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Arima Pepper


Macarons&Mozart
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Can someone tell me what "arima pepper" is? I remember seeing it once on a restaurant menu a while ago, but they have since changed the menus and it is no longer there. What does it taste like? How is it used in Japanese cuisine?

Do you know where I can find some? (I live near San Francisco, California.)

Thank you! :smile:

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After a few searches, I realized that arima pepper is arima zansho (= sansho), which is sansho seeds simmered with sake, sugar, and soy sauce.

A photo can be found here.

I didn't know anything about arima zansho. Here is some information I learned:

Simmered dishes (nimono) made with arima zansho are called arima ni. Arima zansho is used as a condiment and can be eaten with hot rice, just like furikake.

As for its availability in your country, I have no idea!

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In terms of where to find in the SF Bay Area, try some of the Japanese grocery stores. Of all the Japanese grocery stores, I think your best bet would be Nijiya. There's one I believe on Post Street in SF. Or if you're near San Mateo, there's one south of 92 on El Camino; if you're going south on El Camino, it's in a plaza on your right hand side. If you live near the Cupertino area, there's one on El Camino north of 85 in the plaza across the street from the BMW dealership. Aaaand if you're in the SJ area, there's one in Japan town on the street next to Taylor towards 280 where Dobashi used to be.

Why Nijiya as opposed to say Mitsuwa or Maruwa (is Maruwa still around in Japan town in SF?) or the other mom-pop Japanese grocery stores? While I can't comment on Maruwa anymore since I haven't been in over a decade, Mitsuwa caters more towards the generic items people would buy not just in Japan but also in the US...it's a little americanized. A lot of the other stores to my knowledge are more catered towards Japanese Americans who for the most part might not need the more exotic items from Japan.

Nijiya on the other hand appears to cater more towards Japanese (issei/shin-issei) type of families and individuals and you'll typically see them carry more of the ethnic items. Some of the more unique items they've carried or carry, that I have never seen at other Japanese markets here, are:

Kanzuri

Yuzu-kosho

Fugunabe

I think they also had Fugu Sashimi at the same time (maybe someone remembers; it was being sold during the christmas/new years holiday time period about 3-4 years ago)

The one in San Diego once a very long time ago also had Inago tsukudani (essentially cricket tsukudani lol). So you might want to give them a call...or, I can do some searching on Friday as I invariably goto the one in Mountain View every Friday night.

Hope this helps :)

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Why Nijiya as opposed to say Mitsuwa or Maruwa (is Maruwa still around in Japan town in SF?) or the other mom-pop Japanese grocery stores?  While I can't comment on Maruwa anymore since I haven't been in over a decade, Mitsuwa caters more towards the generic items people would buy not just in Japan but also in the US...it's a little americanized.  A lot of the other stores to my knowledge are more catered towards Japanese Americans who for the most part might not need the more exotic items from Japan.

Seeing as many of the mom and pop Japanese grocery stores in the Bay Area are run by Sansei, it's not surprising that they cater to Japanese-American tastes rather than Shin-Issei tastes.

If you're not averse to coming to the East Bay, you might want to check the little Japanese market right next door to the Ichiban Kan in El Cerrito. The name of it escapes me at the moment.

I prefer Niijiya myself, but that's more because their deli section is awesome. Unfortunately it's a bit of a drive for us just for groceries, so I only go to Niijiya once or twice a year when I'm visiting my parents in the LA area.

I just wish they'd open a Marukai up here.

for reference, my maternal grandmother is shin-issei (came to the US in 1952), maternal grandfather is Nisei. Grandma seems to prefer Niijiya, where my great-aunts tend to prefer Marukai.

Cheryl

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