Food: Asia and japan12 Mar 2011 01:30 pm

If you look long enough and can read a bit of Japanese (katakana atleast, the alphabet reserved for foreign words) you can usually find most things you need here in grocery stores. But, things come in smaller sizes. Cheese, sour cream, baking ingredients are notable items that come in tiny, tiny amounts. That is why I love A-Price.

First of all, you can find things that can be hard to find in one convenient place. Some baking goods, party supplies, flavoured syrups.

Secondly, they come in bulk sizes, mostly. The sour cream is a few hundred yen more, but is double the size of the normal grocery store size. Vegetables are in double packs for close to the same price and baking goods are in larger bags.

Thirdly, the prices are really good. This is as close to Costco as we get on Okinawa without having to order through an internet service on mainland Japan.

Frozen fruit, perfect for smoothies and out of season produce.

HUGE bags of shredded cheese. Prices are still a big sickening though. 1kg for about $14. And it is not the most amazing cheese, either.

English on baking ingredients? Awesome. So useful. I still do not know what the difference between powdered sugar regular and “non-wet” is though.

In case you need to buy supplies for your kids camp…or something.

Monin syrups are great for cocktails and Italian sodas.

Decent booze availability, too. Prices and selection are not as great as places like Altec, but if you just want to go to one place ahead of a party, it’s convenient.

Anyhow, it is one of the places I visit every few weeks to stock up on big things, and not feel like I am buying joke food in small packages from time to time. Locations all over the island.

Also, because it is topical, I just wanted to point out that we are, in fact, very far from the quake on mainland. Tsunami waves were a concern for a short time, but they have been minimal, thankfully. Thanks to all who have contacted us in the past day or so. There are some tough days of recovery ahead for the country, and the disaster has pointed out some big holes in my own earthquake preparedness plan.

5 Responses to “A-Price Grocery”

  1. on 12 Mar 2011 at 11:18 pm Mark

    Having had no idea where Okinawa is, I checked a map as soon as I heard about yesterday’s disaster and was relieved to see you didn’t seem to be in danger. I’m even happier to hear that from you.

    Anyway, I used to be able to read hiragana and katakana (the latter of which was obviously the most useful to me personally), but my Japanese course was now exactly 10 years ago, so most of it has been forgotten. What amazes me, though, is how much English seems to be on these products; I assumed that was something that was only done on products for export.

  2. on 13 Mar 2011 at 8:40 am 32-P

    Good grief, I hadn’t realized it’s been 10 years since we took Japanese! 😮


    Also, re: this post and others, are Asians in general just not that into dairy products, like strong cheeses? It seems they’re OK with frozen yogurt and that’s about it.

  3. on 13 Mar 2011 at 10:54 am Cheese Eater

    No, Japanese are generally not into dairy. I think it’s a cultural/historical thing. Mild, fresh, and processed cheeses have made inroads, probably because they have a simple umami flavour without any of the funkiness real cheese can develop.

    Because they don’t grow up eating it and aren’t exposed it’s a very foreign flavour. The lack of local dairies also makes it a bit hard to find a variety of dairy products. That just perpuates Japan’s no cheese cycle. I also find that very powerful tastes are mostly absent from Japanese cuisine. Cheese is just the opposite of Japanese food in so many ways.

    The closest thing to cheese in traditional Japanese cuisine is natto, which is fermented soybeans. They look like brown snot and taste like rotten brown snot. Guess it’s just what you grow up with.

  4. on 14 Mar 2011 at 12:59 pm Cre'shea Hilton

    I texted my mom as soon as we heard on the news. I figured she would know from Aunt Cherrill how you two were. Glad to hear that you weren’t in danger of any sort.
    PS…When I worked in Vegas we used Monin syrups almost religiously for souffles and bonbons and such….I love Monin Syrups!

  5. on 16 Mar 2011 at 11:43 am Connie

    Kelly and Mike,

    Glad to hear you guys are well. I was worried about you when I heard about the earthquake and tsumani, although I too checked a map of Japan to find out exactly where Okinawa was located. Emailed your mom as well and spoke with Tori. Terrible times ahead for the Japanese people, but they seem to be able to cope with things with the greatest of dignity and an unbelieveable spirit, that is certain to serve them well in the days ahead. Love your blog and read it faithfully.