection of japanese ingredients and loads of chinese ingredients which are similar enough to use as well (dried shiitake).

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
The staples i find myself using alot are easy enough to obtain, but more 'exotic' ingredients like gobou and the like are impossible to find. The meat and fish are relatively fresh (but none that i would risk making sashimi with) as well. But otherwise, fresh (and dried) vegetables and fruits are absolutely no problem.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not at all. Unless of course the main ingredient is absolutely too far out of reach (like unagi).

5. Where do you live?
Merseyside, UK

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
anything above rice & soy sauce, is virtually impsssible to get with out a 2 hour drive or mail order.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
at the local super market I can get some ingredients, I dont know how great they are. th elast box of nori I picked up had dust on it.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Rice, soy sauce, nori, wasabi, prepackaged sauces, kimchi, pickled ginger, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots (canned & gross),

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Yes, most of this stuff I have no idea how it is supposed to taste, so I dont want to substitute a bunch of stuff & have it be really yucky.

5. Where are you located? Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. I live near Markham, Ontario, which may not be the biggest Asian community outside of Asia, but is probably one of the most concentrated. I'd say probably around 90% of the community is Asian, so there are quite a few Asian malls and piles of Asian grocers tucked in every which where. It means I have to requisition a car to actually drive over to the various malls and bento shops to pick up the rarer items, but for food, it's pretty easy to find. Two of the biggest ones are on my way home from work! Actually, now that I've changed my route a little bit I could pretty much pick up everything (even the rare stuff) on the way home without going out of my way by 500m.

2. Asian supermarket! The more ordinary stuff I can find in a regular supermarket as well.

3. Soy sauce, nori, sushi rice, rice vinegar etc I can find at the regular nearby supermarket, same as you. I've found everything I needed to make sushi. I can also find some thai curries, some Udon and other noodles at some local grocery stores. My local grocer does make fresh fish available, but I've never tried to use raw fish in anything.

4. My laziness deters trying a new recipe more than an inability to find ingredients! I've always been able to find them.

5. I live in Maple, Ontario, Canada. Surprisingly, when I lived in Kingston, Ontario, it was easier to find Asian food at non-Asian supermarkets.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Very easy. At least 4 Asian supermarkets and 2 specifically Japanese ones within 10 to 15 minutes from my home.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Yes, there's a Mitsuwa and Marukai, which are large supermarkets, and a small family run store, Imahara Produce & Oriental Foods. They've been here for maybe 40 years so that's probably why they have "oriental" in the name which isn't so PC anymore. They have the biggest selection of Japanese candy and snacks around here. And before the larger stores opened, one of the few places to get Japanese produce. I hope the new stores don't run them out though.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Pretty much anything I've looked for so far. The Asian markets have most of the same produce that the Japanese ones do, but it's a little less expensive.
But for specialty produce like shiso the Japanese market is better. The only thing I haven't seen is un-shaved bonito in blocks, but haven't really looked for it.

Being close to the ocean, there is a great selection of fresh fish, but you have to be careful, a lot is farm-raised in China and other countries that aren't very regulated. I'm not a big fan of farm-raised fish as it's done now. It's actually pretty bad for the environment and the fish itself isn't that tasty. There are exceptions, but they are hard to find.
Wild caught also has problems, over fishing, mercury and such, so even though there's a lot of fish available it's a tough to decide what to choose. I love fish, but because of those reasons I don't eat it as much as I'd like to.

One of the larger Japanese supermarkets has a small 'store in a store' in the back that sells all kinds of handmade Japanese pickles. It's staffed by a very sweet older Japanese lady. I haven't been brave enough to try those yet, mostly because I have no idea what to ask for, or what I'd like. I tried some umeboshi once and didn't really like it. Maybe I'll order some pickles in a restaurant and see what I like and ask them what they're called.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not really.
The only problem I have is sometimes the labels on imported ingredients are only in Japanese.
Luckily the USA has the label law and the ingredients and nutrition info has to be printed in English on all foods now, usually pasted onto the regular package before shipping,. So I read that, although they are sometimes so tiny, that I need my strongest reading glasses, lol!
I'm trying to learn some Japanese so I can read the labels better. I've gotten through most of hiragana and am working on katakana and a bit of kanji. I was so surprised the last time I went to Sushi Kuni, I realized I could read a lot of the specials on the daily chalk menu. Don't know if I'll ever be able to converse at all, learning it at my advanced age, but I'll be happy if I can read the labels and menus.

5. Where are you located?
Cupertino, California. Which is 40 miles south of San Fransisco, and 20 miles north of San Jose.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

I just wanted to say that while I'm kind of an internet hermit and I've never commented before, I love both of your websites!

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
I live just a few blocks from a large Asian market, so while they don't have everything, there are certain ingredients that are very easy for me to find.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
There are some that I can get readily. Things like Calrose rice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and other basics are easy to find at any grocery store. Other things that are less common in American cooking can be found at many of the Asian markets around town (we have a lot, though I don't think any of them are Japanese-owned), and we also have the 17th Street Farmer's Market which carries a lot of international ingredients.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Generally it's easiest to find dry and bottled/canned goods--calrose rice, azuki beans, rice vinegar, seasonings and spices; it's also easy to find all manner of soft drinks and snacks. Fresh or refrigerated ingredients vary; there are some things I've found and some I haven't.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Sometimes. If I don't have any Mirin or can't find any, I'll add sugar to rice wine vinegar and use that. Many things have acceptable substitutes. However there are some recipes that I haven't tried because the ingredient I want is key. (I really want to try tonnyu nabe, but none of the Japanese restaurants around here serve any kinds of nabe and I certainly haven't found tonnyu in any store.)

5. Where are you located?
Tucson, Arizona. I live in the west-central part of town.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Very easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Regular (non-Asian) supermarket? Asian market? Health food/natural food store? Somewhere else?

I live in London, so it's the Japan Centre for specialist ingredients and Chinatown supermarkets for cheap tofu, miso soup, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, etc etc.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?

Almost every supermarket round here (apart from the dinky ones) will stock soy sauce, seaweed sheets, sushi rice, miso soup, and the Tesco on my corner also does things like mirin, sushi vinegar, udon noodles, etc.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

No! If it's something I don't have in stock and I really really want to make it, I just substitute a local ingredient.

5. Where do you live?

London, England.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

It's quite easy though a bit expensive.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

In my city - in at least two supermarkets with offers on a "high level" - that is with exotic & gourmet food that is absent in other supermarkets.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Rice, nori, various sauces, wasabi, rice paper, pickled ginger, rice vinegar, miso, sesame oil, some veggies (a few days ago I found very cheap azuki beans), different soy-stuff and noodles. Also - some fish.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Sometimes. For some products I'm aware of their texture or taste and how can I replace them, but if something is totally new for me - I'll wait until I'll get proper ingredients in my hands.

5. Where are you located?

Słupsk, Poland (almost by the sea)

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
I head down to my local asian grocery store, Kimphat, and short of not being able to read half of what is written on the packages, I can usually find the majority of ingredients I am looking for, especially since they expanded last year.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Some of the more popular ingredients, such as Kalrose sushi rice, nori, rice vinegar, soya, miso, etc., are available at every grocery store you walk into. I think the only place I haven't seen them on the shelves is at Walmart(!). For the more interesting ingredients, I go to Kimphat, the asian grocery store chain, or to the local fruit and vegetable market, which carries alot of asian produce. I lived in a suburb of Montreal which has an extremely high percent asian population, so the grocery stores cater to their needs.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
Fresh fish is available at the asian grocery store Kimphat, as well as grocery stores (thought with less choice), and fish mongers in the area. Fruits and veggies are found in abundance at Marche Vittoria(a fruit&vegetable market, catering to a primarily asian community), Fruterie 440(fruit&vegetable stores found in several locations) and Kimphat. Dry goods are found in abundance at Kimphat. You name it, I can probably find it there.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not usually - what deters me is the ease (or difficulty, rather)of preparation. I have been able to find any ingredient I have needed in the Japanese recipes I have attempted thus far.

5. Where do you live?
I live in Saint-Constant, on the South Shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and most of the place I have mentioned are within a 15 minute drive from my house(mainly in Brossard). I also have access to all the grocers located in Montreal's Chinatown, which caters to an even greater asian community, thought the trip to get there is much more elaborate than I'd like to make for groceries.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. Very easy.

2. There are two Japanese/ Korean groceries within a ten minute drive, but with limited produce. At Whole Foods Market I can get some produce and a basic array of over-priced non perishables. Stop & Shop (local chain) carries non perishable items in limited variety and qty.

3. I have been able to get everything needed to make the recipes on this website and in my Japanese cookbook Simple and Delicious Japanese Cooking by Keiko Hayashi. Sometimes I am unable to find lotus, but I have never had to substitute. I can even get shiso seeds at one of the markets.

4. No. But for some reason I resisted making and using dashi. I don't know why. I use it all the time now.

5. Providence, RI, USA.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Very easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Supermarket carries the basics. We have quite a few asian markets and one very large Japanese market, and they seem to carry anything I've ever needed. the only thing we seem to lack is good fresh fish.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
I can get nori, sushi rice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso soup, dry udon noodles, and novelty items (pocky and the like) at the supermarket. At Tensuke Market I can get soooo many things: a fresh produce section with daikon, shiso leaves, gobo, mikan; dry goods like rice, kinako, mochiko, agar; a refridgerated section with things like umeboshi, a ton of different types of miso paste, fish sausage, tamago; a gigantic set of freezers with a million kinds of fish, beef, frozen buns and dumplings, oden ingredients; a section of bottled sauces, mirin, sake, dressings; and several isles of sweets and snacks. They also carry cooking implements that would otherwise be difficult to find.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not at all, I'm generally comfortable with making recipe substitutions.

5. Where do you live?
Columbus, Ohio, US

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Very easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?
Supermarket carries the basics. We have quite a few asian markets and one very large Japanese market, and they seem to carry anything I've ever needed. the only thing we seem to lack is good fresh fish.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?
I can get nori, sushi rice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso soup, dry udon noodles, and novelty items (pocky and the like) at the supermarket. At Tensuke Market I can get soooo many things: a fresh produce section with daikon, shiso leaves, gobo, mikan; dry goods like rice, kinako, mochiko, agar; a refridgerated section with things like umeboshi, a ton of different types of miso paste, fish sausage, tamago; a gigantic set of freezers with a million kinds of fish, beef, frozen buns and dumplings, oden ingredients; a section of bottled sauces, mirin, sake, dressings; and several isles of sweets and snacks. They also carry cooking implements that would otherwise be difficult to find.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?
Not at all, I'm generally comfortable with making recipe substitutions.

5. Where do you live?
Columbus, Ohio, US

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. Fairly easy

2. Regular and Asian supermarkets. Health food/natural food stores. There's also a sushi restaurant here that sells Japanese specialities: Kizami wasabi, 10 year old rice vinegar, sesame oil, rice, sake's... I'm sure if you contact them, they'll send you detailed list of things they offer (www.kouzi.be). Their su-meshi is a dream! Best I've ever had.

3. All the things you've listed plus fresh fish, white, red and black miso paste, sake's, wakame, noodles: udon, ramen, somen, soba (green tea, buckwheat), pickled vegetables, edamame, different tea's, kombu, umeboshi, even konnyaku. Also Japanese pottery and utensils.

4. Sometimes, but a lot of Japanese ingredients can be substituted or in some cases even be self-made. Still... shiso leaf is hard to get here. And chuka wakame I only found as ingredient of a pre-fab salad, not as an' ingredient'. No Japanese cucumber here. No kamaboko, no (dried) cod roe (bottarga), ... . Although commonly available in the past, it's become difficult to get katsuo and the like. At least for 'non-professional' people. I'm sure restaurants have their retailers and can get pretty much everything.

5. Antwerp/Belgium. There's an important Chinese and Thai community in Antwerp, hence the large supply in Asian goods. There's still some demand for Japanese products I find.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

I live about 10 minutes away from the Edgewater, NJ Mitsuwa.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

In addition to Mitsuwa, there are a few other local Asian food marts that stock Japanese ingredients. Not to mention, the county I live in has a lot of little towns that are predominantly Asian, too.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Almost everything. Basically, if my family can't find a certain ingredient in our local Asian supermarket, we'll go to Mitsuwa and get it there, instead.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

I personally haven't really tried very many Japanese recipes, so I can't really say.

5. Where are you located?

Paramus, New Jersey

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?
Fairly Easy
2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where? I can get most things locally. My local grocery store carries things like nori, soy sauce, and tofu, the fairly common stuff. There are two really good asian grocery stores nearby called Sagaya. They have most of the unusual things but not all and not always. I haven't been able to find freeze dried tofu or uemboshi but maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. It's really hard to find unusual produce here and it's really expensive when you do find it. It's also sometimes hard to find greens like kale in good condition because by the time it gets here it's looking pretty wilted.
3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?
Nori, tofu, rice, noodles, seasonings, canned vegetables, dried shitakes, dried seaweed. We have fantastic fresh fish!
4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe? Usually I try to substitute ingredients or just use what I have. For example, in your green vegan mediterranean burgers, I can't find most of the greens that you mentioned to use so I just use a whole lot of parsley and kale, which I can get fairly easily. Often I won't make a recipe if it looks like I'll have a hard time finding ingredients.
5. Where are you located?
Anchorage, Alaska

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. Pretty easy, actually. There are many Asian groceries that sell Japanese ingredients. (Mostly they sell Korean and Chinese the most. Chatswood has the most Japanese stuff of places I've been, as it has a very high Japanese population.)

2. Yes. Again, it was easier when I lived near Chatswood, but now it's just a short train ride to the Asian grocery store (and a slightly longer one to get to a major Asian center).

3. Tofu, soy sauce, sushi rice, rice vinegar, mirin and (sometimes) nori can be gotten from the grocery store, but at quite a premium. The Asian groceries have more convenience foods (like prepackaged curry and mabo dofu and such), and some have the more unusual fresh ingredients (like lotus root).

4. Not really. Mostly just laziness!

5. Sydney, Australia

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

1. It is medium easy for me to find ingredients. At my local markets (where I shop on a daily basis) I can find a good selection of basic items. Whole Foods has the best selection. They carry shirataki noodles and kombu, umeboshi, basic furikaki, several type of miso and soba. However, if I want other ingredients such as spices, sauces, vegetables and fruits, pickled items, specific grains, beans, cuts of meat, preserved or frozen items I have to go to a specialty store... and those are prohibitively far away. (45 minutes to 1 hour -- depending on trafic) Those are: Assi Market (Korean) or Maido (Japanese). I usually go to Assi, because it is less expensive and they have a huge selection of a variety of asian foods. But I have found that the quality of the food at Maido is better, and the Japanese woman who runs it is very nice and helpful.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

2. See above.

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

3. In my area, to get items other than those I mentioned at whole foods (in aswer to question #1) I have to drive at least 45 minutes to Assi Market -- which has a huge selection of Japanese, korean and other Asian foods. I have been able to find most of the things I need for cooking there. But, it is a schlep -- so I tend to load up when I visit (maybe once every two months). Some of the items I buy there regularly are benishoga, Yamasa soy and teriyaki sauce, very thinly sliced pork, pickled radish, gobo, really healthy (fresh) bean sprouts (the sprouts available in my local markets are usually brownish), shiso, kobocha brown "sweet" rice, multi grain/bean mixes, baby bock choy, "chinese" chives, su choy, asian pears, fried seasoned tofu skins for making inari sushi, fried tofu and fresh undon noodles, etc.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

4. I can't find the small sweet peppers that I see in japanese cookbooks and I've never found yuzu. Good persimons can be hard to find. I usually choose recipes based on the availabillity of ingreadients. I've definintely skipped over recipes because I could not find something or didn't want to drive 45 minutes to get it. On the other hand, I was much less comfortable substituting when I first started attempting to cook Japanese food. Based on a couple of years experience, I'm more confident in my judgement now.

5. Where are you located?

Philadelphia (suburbs), Pennsylvania, USA -- I'm probably spoiled because Igrew up in the SF Bay Area, in California -- which has a MUCH larger Asian and Japanese population than here -- with a bustling Japantown in SF. I think it is all relative, really!! Very subjective.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1.very easy
2.easy to buy standard Japanese ingrediants, harder to buy regional/specialised fresh produce - Japanese grocery store or Asian grocery store.
3 - all packaged food, seasoning, noodles, sauces, frozen meats and canned and frozen vegetables are easy to get. I have never seen matsutake mushroom in Australia but shitake and enoki is easy to get, hijiki seaweed is banned so you can't get it anymore, you can get yuzu flavoured sauces but importing fruit is banned so you can't get anything with real yuzu peel in it. Some fresh vegetables are hard to find as you have to go to a specialist Asian green grocery. We don't have negi (have to use thin spring onions) and only the large chinese diakon. Fish and seafood is easy to get but sometimes I need to subsitute type. We don't have more unusal fish like mantis or sakura ebi which I have to buy dried. Now and then you can find shiso but more interesting herbs and plants like Lily blubs aren't available.
4.yes.
Where are you located? Melbourne, Australia.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

Easy, for the basics, and medium for more specialty stuff. For what we like to cook, though, it's easy.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Yes - there is a small Japanese market called Hana about a 5-10 minute walk from my apartment
building (for those of you in D.C. - I know one other person has commented already and said there wasn't anything in the city: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hana-japanese-market-washington). However, although convenient, their items are not always the cheapest; if we are able to get out to the suburbs, we go to H-Mart to get better deals on certain things (like large bottles of soy sauce or our beloved large jars of umeboshi). Regular supermarkets carry things like short-grain rice and bottled sauces. There is also a small grocery in Bethesda on the red line called Daruma grocery where I went before Hana opened that is bigger than Hana and has a wider selection, including some prepared foods to take away and a small cafe: http://www.yelp.com/biz/daruma-bethesda

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Thinking about what I can get at Hana: Condiments like soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, Bulldog sauce, Kewpie mayo, karashi; miso; vegetables like lotus root (they carry it sometimes - the manager is very helpful and tries to order things that you ask for) and daikon; rice, dried noodles, panko, bonito flakes; frozen foods like shumai and gyoza wrappers, edamame, packaged dumplings, mentaiko, chikuwa; various mixes (which I don't buy but they're available) for mapo dofu or Japanese-italian pasta preparations. Basically, Hana is a teeny tiny microcosm of a place like Uwajimaya in Seattle, without the fresh fish.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

No, because I usually just try to use substitutions. Also, the Japanese food I tend to cook does not require a lot of specialty ingredients.

5. Where are you located?

Washington, D.C., although I will be on the move in about a month.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

Sorry, didn't mean to post twice...

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

For me, it's actually pretty easy. Normal supermarkets stock stuff like Japanese curry cubes (different brands and kinds too!), Japanese mayo, sauces, etc. There's also 4 Daiso outlets in the country if the urge to spend 2 dollars hits me.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

Normal supermarkets, and if I am feeling a little more "high-end" there's a Meidi-ya in town.

3. What kinds of things can you get easily and locally?

Rice, fresh meats and seafood, fresh veg, udon noodles in a packet, japanese snacks, shiso sprinkles (right term?), seaweed, frozen fresh ramen noodles... everything one needs for a bento, in my opinion. All I need to find now are those brown buns I ate as a child. I remember the taste but not the name (not dorayaki).

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

Not really - I have everything you mentioned so far. I think my mom even has an old tamagoyaki pan somewhere... I know she has a takoyaki pan!

What deters me locally is more of a matter of weather. I worry constantly of whether it's able to keep fresh in the hot, humid weather we have year-round.

5. Where do you live?

Singapore. From my answers it's probably pretty obvious I'm from an Asian country. My mom married a Japanese AKA my dad, and thus learnt all the Japanese cooking from her mother-in-law, my grandmother, which explains the tamagoyaki and takoyaki pans. It's not that we're extravagant - those things are older than I am!

And just to let you know - I'm actually moving to America for college soon, so I think it'll be interesting to see what recipes I can cook up in a college kitchenette. I know the weather-temperature thing might be a worry for me again, but I think in the colder seasons, food spoilage is less of a worry.

Re: Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you ...

1. How easy is it for you to get Japanese ingredients without having to resort to extraordinary measures?

It's generally pretty easy to get the staples, except for fresh fish.

2. Can you get Japanese ingredients locally, and if so, where?

I can get things like nori, panko and soy sauce at the local grocery store, but there is a small Japanese grocery store downtown that carries a lot more!

3. What kinds of Japanese ingredients can you get easily and locally?

Miso (probably 20 different kinds!); fresh produce like lotus root, daikon and bok choy; umeboshi; plus a lot of sauces and Japanese style noodles like udon and soba. They also carry a lot of Japanese candies and snacks.

4. Does the unavailability of ingredients that are mentioned in Japanese cookbooks or websites deter you from trying a recipe?

If I can't find a major ingredient for a recipe, I move on to a different one. If it's a minor ingredient, I make substitutions.

5. Where are you located?

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA