Tokyo food gifts to bring home
I'm heading to Tokyo in a couple of days and was just wondering what food gifts you recommend I bring back home with me. I'm thinking the depachikas will have a quite a selection, but I was wondering if you had any favourites. I especially like sembei/okaki, cookies and green tea. Any recommendations would be great!
I'd get some karinto from wherever I could find it (there are always some depachika areas where you can find it).
I always get Ippodo sencha and gyokuro of varying grades, plus some genmaicha. Ippodo is a Kyoto institution, but they have stores at depachika all over Japan. It's in part for sentimental reasons that I buy it (Kyoto was the first place I lived in Japan), but you can pick up tea from any depachika tea place, and it will probably be good.
For western-style cookies, I always get Yoku Moku cookies, also readily available at most depachika. I also like Henri Charpentier madeleine. I'm also planning on bringing back some salted butter caramels from Henri LeRoux. And salted caramel tarts, too!
There's a particular kind of senbei that's my all-time favourite. It's made from mochiko and has roasted beans and it's called mamemochi. This is the brand I normally bought because it's readily available at many grocery stores, but I've bought some from different makers at depachika, too. I prefer the salted ones to the soy sauce-flavoured ones.
Tea, senbei and other okaki are good to take home from Japan, as are things like good miso, katsuobushi, konbu and other ingredients that are often difficult to find outside of Japan (beyond basic versions). Tsukemono (pickled foods) are also good, as is sake (just be careful packing it). If you like beef, you might want to consider carrying some frozen wagyu home with you. Good shops can pack it so it stays frozen for at least 18 hours. But if you are going to the US you will not want to declare it.