Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Out and About: Mitsuwa Marketplace, Edgewater NJ

For those of you that live in Seattle, think Uwajimaya....bigger and better.  With tour buses that haul eager shoppers from all over the area, you know this place is a worthy destination.

Mitsuwa Marketplace is an incredible Asian shopping experience.  They are probably THE largest Japanese supermarket in the United States.  With locations in Illinois, California (north and south) and New Jersey they are slowly making their mark.  I visited Mitsuwa on my most two recent trips to the east coast - and my east coast correspondent, Miranda Xsavier was kind enough to snap some photos for me.

Their supermarket selections are probably on par as if you were actually in Tokyo.  Specialty cut meats, pantry items, snacks...all reminiscent of my countless trips to markets in Japan.  I actually enjoy their deli and ready to eat food selections.  The vast assortment of rice balls (little rice "sandwiches" stuffed with a variety of ingredients and wrapped in a sheet of nori, aka seaweed) was impressive.  In addition, there are small household items that are so typical of Japan.  It just seems novel to be using imported toilet paper...from Japan of course.

However, the spotlight is their food court.  I'm not talking just any food court but eateries that transform you to Tokyo.  In many department stores, there are rows of small, tiny store fronts with big window displays of wax models of their offering.  No menus, just look at what's good and point to what you want.  It's so Japanese.  Each one offering a specific food speciality.  I've been on a weekend (crowded to the max) and weeknight (better, but still too many people for my taste).

These photos include a recent meal by Miranda and her trusted foodie sidekick and husband Bryce.  They enjoyed an udon soup bowl and a bento combination that included tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), prawns tempura, cabbage salad, miso soup and of course, steamed rice.  I personally have enjoyed crab fried rice and a few bento boxes with a variety of traditional Japanese goodness.

If you have a chance to visit any of Mitsuwa's locations, I would highly recommend stopping by and looking around.  It's probably as close to Japan as you're going to get without a plane ticket.

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