Best place to buy Japanese products in Sydney?
I have just returned to Sydney after living in Tokyo for a couple of years. I am trying to stock my pantry but am a little dismayed at the limited range and high prices at Tokyo Mart and at the shops in Chinatown. Is there anywhere else you can recommend? I'm also looking for good ramen shops, yakitori bars and izakaya. Thanks for your help!
Have you tried wandering around Crows Nest and Neutral Bay. I can't think of any specific shops but the Japanese community is centred around these suburbs so it is the best bet. That said Tokyo Mart may be the best option despite its expense. It is also a good area for Japanese restaurants, although the CBD shops like Gumshara or the one in Chifley Plaza (can't recall the name) may be best for ramen, given it needs a good turnover.
There are very few 'real' izakaya in Sydney - but there's Juju in Kings Cross which has a very convivial atmosphere. Also, almost no yakitori bars, although there is the highly overpriced Azuma Kushiyaki in Regent Place (next to George St cinemas)
As for Japanese groceries - Maruyu on Clarence, behind QVB is good, but still overpriced but they have some stuff on sale when it is near its expiry date. I don't think you can get really cheap Japanese groceries in Sydney, I'm afraid
Chef's Armoury for knives, charcoal and yuzu, good wasabi. There's a supermarket in the lower ground floor of World Centre in George street that has not bad range... and Mochi (Taiwanese). If you find any more yuzu juice please let me know.
In addition to the good suggestions here. Next to Artarmon station (quiet side) there are two smallish Japanese groceries, as well as Genki Ramen ... which sadly has plummeted in quality and is a far cry from what you would be used to in Japan.
Izakaya: There are a couple in Chinatown I've been to which are OK. Wagaya is boisterous and has OK fare, though the atmosphere is nothing like a real izakaya. More geared towards the young Asian crowd. I preferred Kasumi Izakaya on Dixon St. It's really just a restaurant but the food was a bit more authentic .. Stuff like fried salmon skin ... despite gimmicks like the waterslide somen. I'd go back just for the fried cheese mochi.
Ramen ... I'd nominate Gumshara, Menya, Zenya, Ramen-kan, Ichiban-boshi and Ryo's as the best Sydney has to offer.
Yakitori ... No real yakitori bars I'm afraid. Generally turns up as an overpriced side (like poster below pointed out) instead of the affordable boozing snack it's meant to be. Make it yourself at your next barbie instead.