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prasantrin

Food questions for those living in Japan

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I am drooling. It took me a while to type this as I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

If I read the shipping rates correctly I am guessing 2-3 bottles would be in the 3kg range, so I would be looking at $45 in shipping fees, plus untold fees in customs.

I would definately be up getting some, given that Donbert and myself both live in NYC, it would be cheaper to combine the orders, but the question is would combining the bottles increase the chance of customs destroying them. I need to make some calls to the customs department.

Thanks for your legwork and kind offer!

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I sent an inquiry to an online shopping site, and they gave me a reply a while ago, which says that the delivery of alcoholic drinks to the United States is restricted, and they are confiscated at customs.

Is this true?

Edit to add:  I can't believe we posted at the same time, donbert, about the same subject:  customs!

Well after some digging I found at the US Customs website:

Shipping alcoholic beverages by mail is prohibited by U.S. postal laws. If alcoholic beverages are mailed to you, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could detain them at the mail entry branch where they arrive and you will have to make arrangements for the shipment to be picked up in person (you may send a letter to the port director authorizing someone to act on your behalf - on a one-time basis).

Shipping alcoholic beverages through a courier is permitted, however, duty will be collected on the entire shipment (there is no duty exemption for alcohol not accompanying a traveler), and the courier will probably charge handling and customs broker fees that could significantly raise the cost of the shipment.

Please be aware that State ABC laws govern how much alcohol a person may import without a license and those laws are enforced by Customs. You must check with the state ABC board where your shipment will enter the country to determine their limits.

There is no federal limit on the amount of alcohol someone may import into the U.S. for personal use, however, large quantities might raise the suspicion that the importation is for commercial purposes, and a CBP officer could require you to obtain an ATF import license before releasing it. If you intend to have a large quantity shipped to you for personal use, we suggest you contact the entry branch of the port where your shipment will be entering the country to discuss your situation in advance.

Duty rates on alcoholic beverages are based on the percent of alcohol per liter in the product - not on units of packaging such as per bottle/case. Duty on wine and beer is generally low, $1-2 per liter, while fortified wines and spirits are considerably higher. Duty rates can be obtained in Chapter 22, "Beverages, Spirits and Vinegar," in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

Federal IRS Excise tax is also collected.

If you intend to bring in a wine collection as part of your household/personal effects, you will be subject to these same regulations

So it seems that a) it is legal, you may just need to pick it up in person.

b) be prepared to pay customs/duty/tariffs at time of pickup

c) pay irs excise taxes


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Please be aware that State ABC laws govern how much alcohol a person may import without a license and those laws are enforced by Customs. You must check with the state ABC board where your shipment will enter the country to determine their limits.

So it seems that a) it is legal, you may just need to pick it up in person.

b) be prepared to pay customs/duty/tariffs at time of pickup

c) pay irs excise taxes

Probably good to keep in mind that state laws vary widely in this regard (particularly in how much alcohol a person without a liquor licence may receive). The answer is "none" in many states.

John


Edited by Chapter House (log)

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Actually, I had a friend in Ohio who was a member of a gourmet club ... and decided to get a BATF Alcohol importation license to handle the many requests for cases of wine from club members. It's not a bad process and it eliminates one of the issues raised in the Customs notice.

The IRS exice fees won't be much, since by the time you're done dividing this among 2-3 people, you'll be under the personal limits. You may have to form a club or association in order to make this process transparent.

There are brokers who, for a fee, will go to the airport, pay all the fees, pick up the material, and deliver it to you. Alternatively, if you have a day, you can do it yourself and just pay the parking ...

The last time I came back from Japan, with a little more sake than regs permitted (4 bottles over), the customs fee was 10% of the purchase price. There was no IRS excise.


JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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You may also consider services like this once the customs problem is solved.

Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to help. I just thought you would feel more secure with a commercial service like that.

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At Costco last week I picked up an 8 pack of S&W black beans for a little over 600yen, that works out to about 75 yen a can. That is an incredible deal since S&W beans average about 250 yen a can anywhere else. I am headed there again next week and think I am going to stock up as that has got to be a pricing mistake.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Anyone know where I can find rice paper? The kind that tastes like a host (for all you Catholics out there). Or for the non-Catholics, the thin white edible paper-looking sheet that is sometimes found around candies or other sweets. I want to make some torrone, and while rice paper isn't obligatory, it makes it look so much prettier!

By the way, I found some pearl sugar at Tokyu Hands (called "Waffle Sugar" on the bag)! It was reasonably priced (about Y500), I thought, so not I'm ready to make that sugar bread Chufi posted in her Dutch food thread! Lucky me!

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The peppermint one had caught my eye ever since I took photos of the Hermes bottles, and I bought a bottle today.

I made hi-chu with shochu, lemon juice, and the perpermint liqueur.

gallery_16375_5_121893.jpg

It was good! :biggrin: I had three glasses. Now I'm drunk. :biggrin::biggrin:

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I recently bought some natto-kin(natto bacillus) and kouji-kin("sake yeast") at tokyu hands. Let the fermentation begin!

Does anyone know there to get dried fruit at the best price? specifically blueberries and apricots?

Which supermarkets carry frozen fruit such as strawberries? I had a really hard time finding frozen strawberries the other day and resorted to buying a small carton of strawberries at daimaru for about 1000yen (admittedly they were some of the best strawberries I've had)

also, I'm moving to a new, unfurnished, apartment and I need to buy a refrigerator. A recycle shop is selling one of those glass drink refrigerators that has a horizontal orientation which would be great because I could use the top as counter space but I'm worried about it using a lot of electricity. Any suggestions on kitchen appliances?

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Does anyone know there to get dried fruit at the best price? specifically blueberries and apricots?

Which supermarkets carry frozen fruit such as strawberries? I had a really hard time finding frozen strawberries the other day and resorted to buying a small carton of strawberries at daimaru for about 1000yen (admittedly they were some of the best strawberries I've had)

The best prices on dried fruit can be found either at Costco (huge bags though) or Tomizawa, I am fortunate to live close by to both shops...

I think something has happened to all of the frozen strawberries in Japan. Up until a year ago there were at any supermarket and I regularly bought at a nearby Gyomu Supa for 88yen for a 500g bag. Last month I was trying to make strawberry smoothies for my cooking class and could not find a single frozen stawberry!


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I think something has happened to all of the frozen strawberries in Japan. Up until a year ago there were at any supermarket and I regularly bought at a nearby Gyomu Supa for 88yen for a 500g bag. Last month I was trying to make strawberry smoothies for my cooking class and could not find a single frozen stawberry!

Even at Costco? That's where I get my frozen strawberries (and cranberries, too!). But it's more expensive than Y88 for 500g! Why can't we get prices like that in Kansai?

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I think something has happened to all of the frozen strawberries in Japan. Up until a year ago there were at any supermarket and I regularly bought at a nearby Gyomu Supa for 88yen for a 500g bag. Last month I was trying to make strawberry smoothies for my cooking class and could not find a single frozen stawberry!

Even at Costco? That's where I get my frozen strawberries (and cranberries, too!). But it's more expensive than Y88 for 500g! Why can't we get prices like that in Kansai?

Can you get just frozen strawberries at Costco?? At the one by me it is a berry mix.

I just picked up my bag of frozen cranberries (this is going to last me forever!) and am planning on making a cranberry coffee cake.

Now to find some cheap flour and sugar... Costco no longer sells the flour I had been using for over 2 years. :angry: and granulated sugar prices are incredibly high.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Can you get just frozen strawberries at Costco?? At the one by me it is a berry mix.

Yup! At least I could a month ago--the last time I bought them. They also had the berry mix, a mango mix, and just blueberries. I have noticed that the frozen fruit section keeps getting smaller, though, so it wouldn't surprise me if they phased out the strawberries eventually.

I just picked up my bag of frozen cranberries (this is going to last me forever!) and am planning on making a cranberry coffee cake.

Now to find some cheap flour and sugar... Costco no longer sells the flour I had been using for over 2 years. :angry: and granulated sugar prices are incredibly high.

Which flour were you getting? At my costco, they only had some kind of mixed flour for the last few years. I think it was called Flour friend or something like that. Just recently (a few months ago), they started carrying bread flour or cake flour, each in 3 kg boxes. They aren't any cheaper than what you can get in the grocery store on sale, though. They also have sugar, but again, not any cheaper than supermarket prices.

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Can you get just frozen strawberries at Costco?? At the one by me it is a berry mix.

Yup! At least I could a month ago--the last time I bought them. They also had the berry mix, a mango mix, and just blueberries. I have noticed that the frozen fruit section keeps getting smaller, though, so it wouldn't surprise me if they phased out the strawberries eventually.

I just picked up my bag of frozen cranberries (this is going to last me forever!) and am planning on making a cranberry coffee cake.

Now to find some cheap flour and sugar... Costco no longer sells the flour I had been using for over 2 years. :angry: and granulated sugar prices are incredibly high.

Which flour were you getting? At my costco, they only had some kind of mixed flour for the last few years. I think it was called Flour friend or something like that. Just recently (a few months ago), they started carrying bread flour or cake flour, each in 3 kg boxes. They aren't any cheaper than what you can get in the grocery store on sale, though. They also have sugar, but again, not any cheaper than supermarket prices.

I am jealous, I don't think I have seen the only strawberry bags of frozen fruit at my Costco in over a year...

That flour is the one I used to buy, it was 2kg and cost just over 200 yen, Japanese supermarket flour costs about 200yen for only 1kg. Those new bags they have are 600yen for the 3kg, so again 200yen per 1kg..

Costco sugar are been really high for almost a year now I used to be able to get it at 140yen for 1kg.

I am going to be making some really expensive Christmas cookies this year. :angry:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm wondering if all the dried strawberries I'm seeing recently have taken processing fruit away from the frozen strawberry market :biggrin: .

Dried apricots - (the "fat" type, not the thin chewy ones) Costco.

Dried blueberries - available, but in small packets at high prices, because in Japan they are touted as being good for eyestrain and poor eyesight, so are popular with IT workers and students (and their mothers).

Flour - even the big 1-3 kg bags have become harder to find (downturn in breadmachine popularity?), but a helpful local bakery could help you get the really big bags (the 7-10kg paper sacks).

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I stumbled on a great shop the other day. It's called "Japan home made cake chain" and is in Nipponbashi, Osaka, but I think they have stores all over Japan. here is their website with a store locater. They have a lot of things for pastry and baking that I haven't seen anywhere else. I bought some molasses and some frozen filo dough. They have all kinds of equipment and ingredients. Highlights included many types of flour and chocolate, Japanese oven sized silpats, many types of frozen fruits, and a good selection of butters If there is one in your neighborhood I recommend checking it out, the prices aren't too bad either.

gallery_23727_2765_1458.jpg

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I stumbled on a great shop the other day. It's called "Japan home made cake chain" and is in Nipponbashi, Osaka, but  I think they have stores all over Japan.  here is their website with a store locater. They have a lot of things for pastry and baking that I haven't seen anywhere else. I bought some molasses and some frozen filo dough. They have all kinds of equipment and ingredients. Highlights included many types of flour and chocolate, Japanese oven sized silpats, many types of frozen fruits, and a good selection of butters If there is one in your neighborhood I recommend checking it out, the prices aren't too bad either.

Filo dough?? Thanks for the info!

Which supermarkets carry frozen fruit such as strawberries? I had a really hard time finding frozen strawberries the other day and resorted to buying a small carton of strawberries at daimaru for about 1000yen (admittedly they were some of the best strawberries I've had)

Frozen strawberries are really hard to find. None of the supermarkets near my old apartment had them, and we're talking about 7 or 8 different places. My new apartment, just a 30-minute bike ride away, has 2 or 3 supermarkets nearby that sell frozen strawberries. Weird. One of them is Summit (it also sells frozen raspberries, blueberries, mangoes and pineapples!), but the Summit near my old place didn't have them. I've also seen them occasionally at 100 Yen/99 Yen shops, but they're always gone by the time I go back for more.

Friends in Osaka say frozen strawberries are sold everywhere. I don't get it-- why are they so hard to find in Tokyo?

All I can recommend is check every single supermarket/100 Yen shop/department store in your area and you just might luck out. And luckily, the fresh strawberry season is just beginning-- yay!


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I'm going to be in Tokyo for maybe a Sunday night. Can anyone tell me if Ameyokocho is open on Mondays? Or what time they open on Sunday? I'm going in for a speech contest which starts at 12:30, and will probably finish around 4 or 5pm. It's located in Ueno, so if Ameyokocho opens around 11, I can do some shopping before the contest.

I need my Thai rice!!! (It's very very difficult to find in the Kansai area now, and even the Thai grocery store runs out often! Like everytime I've gone to get some!)

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I'm going to be in Tokyo for maybe a Sunday night.  Can anyone tell me if Ameyokocho is open on Mondays?  Or what time they open on Sunday?  I'm going in for a speech contest which starts at 12:30, and will probably finish around 4 or 5pm.  It's located in Ueno, so if Ameyokocho opens around 11, I can do some shopping before the contest. 

I need my Thai rice!!!  (It's very very difficult to find in the Kansai area now, and even the Thai grocery store runs out often!  Like everytime I've gone to get some!)

Most stores open at 10 and Mondays should be fine as most stores seem to be closed on Wednesdays.

When are you going to be here? :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Most stores open at 10 and Mondays should be fine as most stores seem to be closed on Wednesdays.

When are you going to be here? :biggrin:

Great! I can get there early and do my shopping!

The speech contest will be on the 20th (Jan). Our J1 entrance exams are on the 19th and 21st, and though I have to attend on the 19th, I don't have to go on the 21st, so they may let me stay overnight on the Sunday. If not, they said I could leave immediately after the exam on the 19th, arriving in Tokyo Saturday night.

I should know by today, I hope, so I'll post in that other topic...what's it called? Dining friends or something like that. Hopefully some people will be available (hint, hint :wink: ) despite the awkward timing. I'm looking forward to seeing Tokyo again, and getting my rice! :biggrin:

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Kris, that wouldn't include the "pink" salt that includes saltpeter, would it?

I've been making little pancettas all winter using Japanese pickling salt. I haven't found a source for domestic quantitities of saltpeter, but frankly, even if I did, measuring out the tiny amount needed for less than 500g of meat would be quite scary. One reason why lop yuk is so much easier!

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Kris, that wouldn't include the "pink" salt that includes saltpeter, would it?

I've been making little pancettas all winter using Japanese pickling salt. I haven't found a source for domestic quantitities of saltpeter, but frankly, even if I did, measuring out the tiny amount needed for less than 500g of meat would be quite scary. One reason why lop yuk is so much easier!

No, it is just regular old kosher salt.

I have never seen the "pink" salts here, I brought some back with me from the US this summer...


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I should know by today, I hope, so I'll post in that other topic...what's it called?  Dining friends or something like that.  Hopefully some people will be available (hint, hint  :wink: ) despite the awkward timing.  I'm looking forward to seeing Tokyo again, and getting my rice!  :biggrin:

The ISO thread! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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