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Places selling shochu?

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Hi,
Does anyone know of liquor stores besides Spec's that sell shochu (often referred to as soju, but I'm looking especially for Japanese spirits)? Are there any liquor stores down Bellaire/Chinatown way that have more Asian stuff in stock? I don't know that area very well.

Hoping someone can help me out!

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  1. Actually, there is a liquor store specializing in Asian liquors in the Hong Kong Market Mall on Bellaire. I don't know the name, nor if they carry that specific product, but it would be the first place I would check.

    It's across the aisle and just west of Hong Kong Market's door.

    1. I'd try H-Mart or Nippan Daido.

      http://www.hmart.com/company_new/shop...
      http://www.japanesehouston.com/japane...

      4 Replies
      1. re: air

        I think the alcohol content is above 15.5% which means it can only be sold in a liquor store.

        I could most definitely be wrong though.

        1. re: DoobieWah

          Yeah, H-Mart definitely doesn't have it. I think it's liquor store or bust. Thank you for your Hong Kong Market area suggestion, will check it out this weekend.

          -----
          Hong Kong Cafe
          9108 Bellaire Blvd Ste A, Houston, TX 77036

          1. re: yuzu_ranger

            I tried to hit that liquor store on Saturday after dim sum, but they were closed. All of the stock was there, it didn't look like they were closed permanently, but they certainly weren't open.

            I was very disappointed.

            Did you, or anyone else for that matter, ever check it out? Find anything interesting?

            I'm still curious.

            1. re: DoobieWah

              I have not... honestly as soon as it starts really heating up, I hunker down and only emerge in the early mornings (not too useful for liquor store runs). But I've run out of shochu, so something's got to give soon. ^_^
              Thanks for the update!

      2. I looked it up on the Spec's website and they show they carry two different varieties of Shochu.

        Is there any particular reason you don't like Spec's or those particular brands?

        I'm not just being nosy, but I'm intrigued and might want to try it myself. However, if you know those are no good, I will look elsewhere.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DoobieWah

          DoobieWah,

          Spec's actually had 4 in stock when I went by there last. 3 of them are the barley kind - basically a weaker proof vodka, very neutral, with subtle differences between them (I've tried 2 of the 3).
          The fourth one is the one that I thought was pretty interesting taste-wise, made with sweet potato. So, I was trying to find more of the kinds brewed with sweet potato, and just generally browse from a wider selection. There's a NY based site that has a lot of varieties for sale, but of course they don't ship to TX (darn TX laws).

          You should try it! It's served in various ways (warm, cut with hot water, etc) but I like it on the rocks.

          1. re: yuzu_ranger

            Got it. Thanks for the reply.

        2. Oh hey, so I went to the Southwest Foodservice Expo in Dallas in June and one of the booths giving out sake samples also gave me a card for Bellaire Sake Distributor, which is in Houston. I'll have to dig up that business card and put down the info, but you may try looking them up and see if they can help you find some shochu.

          Also interesting that a lot of the sakes at their expo booth aren't available here... hope that's a good sign of things to come.

          1 Reply
          1. re: air

            Gooby pleez!

          2. 99 Ranch Market now has a tiny liquor store just to the left of the front door.

            I ducked in on Saturday to see if they had Shochu. They had one brand, but I don't recall the name. It came in two varieties, one with a black label and one with a red. Both however, said they were made with "neutral grain spirits", and ran about $20.

            I was looking for the potato kind though, so I didn't buy it.

            They had a lot of sakes, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DoobieWah

              Cool, 99 Ranch is only a little out of my way home from work....
              Did you try the potato one that Spec's has? (Okunomatsu) - my favorite shochu so far.
              As a side note, Okunomatsu is located in Fukushima. The stuff being shipped now has been made with harvests from before the earthquake, there is some question whether they will be able to use their local fall harvests due to radiation. They have said they will brew with non-local rice if there is any question about it, I wonder if it will affect the taste. They mainly do sake and I don't drink that so I wouldn't be able to tell...

            2. OK so I got a bottle of Shochu Yokaichi Kome distilled from rice yesterday at the 99 Ranch Market liquor store. They had four or five Japanese brands and a couple of Korean ones. I got the strongest at 50 proof.

              Now what? How is it imbibed? Chilled? Mixed? With what?

              Thanks in advance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DoobieWah

                As it's summer, I'd go for on the rocks. It's also served mixed with warm water or straight and warmed (I guess like sake). I had a cocktail with shochu and plum spirits recently, but some are (to me) very bland while others have pretty distinct tastes, so I think you'd be best off drinking it unmixed first, and then experimenting. Hope you like it!