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yuzu juice? where can i get it?

p
pooper Apr 30, 2007 04:35 AM

i just had omakase at sushi zo. finished it off with this great dessert drink that i found out to be yuzu juice. but i can't find it anywhere. does anybody know where i can get a bottle or crate full of this stuff? its soo good!

  1. tony michaels Apr 30, 2007 07:16 AM

    Have you checked with the local Japanese markets, (Mitsuwa - Centinela @ Venice Blvd., Nijiya - Sawtelle just a half block north of Olympic on the east side, Safe & Save - on Sawtelle half a block south of La Grange)? If they don't have it then maybe Marukai in Gardena might.

    http://www.marukai.com/

    1. Pei Apr 30, 2007 09:07 AM

      The Japanese markets tony has mentioned will all carry them. They're with the condiments (unrefrigerated) and come in a very small bottle. Don't be alarmed when you open it and it's an opaque, yellow/gray color. My fiance and I tried replicating the Zo dessert juice, and all you have to do is keep adding water and simple syrup (sugar water) until you like how it tastes. We couldn't get it exactly the same, but thought that might be due to the particular brand we found.

      1. roxhills Apr 30, 2007 11:57 AM

        Try Surfas in Culver City. I am pretty certain I have seen it there.

        1. liu Apr 30, 2007 12:48 PM

          Hello, pooper. I had exactly the same experience a year or so ago, and posted on this as well. I tried everything, and we finally resorted to finding a yuzu tree to plant in our yard so that we could make our own drink. After juicing a couple of fruits and reducing the yuzu syrup, I still could not duplicate what we enjoyed at Sushi Zo. We were told that he gets it from Japan, and short of there-and-back, I just don't think our markets carry what he is serving. Yes, it was memorable!

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/30221...

          1. f
            fooddude37 Apr 30, 2007 02:32 PM

            Surfas does carry it. Keep in mind however, that anytime you buy pre-squeezed yuzu juice, it's going to be pasteurized (all the ones I've seen anyway). The yuzu that Zo serves doesn't taste pasteurized, so if he's buying it from Japan, that means he's getting it flown in every few days and it's probably incredibly expensive. I think the closest you'll get is squeezing your own. (Yuzus are the size of a key lime, and it takes a hell of a lot of fruit to yield even a couple cups of juice)

            1 Reply
            1. re: fooddude37
              Pei Apr 30, 2007 04:46 PM

              You're right, the pasteurized stuff takes on a bitter flavor. I'd thought it was kind of a grassy taste, but now that I think about it it's probably just a cooked taste from the pasteurization.

            2. b
              bulavinaka Apr 30, 2007 10:43 PM

              Fresh yuzu is seasonal in So Cal. I don't think it's available right now, but I could be wrong. I believe the fruit usually is ready for picking around November. It keeps well - you can freeze them in a double bag. Both the juice and the zest are prized by the Japanese, and are used extensively in the cuisine.

              The trees available in So Cal are grafted specimens originally from Norco, where the original grafts were brought over from Japan back in the late 80's. Until recently, the local yuzu supply was tightly controlled by the grower in Norco, who sold only to certain restaurants. Once the trees went for sale, the cat was out of the bag, and yuzu became more available; however, as most of you know, it is still relatively uncommon except at some Japanese markets. For those with an affinity for yuzu, plant a tree in your yard if possible. They are extremely hardy (and thorny), and will produce a fair amount of fruit, like any other citrus will in So Cal, given a little bit of love and care.

              The bottled juice is something that you probably don't want to use for this purpose except in a pinch. It's synonymous to Americans using reconstituted lemon or lime juice. My gut tells me that Keizo-san has a huge stash of fresh yuzu and probably uses the juice along with a simple syrup that may be amped up with the zest. The extremely fragrant zest is probably used as much as the juice in Japan - something simple like putting some in your miso soup or on bamboo shoots, or something more extraordinary like preciously placing it on some sushi or sashimi (like Keizo-san would serve - "No shoyu - just eat like this!").

              15 Replies
              1. re: bulavinaka
                liu Apr 30, 2007 10:58 PM

                bulavinaka -- I think you have made some very good points and offered -- yes, once again! -- some very solid information. Our yuzu tree (purchased from San Gabriel Nursery) just bloomed, so the fruit will take some time now to grow and ripen. A November harvest seems about right. We had one small crop last year, and we are hoping for yet a better one this year. However, we did have a frost this year that might have hurt our tree a bit as most of the blossoms fell and we don't seem to have a lot of fruit setting. Yes, it is a prickly tree!

                I agree that the bottled juice is a poor substitute for the real thing. But I tried to duplicate Keizo-san's version of his yuzu drink using the real fruit+zest and a simple syrup -- I did all that! -- and the result was quite short of what Keizo-san serves. I really think that his is something bottled from Japan that we can not purchase here...yet!

                While I don't care for the bottled yuzu juice (as I also don't care for bottled lemon juice), I do like the small jar of yuzu paste: both the green version and the red one with pepper. These are both available in most Japanese markets and are identical to what the sushi chefs use on their halibut or other special items.

                1. re: liu
                  b
                  bulavinaka Apr 30, 2007 11:15 PM

                  That's great that you folks have a tree. Like most other citrus, it will produce quite a bit as it gets more comfortable in the ground. Some citrus love neglect, others want love. I think yuzu sits somewhere in the middle.

                  It is obvious that Keizo-san is a master at the art of flavor. Who knows what his secret elixer is comprised of... I've never tried this drink so I could only guess what's in it, which I've done already. Maybe it is a mix or frozen concentrate that he utilizes. Whatever the case, I guess it couldn't hurt to keep experimenting as long as you have the yuzu to do it with...

                  The jarred paste is perfectly fine to use as you've found out, as freshness isn't critical to it tasting proper - I believe it's cooked in some way to meld and inhance all of the ingredients. Your breadth of experience and knowledge is pretty amazing! You go girl!

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    liu May 1, 2007 12:17 PM

                    I appreciate your applause, but something you said troubles me greatly: "I've never tried this drink..." SSSSssssooooo, you get yourself down there this weekend and give it a try!!! It's amazing, and you will be haunted by it -- like the rest of us -- for days to come.
                    Enjoy all of it, bulavinaka, and always, thanks for your input, ideas, creativity, comments, support...

                    1. re: liu
                      b
                      bulavinaka May 1, 2007 08:57 PM

                      You're right - I do need to give Keizo-san the respect he deserves and sample his food. As to when? I don't know, but hopefully in the near future... Thanks for the nudge...

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        liu May 1, 2007 10:02 PM

                        Oh, my! It's worse than I thought. I was under the impression that you had missed only his yuzu juice, but you have missed his sushi also????
                        Oh, my!

                        1. re: liu
                          b
                          bulavinaka May 1, 2007 10:30 PM

                          Hopefully I will soon be a longtime listener, first time caller... but being forcefed sushi and sashimi while growing up makes this type of food a little lower on my priority list than most others...As raw fish has the shelf life equivalent of a Backstreet Boys single, the urgency of gorging down massive quantities of what would otherwise be considered a delicacy has left me more than satiated on a scale that not many have experienced. With my father fishing deepsea as one of his hobbies of years past, you know that his friends would be as well. The sourcing of fresh raw fish was insanely easy for us - to the point where I just didn't want to see another rice ball, another huge side of tuna, another dish of shoyu and wasabi.

                          Don't get me wrong - I totally understand that Keizo-san is no ordinary sushi slinger. Anyone who can leave you mesmerised with a yuzu drink as a dessert has the skill and magic of a wizard... I could only imagine what he could do with the whole Pacific ocean as his pantry. :)

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            liu May 1, 2007 10:50 PM

                            Nicely said, bulavinaka! My sincere apologies for pointing you in this direction when you are really trying to explore other ways.

                            I will continue to follow your always interesting posts!

                            1. re: liu
                              b
                              bulavinaka May 2, 2007 08:56 PM

                              Liu, your comments, suggestions, and inquiries are always appreciated. I really do feel an urge to slip into Sushi-Zo - it's all a matter of time. Since happening upon Chowhound a few monthes back, the number of great recs I've read about outnumber the days in a week, a month, and even a year. And Sushi-Zo is one of those. I'm just biding my time as I work and rework my constantly changing list. In the mean time, I can vicariously enjoy the best of meals in our great city through appetizing posts like yours...

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                liu May 2, 2007 09:44 PM

                                We have been 'Hounding on this site for a few years now (we began back in the days when we paid a monthly or bimonthly membership fee), and it is the likes of a bowl of chili or oatmeal...you just keep eating and the "waterline" on the inside of the bowl remains the same!

                                Truly, we go out chasing all these wonderful places every weekend, and our list just keeps getting longer! Just today, however, we did get a brief reprieve when Irene Virbila's review in the L.A. Times "Food" section was on Elite's dim sum, a restaurant that we have been to! Whew...one we don't have to add to the list!

                                bulavinaka, I love your enthusiasm. Welcome! You are a wonderful voice on this site. And I can't wait to hear YOUR review of Sushi Zo.

                                1. re: liu
                                  tony michaels May 3, 2007 04:38 AM

                                  Zo is so far above every other sushi place (excepting Urasawa) that it's not even a contest. It's worth it just to go in for a very light lunch and have 5 or 6 pieces of sushi that leave your taste buds singing a completely new and beautiful tune. It's hard to put into words how good the fish is here. It's other worldly.

                                  (And just for the sake of historical accuracy, CH has never had any sort of subscription or membership fee - ever)

                                  1. re: tony michaels
                                    liu May 3, 2007 12:24 PM

                                    Hmmm...we paid! We got notices every couple of months that we were due, and we always paid. I can't remember if it was $15 or $25...something like that. I don't know what the fee was called, but we received our notices from Chowhound.

                                    I do hope someone else will verify this.

                                    1. re: liu
                                      tony michaels May 3, 2007 12:46 PM

                                      Redirected to Site Talk:

                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/398065

                                    2. re: tony michaels
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka May 3, 2007 08:58 PM

                                      Two of my favorite Chowhounders concurring on the otherworldliness of Zo. I guess Keizo-san will have to move up my list...

                                      I wonder if the notices received from Chowhound were for some kind of bundled service package...?

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        liu May 3, 2007 09:14 PM

                                        Hi, bulavinaka. I'm so glad to see Zo moving up on your list and I will watch the boards closely for your related post.

                                        Regarding the Chowhound charges, tony michaels wisely moved this whole issue to the Site Talk board, and Jim Leff responded. The charges were for a Chowhound Newsletter, and it was my misunderstanding that it was not for the online posting service as well. If you wish to read the specific post, tony michaels has conveniently offered a link just above your post.

                                        1. re: liu
                                          b
                                          bulavinaka May 3, 2007 09:43 PM

                                          Thanks - will look it up...

                2. m
                  MeowMixx May 3, 2007 10:52 AM

                  I love that yummylicious Zo yuzu drink and I came up with something that tastes pretty much like it ...

                  There's a citrus honey "tea" sold in korean markets - it comes in a jar and looks like marmalade. Throw in a spoonful of the "marmalade" into hot water and mix. Then strain the citrus bits and cool. Ta Da~!

                  Enjoy :)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MeowMixx
                    liu May 3, 2007 12:26 PM

                    MeowMixx -- You are right...pretty close. I have a jar in our fridge at this moment, but I have drunk it only hot. I like your cold idea; I think I just like getting as close to Sushi Zo as I can! I will try icing it next time!

                    1. re: liu
                      m
                      MeowMixx May 3, 2007 05:25 PM

                      Enjoy!

                    2. re: MeowMixx
                      p
                      pooper May 3, 2007 11:16 PM

                      that is brilliant! i'm gonna try that out. thank you!!

                      1. re: MeowMixx
                        j
                        jennp May 4, 2007 03:39 PM

                        yeah! i was just going to suggest that. it's called Yuja-cha (cha = tea), and from what my mom tells me, that actually IS yuzu. I have a yuzu tree in my backyard, and it smells just like the yuja-cha, so I'm thinking its the same thing.

                      2. m
                        monkfanatic May 3, 2007 11:31 PM

                        I am sorry, but what exactly is yuzu juice? never heard of it

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: monkfanatic
                          b
                          bulavinaka May 4, 2007 02:28 PM

                          It is the juice squeezed from a citrus called Yuzu. I don't know if other cultures use it in any way, but it is extensively used for both the juice and zest in Japanese cuisine.

                          It has a somewhat hard-to-describe flavor and scent, but it is very citrusy and refreshing. My best attempt at describing it would be a combination of pomello or grapefruit, some lemon, and a hint or orange.

                          Check out my first posting above if you get a chance. :]

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            PseudoNerd May 5, 2007 12:31 AM

                            Those other cultures certainly do-- in fact, "yuzu" originally grew in China (and Tibet, I believe) before it was cultivated in Korea and Japan (first in Korea, then in Japan...).

                        2. PseudoNerd May 5, 2007 12:36 AM

                          By the way, I saw a bottle of yuzu no sui at the Nijiya in Little Tokyo. It looked as if there was a boxed bottle from one brand.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PseudoNerd
                            b
                            bulavinaka May 5, 2007 06:47 AM

                            Thank you for the additional information... a fair amount of citrus has its "roots" in China. What surprises me is that I personally don't see it used in cuisines as complex and varied as the Chinese cuisines...

                            Nijiya always has exceptional choices in their inventory. It wouldn't surprise me if this particular yuzu no sui you mention is a premium product that one of Nijiya's buyers decided to pick up just because it was something different... Thanks!

                          2. s
                            sushi Ebi Nov 1, 2007 11:42 PM

                            MUTUAL TRADING COMPANY I DON'T KNOW THE PHONE NUMBER.I SURE THEY HAVE THE YUZU JUICE.YOU CAN ASK THE PHONE NUMBER TO SUSHI ZO.

                            1. s
                              sushi Ebi Nov 3, 2007 02:52 PM

                              hi ,pooper i have more information.yuzu seasoning base,brand Yamajirushi.manufactured by Miyako Oriental Foods,inc.baldwin park,ca,91706 toll free(877)788-6476.distrub mutual trading company phone:(213) 626-9458 good luck

                              1. d
                                darlingella Sep 30, 2008 03:15 PM

                                I took Japan airlines this summer and sipped on their SKYTIME yuzu drink for the entire 11 hours. It's delicious. AND I found it in Mitsuwa the other day. It was in the bottled drinks section at the Mitsuwa on Venice. It ain't cheap but it's so worth it. I think it was almost $6 bucks for a small boxed container ~ about 4 regular size cups worth. Super refreshing on a hot summer day. On the bottle it says, 2% yuzu and marine minerals.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: darlingella
                                  liu Sep 30, 2008 03:43 PM

                                  I have also seen it well stocked at Mitsuwa. It's good, especially when very, very chilled, but to my tastes, it is not the same as what Zo serves.

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