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Feb 22, 2007 07:44 AM

Shopping in Japantown - yuzu, salmon, uni?

Inspired by some tai nigiri last night at Japon Bistro, and a dish that used to be my favorite at Tokyo Go Go in San Francisco I'm adding a sashimi/guacamole timbale appetizer to the dinner menu that I'm planning for next week. I want to do uni sashimi as well.

When I lived in SF I'd go to Japantown and buy trays of uni for less than $12, and get all of my fish, from a big Japanese supermarket. Is there any thing similar in Japantown that people can recommend? I also need some fresh yuzu lemons.

Thanks in advance!!!!

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  1. Hi Dafina - it's actually called Little Tokyo here, but, as someone who used to live in SF for 8 years, I always find myself calling it Japantown too :)

    I like to go to Mizuwa marketplace ( They have yuzu (be warned, they are pricey everywhere) and uni and all kinds of other fresh fish. I could spend hours just perusing the aisles at that store, which are much wider and less cramped than the Marukai in downtown. Mitzuwa also happens to be located in a mall that features a great Japanese bakery and a fantastic cermanic store that sells beautiful Japanese dishes for practically nothing. You might be inspired to pick up some nice sashimi dishes for your dinner.

    Clare K.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Clare K

      Thanks for the tip, Clare. Actually it is officially called "Little Tokyo" but we locals affectionately refer to it as J-Town. The fusion band "Hiroshima" had a song on their first album called "Cruisin' J-Town".

      Also in the Mitsuwa complex is a great noodle shop called Hanaichimonme. And the little restaurant next to it isn't bad either for down home Japanese food.

      1. re: Clare K

        yep, mitsuwa is a good palce to go. they have a few locations in socal as well from j-town to the westside to the valley to the southbay.

        other places you can check are marukai and nijiya.

      2. The spiffed-up new Mitsuwa in LT is nice, but I've looked for uni there several times and they've never had it. I don't think they have uni at the Marukai, either. The Little Tokyo branches of these supermarkets are significantly less well-stocked than their counterparts in Torrance/Gardena. It's weird how in L.A. the real ethnic communities aren't in the places that bear their name (i.e. Chinese food in SGV, not Chinatown; Japanese in the South Bay, not Little Tokyo). If you're just looking for the best place to buy Japanese groceries, you should really go to Mitsuwa or Marukai in Torrance or Gardena.

        But if Little Tokyo is closest/most convenient for you, I have seen uni at the Nijiya in Japanese Village Plaza. It's basically a mom-and-pop (there's another on Sawtelle), but it's had something of a makeover and now stocks fancier meats and seafoods.

        1. I believe you can call ahead of time to request uni. If they have access to it, they can get it for you.

          Clare K.

          1 Reply
          1. i was at mitsuwa at lunchtime today. they had uni. lots of it. in fact, i see it it there all the time.

            there are a couple of other japanese markets in little tokyo, but for fish selection, mitsuwa is the place to go.

            1 Reply
            1. re: arkestra

              Clare K, Ogawak, wilafur, Cicely and arkestra -- Thanks for this great info. I'm going to check out mitsuwa later this week, before the dinner.

              Man, it takes time to dial into a new city! I appreciate the help.