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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Japanese Market in America

I personally love to go to Asian Markets around my hometown. We have many to choose from due to the Asian population in New Orleans. Since New Orleans is a port city it is common to encounter many different people and cultures. New Orleans is truly a "Gumbo City," a city made up of different cultures. The Asian Markets I have encountered so far have a bit a everything from different countries. The differences of the markets are who may own them. If a Chinese man owns a market it will have more Chinese products than anything else. There's another market around the city owned by a Korean family, so they sell more Korean products. My favorite Asian Market to go to is owned by a Japanese man and they sell the most Japanese products. It is truly heaven, walking into that store.

For the sake of being a blog about Japan I will be talking about what you can find at a Japanese Market in America. Now the store I'm referring to will be different from other ones around the country but they will have similarities and you should totally check them out.

Spices and Sauces

There are so many different spices and sauces to choose from. Many people don't think of spices when they think of Japanese food, but they have there own spices that are great for their food. One if the most popular Japanese spices is called Nanami Togarashi. This is a type of chili pepper that is used in a lot of Japanese cooking. As for sauces, they have every sauce you can think of. There's sauces for Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Yakisoba. If it's a cooked Japanese food there is most likely a sauce for it.

Fruits and Vegetables

Japan has many fruits and vegetables that are only native to their country.  A Japanese market may have these fruits and vegetables to purchase. Japanese fruit are very interesting. An apple in America is usually small but Japanese apples are huge. Many fruits that are well known in America are either bigger in size or smaller than usual in Japan. The vegetable selection is wide with the usual carrots, cabbage, and potatoes to the Japanese vegetables such as daikon (radish), taro, renkon (lotus root), and goya (bitter melon). These types of vegetables are not common in regular grocery stores but may be food at a Japanese market. Experimenting with Japanese vegetables is a great way to introduce yourself to Japanese food as it is used in many Japanese dishes.

Drinks and Snacks

One of the most popular reasons to go to a Japanese market is for the various flavored drinks and snacks. There are obviously different brands of green tea and other teas such as Jasmine tea. Famous Japanese drinks you can find at a Japanese market are Ramune, Calpis, and Pocari Sweat. There are also Japanese beers and sake to choose from for persons of age. The snacks are the best part of the market. This is the section that gets me the most excited. There's so many different kinds of snacks such as chips, candy, and ice cream. The popular candies are Pocky, Milkita, Hi-Chew, and Koala March. These candies come in popular flavors such as strawberry, chocolate, and green tea. Lately, there have been special flavors out such as chocolate banana and cookies n' cream. Chips are another great snack to purchase. A popular chip snack is Pretz, biscuit sticks that come in various flavors you would find in chips. And then there's the ice cream section. It's so beautiful, all the ice cream that's available. There's mochi ice cream in almost any flavor you can think of, frozen taiyaki, cream puffs, and Japanese ice cream sandwiches.

Tableware and Trinkets

If you're looking for some really nice Japanese tea sets or bowls then you need to visit a Japanese market. Not only is it reasonably priced but there are really nice quality ones along with the more cheaper kinds. Ever wanted a ramen bowl and a soup spoon you always see at Japanese restaurants? Well you can find all of that at the Japanese market. There's also some bento cutters to shape vegetables and nori (seaweed). Need a cool set of chopsticks? They got that. Want to learn oragami? They have paper for that. You can get a bunch of cool stuff at a Japanese market.

I hope this helps many of you venture off to an Asian market. It can be intimidating at first but once you go into the store you'll feel right at home when you see all the items available. Happy shopping!

If you liked this you should check out some of my other posts. I talk about various topics related to Japan such as anime, culture, food, and lifestyle. Enjoy!

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