Japanese cookware on the westside/sawtelle, maybe?
Can anyone recommend a market/store with Japanese kitchenware on the westside? I have been to the Mitsuwa on Centinela but that doesn't have half of the items i want...
Thanks- I figured I'd mosey on down to Sawtelle anyway, I was just hoping to have a specific destination in mind so as to not get caught by Chabuya again. I've really invested in cooking Washoku-style at home lately, but some of the more esoteric kitchenware items are tough to find (sarashi cloth, miso koshi, wooden rice tubs, tamago yaki pans). Does Surfas carry that kind of stuff?
Is there a store in Little Tokyo even that would be worth the drive?
jdwdeville, what kind of items are you looking for?
Marukai Market in Gardena might be your best source if you are searching for something specifically Japanese. Otherwise, there is a good wares shop upstairs in the Plaza Korean shopping center at 928 S. Western Avenue that has quite a few cooking items for sale.
I know that I am not staying in your preferred geography, but how far you go will probably depend on what you are trying to find.
I'm looking for some specialized stuff, really- a shokutaku tsukemono ki, sarashi cloth, otoshi-buri, miso koshi- and being very definitely not japanese has made finding this stuff a bit harder. I imagine that growing up in a japanese household around here, one would know exactly how to find this stuff...
for that matter, you should see me at the market looking for ingredients!
Oh! Yes, you are looking for some very specific items, indeed.
Definitely, I would trek down to Marukai Market in Gardena. Even if you don't find everything on your list, it is a wonderfully diversified market. While you are there searching for your kitchen wares, be sure to check out the rest of the market! If you have never been there, you will not regret the travel and time.
If you wish to call ahead:
1740 W. Artesia Blvd. in Gardena
Yes, I'd recommend Marukai as a first stop. My suspicion, though, is that if you ask around shops for these particular things, you might get a blank stare or two. It will be better when looking for these items that you tell them what you are trying to do with them. In fact post that information here, too, as there are probably many alternative devices that you could use.
Tsukemono press - these are easy to find and can be found at most Japanese groceries or dry goods stores and are typically made of plastic with a spring-loaded plunger. They can usually be found in the kitchen section.
Sarashi cloth - what are you using this for? Are you sure you need a Sarashi specifically, or, say, are you looking for something like cheesecloth. If you're stumped for a source, you might want to check with the folks at Bunka-do (in Little Tokyo). Not that they're likely to have it, but they have a good chance of knowing where to locate it if one exists at all in the L.A. area. The other possible source might be S.K. Uyeda, also in Little Tokyo. They probably will come closest to possibly having some Sarashi cloth in bolt form.
I think you mean an Otoshi Buta. These can be amazingly difficult to find, but they're out there. Marukai again would be a good first stop, as well as a Daiso if there is one in the L.A. area. Another likely place is Anzen Hardware in Little Tokyo. Believe it or not they specialize in many traditional or archaic household and kitchen tools. Honestly one could just as easily make a floating cap cut out of parchment paper or use a flat saucer instead.
Miso Koshi - you may not find one that's particularly made for Miso, but these can be had. Tell them what you want to do with it, or tell them you're looking for a sieve suitable for making home made Kinton from scratch. (It's used to make a mash out of lima beans while separating out the skin and germ at the same time.) You'll end up with something very similar. Check with Marukai, Daiso, or Anzen Hardware.
BTW I have a feeling that given this list of materials you owe it to yourself to make a visit to Anzen Hardware. This small shop is stocked with all sorts of items that you might expect only in a "living history" environment. They are also the place where many of L.A.'s top chef's can go to see a selection of hand-crafted Japanese knives.
cgfan- I do know that there are many ways to get to the same place, however, part of this project for me is the time it takes to do things in the traditional way, hence the sarashi cloth (quite different from cheesecloth in how tight the weave is) and several other items on my list. I know that a blender will outpace a suribachi by miles, but that is precisely the point here. I live a modern life in a modern world so obsessed with immediacy and convenience that it took me months to even believe I could make time in my schedule to cook and eat this way. It's become more about making it a part of everyday life than about achieving an equal result faster or more efficiently. I hesitate to use the word, but it has added a touch of zen or relaxation to my life to do these classical meals the traditional way, so I feel it is best to search out the absolute oldest materials for the task.
I mean, I'm a guy who used to eat a pastrami topped burger with fries for lunch at least 3+ times a week, here I am with 5 kinds of miso in my fridge and a pantry full of dried seaweed and mushrooms and fish. It's been a pretty positive change in only a short amount of time.
Aside from my probing questions regarding alternatives, most of the advice I gave you are particularly in tune with finding the most traditional solutions, hence S.K. Uyeda, Bunka-do, and Anzen Hardware. Check out those places before they disappear - they're a vanishing lot.
BTW I would highly recommend Gakku Homma's "The Art of Japanese Country Cooking", as well as contacting the folks at GEM Cultures. (I love old kitchen tech and methods too!)
And I can identify with what you are trying to achieve. In fact you might be interested in adding to this thread that I started on "caveman tech" in the kitchen: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621471
Why don't you befriend a sushi chef and ask him where you can purchase these items? He might even offer to get them for you. That is how I got hold of a whole dried katsuo to make dashi. It's illegal to bring the stuff into the country (although you can occasionally find it, in all its illegal glory, sitting on the shelf at a Japanese supermarket) and I was having a hard time finding it, so I simply asked a sushi chef. He got one for me from his supplier.