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Food questions for those living in Japan


prasantrin
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Thanks for the offer, I should be fine with everything else until my trip back to the US in July. :biggrin:

The Kosher salt was the the most difficult thing to live without, I spent the past month scouring every International market in Tokyo and Yokohama!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
and meat thermometer (mine just busted and this is what I am currently searching for at the moment)...

Torakris, Nissin (Meat Rush) in Higashi Azabu, in the street-level kitchen shop has meat thermometers. At least, they did last weekend.

Things I brought back from the States last time I was there:

8 varieties of dried chilies, and 7 varieties of chili powder...in my carry-on. Made each security checkpoint an adventure!

Old Bay seasoning.

File Gumbo powder.

Peychoud Bitters.

What I wish I had brought back:

Nigella (Caveat, just found it at Dean & Deluded at Shinagawa Atre, but missed it when I couldn't find it).

Hand beater.

Mandoline with crinkle/gaufrette blade.

Waffle Iron.

Cheers,

MM

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all:

Well, I just recently moved to Tokyo, will be here for a year. I am living around Ikebukuro right now. Thanks to some of your previous posts, I was able to locate a few ethnic grocery stores.

However, I still have a few questions.

1. Bones. I am used to making stock with things like pork or chicken bones. Or things like shrimp heads and shells for my fish stocks. But everywhere I look, I only see nicely cut up and packaged little pieces of meat. Where did all the bones go?? I am destined to flavor all my soups with dashi?

2. Baking. Someone told me that I should be able to buy a small oven from the dept stores since my apt doesn't have one. Can anyone suggest a place for me to get baking ingredients? I've checked out Seiyu, and baking ingredients seem to be non-existent there.

3. Cooking classes. I am interested in learning traditional japanese cooking. But something a little bit more complex than tempura or teriyaki chicken. Does anyone have suggestions for a school? I can speak some japanese (am learning more in class also), and read kanji (chinese background) if that makes a difference.

-thanks

_A

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I believe e-Gullet's own Torakris (this forum's moderator/host) teaches Japanese cooking.

As for baking ingredients, pretty much any grocery store carries them. Larger grocery stores in places like Jusco, Daiei, York Benimaru (I'm not sure which ones are in your area) will definitely have them, and foreign grocery stores like National Azabu, Kinokuniya, and Meidiya do as well. I'm actually quite surprised that you didn't find them in Seiyu. The Seiyu in one of my old neighbourhoods carried a wide variety of baking ingredients. Smaller grocery stores also carry things like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, etc. but if you're looking for more specialized ingredients, you may have to go to a larger store. Department store food floors carry supplies, as well.

As for bones, sometimes if you ask at grocery stores they'll give or sell you them. Also at specialized meat stores. I'm not sure where else one might find them, but others here will be able to tell you.

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Growpower,

Welcome to egullet and Tokyo! :biggrin:

First off, bones, try looking in the frozen meat section if your store has one. Some of the supermarkets near me sell frozen chicken carcasses and sometimes pork and beef bones. If you don't see them ask, they may be able to get them for you. Best bet may be a meat shop though.

One of the best places in Tokyo for a variety of meats is Nissin World Market in Azabu Juban:

http://www.nissinham.co.jp/nwd/index.html

baking supplies, avoid the the supermarkets!! they are incredibly overpriced.

Find a shop called Tomizawa near you and go there, they can also be ordered online (Japanese only):

http://www.tomizawa.co.jp/

You name it they should have it and you will be hard pressed to find better prices anywhere.

Cooking classes, I have been meaning to put together a list of cooking classes in Japan for a while now, however there didn't seem to be too much of a demand for them, I'll get to work on it now!

I do teach classes twice a month in Japanese (to Japanese people) on non-Japanese food, occasionally I will do classes in English (usually for a foreign group) on introductions to Japanese foods or things like preparing bentos.

If you haven't seen it already check out the thread on shopping for foreign foods in Japan:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=32780

It is the most comprehensive list you will find anywhere.

:biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I was tearing out the door yesterday and somehow erased instead of posting...hooray, I hear everybody cheer...

I lived near Ikebukuro 20 years ago, now I need a map to get around there. However, the word is that there are lots of specialty ethnic meat shops and groceries west of Ikebukuro and also west of Shin-Okubo.

Cooking....try Tokyo Gas -- they run classes on various themes, which allows you to pick and mix, and they are usually not expensive. Check your local city office too, and get on the mailing list or watch the local newspaper, which will have announcements tucked in among all the ads. Cooking classes run by cooking schools are likely to be expensive and much more rigid in sticking to traditional techniques and seasonings. Very good, if you know that that is what you want to learn.

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Hi growpower:

Ikebukuro reminds of my high school days, but I have no information to offer you, as I now live in Niigata Prefecture, far away from Tokyo.

Anyway, I hope your one-year stay in Japan will be a memorable one.

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  • 1 month later...

I start thinking about this every time I am getting ready for my trip back to the US.

Are there any foods that you really miss that are either to expensive to buy,difficult to find or impossible to find in Japan?

For me the biggest thing is sandwiches, these were a staple lunch item for me for almost 25 years, I miss the variety of breads and deli meats and cheeses. could really go for some goood ham or turkey breast with swiss cheese on a couple slices of pumperknickel........

also yellow peaches

reasonably priced berries

sweet potatoes

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm with you on missing the sandwiches. I just can't find the variety of good breads here in Japan, and forget about nice deli meats.

Super fresh, sweet corn. Corn so mouth-wateringly good you can eat it without butter, salt, or pepper. That you can buy it (when it's in season, obviously, but that's the only time you should be eating it anyway) at something like 8 ears of corn for $1 is just a bonus; I'd miss it even if it weren't so cheap.

Pizza.

Cheese. I can buy it, but it's too expensive for me to keep a couple blocks on hand all the time for snacking, like I liked to do back home.

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Agree with the sandwiches and reasonably priced berries (and not just berries but all kinds of fruit). Some more:

Perogies.

Greek food.

Jamaican beef patties, and West Indian food in general.

Falafels.

Authentic South East Asian food. Especialy pho.

Candy, especially sour candies and strawberry licorice.

Back bacon.

Panzerotti.

Mexican/Tex-mex food.

Clamato juice (for Bloody Caesars of course).

Fish & chips.

And, most of all, apple pie!

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally found sriracha in Japan! It is now carried by Kaldi, my favourite import food shop. At about 400yen for a cute little 200mL sqeeze bottle, it's not cheap, but I'm glad I found it. It's a great size to use at the table.

Kaldi has many shops in the Kanto area and a few more in the rest of Japan. Check here for the shop closest to you: http://www.kaldi.co.jp/store/index.html

For some reason Kaldi no longer sells pure peanut butter though. Anyone know where I can get some in Tokyo or online?

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I finally found sriracha in Japan! It is now carried by Kaldi, my favourite import food shop. At about 400yen for a cute little 200mL sqeeze bottle, it's not cheap, but I'm glad I found it. It's a great size to use at the table.

Kaldi has many shops in the Kanto area and a few more in the rest of Japan. Check here for the shop closest to you: http://www.kaldi.co.jp/store/index.html

For some reason Kaldi no longer sells pure peanut butter though. Anyone know where I can get some in Tokyo or online?

It is funny that you metioned that, because I just saw it 3 days ago at Seijo Ishii, the sriracha that is. Same size, same price!

Try Tomizawa for pure peanut butter, I have never had it but my friend is in love with it.

tomizawa:

http://www.tomizawa.co.jp/

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 3 months later...

Hi guys:

Does anyone know where I can buy buttermilk in Tokyo? I am in Takadanobaba. Popped in on couple of the local grocery stores, but wasn't able to find any. Is is just called buttermilk in katakana or something else completely?

Barring that, does anyone know of a good sub for buttermilk ?

-thanks

Edited by growpower (log)
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buttermilk is one thing I still have yet to find here in Tokyo.

For substitutes in baking I use either a buttermilk pwder that I buy in the US, though I did find it here once, or I sour one cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

I have yet to find the right subsitute for using it in things like dressings and soups, sauces, etc.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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there goes my hopes of making some really good doughnuts then... sigh.

http://www.thecookinginn.com/buttermilk/buttermilk1.html

I found a receipe online for making buttermilk from scratch (scroll to the bottom of the page) although it requires fresh raw milk and sounds so tedious that I don't think I will ever attempt it... But if anyone ever gets the urge...

I wonder though, torakris, would you be able to use your powdered buttermilk as a starter for making more buttermilk, meaning is Streptococcus lactis bacteria in the powdered form still active?

Edited by growpower (log)
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I can't find buttermilk either in Malaysia. Although there is buttermilk powder, I wouldn't buy that again, as there were no reconstituting instructions and whatever combination I tried didn't work well. For cakes requiring buttermilk, I've been happily souring my milk like Torakris, either with lemon juice or vinegar. Works fine.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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  • 1 month later...

In April 1, 2002, the Revised JAS Law was enforced, and a new standard for organic food labeling was established.

Foods certified as organic have this label on them:

gallery_16375_5_1102542810.jpg

Below the label is the name the certification body.

gallery_16375_5_1101948113.jpg

For a better view of the label, see the one in the following link:

http://www.pref.ehime.jp/ecc/mark/food/food16.htm

***

Added another photo.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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Sheesh, been living in Japan for almost four years and only now am I asking about "ekisu."

I notice that in the ingredients list of things like hon dashi, sometimes it will say "kombu" and sometimes "kombu ekisu," for example. I've always sort of assumed that ekisu is Japanese for extract. Is it? Or is kombu ekisu merely artificial kombu flavoring?

Another thing: what is MSG (monosodium glutumate) in Japanese? I've always tried to avoid buying foods with MSG, but since I've been in Japan, I get the feeling I've been unknowingly and happily consuming vast quantities of food with MSG. Can anyone help me?

Thanks!

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I get the feeling I've been unknowingly and happily consuming vast quantities of food with MSG. Can anyone help me?

You will be amazed to see just how many of your daily food items actually contain MSG.

Ajinomoto is a registered trademark of Ajinomoto Co., Inc., so this term is not used on the food label. When you see any of these terms on the label, the food contains MSG (and other chemical seasonings):

調味料(アミノ酸) = Seasoning (amino acid)

調味料(アミノ酸等) = Seasoning (amino acid, etc.)

調味料(核酸)、調味料(核酸等)

調味料(有機酸)、調味料(有機酸等)

調味料(無機塩)、調味料(無機塩等)

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We had a discussion on msg in foods and reading the labels but I can't remember where.....

to look for msg on food labels to want to look for this:

調味料(アミノ酸)

調味料 (choumiryou) are flavoring enhancers and you may see a couple things following in parantheses if it says アミノ酸 (aminosan) which are amino acids it is probably msg.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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