Stocking a JAPANESE Pantry

IMG_5492 (640x359)Refined and meticulous, Japanese food can seem intimating to the uninitiated, but making it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. There are three key elements to Japanese cuisine: use the freshest ingredients available, the consideration of presentation and simplicity of flavour. Like most other Asian cuisines, many Japanese dishes are made with the same staple ingredients which are added to dishes in varying combinations and quantities. Here’s my recommended shopping list to stock your Japanese pantry:

The Essentials:

  • Shoyu (Japanese soya sauce)
  • Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • Sake (Japanese rice wine), if unavailable substitute with vodka
  • Miso Paste
  • Sesame Oil
  • White Sesame Seeds
  • Instant Dashi stock-powder

Optional Ingredients:

  • Wakame (Dehydrated seaweed)
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Nori (Dried Seaweed)
  • Wasabi powder
  • Japanese Mayonnaise
  • Pickled Ginger (hari)
  • Shichimi tōgarashi  (Seven flavor chilli pepper)
  • Hijiki (Dehydrated seaweed)
  • Bonito Flakes

Sourcing your ingredients:

Most Asian supermarkets will stock the Japanese items and you should be able to source most, if not all, of your basics from them but you may have to shop around to find everything you need. For specialised ingredients such as hijiki or bonito you may have to visit an actual Japanese supplier. It has becoming increasingly common to find Japanese food in most major food retailers, but the selection is often limited and expensive.

If you would like some great Japanese recipes, please follow this link to my Japanese Recipe Section:

Asian Supermarkets in Cape Town:

Japanese Food Suppliers:

Taste of Japan
Unit C27 Prime Park, Mocke Road, Diep River
(021) 706 7697

Chinese Supermarkets:

New Asian Spice Supermarket
186 Main road, Sea Point
021 434 0598

Mainland China Supermarket
Grove Building, Grove Ave, Claremont
021 683 7298

Mun Fong Chinese Supermarket
Fruit & Veg City Centre, Monte Vista Boulevard, Monte Vista
021 558 7840

N1 City Asian Supermarket
Shop 22A N1 Value Centre, 1 Solly Smiedt Street, Goodwood

96 Chinese Supermarket 
94a Monte Vista Boulevard, Monte Vista
021 558 0199



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