As a person who was born and raised in Japan, I get asked a lot of questions about my country. From food to cities, fashion to language.
One of the most asked questions I get from my friends is: "what should I get at an asian market?" - I bet it's so hard to find what to get if you don't know what the heck it says on the packages! I went asian-grocery-shopping the other day, so I'll show you what I usually get for my Japanese food recipes, and hope it helps you all. I also had a Japanese themed style shoot with Shelby back in January, I think it's perfect to post them too at this time - enjoy this super Japanese post!
I usually go to the farmers market that's less than 10 mins from my house, they have all the foods from all over the world and produce for real cheap!
And here comes "my habitat"...
Another question I get asked a lot: "Can you understand Chinese words?" - No, I don't understand Chinese, or Korean or thai or Vietnamese words. I can only read and speak Japanese. But at asian stores, I kinda know what the items are without knowing the other languages.
These are all Japanese sauces and I'm 99% sure that every single house in Japan has all the sauces in the picture above. I mean each sauce matters, A LOT! I remember my first week being in the US, I had none of these sauces I grew up with, I couldn't make anything. I had to go to an asian store immediately to get all of these. It was literally one of the biggest culture shocks I've had.
The first rack is all the kinds of soy sauce, the second rack is; left ones with bulldog face: these are used a lot for fried food like "katsu", more likely the fried food that uses panko. It's on the sweeter side and thick. It's like A-1 sauce! Right side: Ponzu - one of Eddie and I's favorite sauces, it's pretty much mixed with soy sauce and vinegar. They are used for steamed veggies or meat, dumplings, tempura, as dipping sauce. We love the lime flavor one, and we use it for everything. When I was a teenager and on a strict diet, I was eating steamed veggies with it all the time!
The third rack is sauce for noodle dishes. They taste like soy sauce, but a bit different. When I cook noodles like Udon, Soba, I use this sauce!
I know I can get dumplings(gyoza)/potstickers at regular grocery stores, but I prefer making them on my own! And this is the skin I always use.
Pork Bun! It's a perfect appetizer or snack and we usually get pork ones. There are so many kind and they are all tasty. We steam them and dip them into the ponzu sauce I talked about earlier! SO FREAKING GOOD.
You can get these buns at every convenience store in Japan. Like here in the US you can get hotdogs at the register, in Japan it's buns and other, one bite Japanese food. They sell them singularly so me and my friends used to go get one after school almost everyday!
This is a Japanese mushroom called Maitake - my favorite mushroom in the universe. It has the most tasty flavor and fun texture! I prefer this mushroom over any kind, shiitake or portabella or anything.
My recommendation for veggies: I get Napa Cabbage and Baby Bok Choy all the time! You can use Napa cabbage for anything, from stir-fry to pasta, it's a bit sweeter than normal cabbage and definitely tastes better! Also it lasts longer.
YASSSSS, MATCHA! My go-to drink everywhere I go, I make it at home too. If you want one for your home, please get the one made in Japan. It's a bit more expensive (this little can costs $6) but it tastes totally different and legit. Bitter and deep flavor. It's totally worth it. I love cafe's matcha too so don't take me wrong, but it's like buying a real Gucci shirt, instead of a copied one.
This is a Chinese dessert but we eat this a lot in Japan too! It's almond flavor, sweet but not too sweet, very refresh-y, very light to eat. It's like asian jello! Remember when I made Matcha pudding? I used this and added matcha powder and that's it! Super easy to make and super yummy!
These are the ones I always, always get but I know there are more snacks, or soft drinks, or seasoning packages I'd love to recommend you guys - let me know if you have any questions! I'll try to make more posts about Japanese food too!
Style photos by Shelby Ricci