Getting There – JAL First Class
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Guide to Tsukiji Fish Market
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Day in Tokyo
Taking the Shinkansen “Bullet” Train
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Day 1 in Kyoto
Day 2 in Kyoto
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Park Hyatt Tokyo: Revisited
Getting to Hiroshima
Hotel Review: Sheraton Hiroshima
Day trip to Miyajima
Day in Hiroshima
St. Regis Osaka
Food Shopping in Japan
One Day in Osaka
It is no secret that I love to eat. I’m not adventurous in the way of Andrew Zimmern, but I am open to trying foods or dishes that are different from what I am familiar with.
When I’m in Japan I enjoy eating sushi and it is easy enough to try different meals by going to restaurants or ordering room service in hotels, but for an inexpensive and oftentimes hilarious experience I like visiting food halls and grocery stores in other countries.
It’s similar to being a kid in a candy store, perusing the aisles, looking at all sorts of delicacies and not always knowing what they are. It’s a chance to immerse myself in part of the culture, since there are typically only locals in the shop. The smells are sometimes pungent but unrecognizable and food is often arranged differently than what I’d expect.
A toothpaste-style tube with a smiling kid on the front and a jumble of letters? It could toothpaste…or mayonnaise, fish paste, or spreadable meat. Some items are simple and don’t need any translation, like small packaged cookies.
Other times, I’m at a loss especially when packages don’t have any labeling in English. I stood in front of the refrigerated section of the grocery store in Japan and could barely identify anything. Honey? No. Seaweed? Maybe. Pudding? Ehhh, no. Beans? I think so.
Of course, one shop was easy. Sushi, with each piece individually wrapped. There was even a sign showing people how to unwrap it quickly.
Fruit gifts, perhaps.
In Japan, green tea is popular so I could only surmise that these pastries were green tea flavored.
Desserts are generally self explanatory.
After going through the shops I pick up a couple of items and check-out, excited to try them out once back at the hotel. I generally stay away from anything raw (except sushi) and some items are a flop but there’s usually at least a couple of winners.
Here are the ones I ended up buying this go around.
When you really need to figure out the characters if grocery shopping in Japan in order to come back with more than fun snacks, check out this site. There’s a lot of helpful information including a breakdown of package labeling.
If you want to try this yourself but aren’t leaving the US anytime soon, here is a list of some grocery stores you can duplicate the experience at. See if there are any near you –
Am I the only one that had this odd habit? Any good recommendations?
Follow along on my One Day in Osaka.