Where Japan meets hungry kamaainaA La Carte Columns
May 15, 2016
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: NATHALIE WALKER
Since opening nearly two years ago, J-Shop in Makiki has built a growing loyal following for its authentic Japanese foods and goods, including many items not available anywhere else on the island.
Located at 1513 Young St. (between Keeaumoku and Punahou streets), the neighborhood Japanese grocery store and restaurant offers high-quality meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables and other food items that are shipped directly from Japan three times a week. Among the items you’ll find are A5-grade Shizuoka Wagyu beef, Japan akule, fresh natto from Hokkaido Kyushu, Aroma Melon, green tea from Shizuoka and famous Majo coffee.
Customers also can enjoy traditional Japanese meals from the restaurant inside, including assorted bentos prepared with 95 percent of Japan products. Among the most popular bentos are Wagyu Yakiniku Bento ($14.50) and Sashimi Bento ($9.75).
Starting tomorrow, the restaurant introduces a new bento and dessert: Saba Misoni Bento ($8.75) and Anmitsu ($9.75). A common home-cooked dish in Japan, Saba Misoni was added to the menu in response to many customers’ requests. The saba mackerel is simmered in a sweet and flavorful miso sauce, and served with white rice, kinpira gobo (burdock) and nishime (carrots, lotus root, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoot).
Anmitsu, a famous dessert in Japan that is especially popular in the summer, is an old-fashioned treat that features small cubes of matcha and plain-flavor jelly, mochi balls, apricot, mandarin oranges, azuki bean and sweet syrup. Limited to 20 per day, this refreshing dessert is rare to find in Hawaii, says J-Shop owner/president Hideyoshi Takasawa.
Takasawa, who has been in the importing business for nearly four decades, opened J-Shop as a way to feature some of the products he brings in from Japan. Now, Japanese-food lovers can cook up true flavors of Japan in their own home or enjoy a taste by the chefs at J-Shop, who also are originally from Japan.
1513 Young St., Makiki
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Closed Sunday