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Mar 7, 2007 06:53 PM

Japanese grocery store in Cambridge?

My wife and I are moving to Cambridge this summer and she wanted to find the best Japanese grocery store in the area. Any tips?

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  1. There are two I am aware of in Cambridge Proper. Kotobukiya in the Porter Exchange is a bit expensive, but what they carry is good. There is also a Japanese store (the name escapes me) on Prospect Street just outside of Central Square next door to the Field pub. It's larger, with more selection and slightly lower prices. In Somerville, there is a Korean grocery in Union Square (once again the name escapes me) that carries a lot of Japanese packaged products and had a nice (for around here) sake selection.

    1. Kotobukiya in Porter Square is a good choice. It's in the Porter Exchange Building along with a number of Japanese eateries.

      Yoshinoya in Central Square is another option, one that's a little less upscale.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bachslunch

        I just went to Yoshinoya last Friday and was very surprised to find their shelves EMPTY. It was the strangest thing. If you're looking for great sashimi grade fish and related staples (wakame, soy sauce, wasabi, panko, rice vinegar, ponzu, etc), check out New Deal Fish Market...they carry all of those items and the prices and brands are better than Whole Foods.

      2. The one on Prospect is Yoshinoya-- it's definitely a bigger space and better deals than Kotobukiya on many things, but something's been going on lately. (Shelves are surprisingly empty, it feels like it's slowly going out of business... anyone know what's up?) Would be too bad, cause they have great deals on a couple particular things (shishito, their house seaweed salad, pockys, etc...)
        Kotobukiya is expensive but reliable-- some things are actually good deals, too (their homemade fishcake, and octopus cake when they have it)

        K grocer in union is Reliable Market. Definitely best selection of Korean goods in the area, and maybe Japanese, too. (weirdly, they sell lots of sake but little to no soju, though) If you happen to be near MIT, there's also Lotte on Mass Ave-- not better by any means, but sometimes more convenient :)

        1. yoshinoya looks like its going out of business. I swear the last time I went there they had enough groceries in the ENTIRE store to fill up a small pantry. This place was practically empty.

          I like reliable market the best though, because it's the biggest (most spacious) and it has korean ingredients (i'm half korean). They have pretty good japanese ingredients and a bigger produce section than yoshinoya or kotobukiya.

          they really don't have soju at reliable? They have makkeoli there, if they have that they should definitely carry soju.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bitsubeats

            forgot to add...your wife might like kotobukiya the best because there are small little eateries in the same building as the grocery store. There is a ramen shop, a shop that sells kare raisu, and korean one (terrible), sushi place, and a few other places to eat.

            I like to go to the japonaise bakery stand though and get some adzuki bean pan and some of those twisted sugared donuts that are really popular in korea

            1. re: bitsubeats

              I'm always mystified by the randomness of reliable's liquor selection; they have very expensive little bottles of sansajeon and baekhaju (the little baesangmyeon brand bottles), but then the soju selection is limited or nonexistent. (for example, big bottles of green are nowhere to be seen when I've looked-- though I'm sure they'd be like $30, anyway). The focus really seems to be on sake.

              (I tend to suspect there might be some legal reason why they can't carry soju, since it usually has a higher alcohol content...)

              1. re: another_adam

                green? you mean the green bottles of soju with the picture of the green mountains on it? I can't believe they don't carry that stuff. If they don't carry that then they probably don't carry jinro either. I know that in maryland you can get bottles of jinro for about $10. I forget how much they cost in korea, but they are wayyyyy cheaper.

            2. Thanks everyone for the replies! We'll enjoy exploring the stores you mentioned and kotobukiya and Yoshinoya sound like the consensus favorites.