April 17, 2004
Turning Japanese

Japanese loot
This afternoon, I finally got together with my friend Stacey for a trip to the Japanese grocery store. Stacey and her husband spent 18 months in Tokyo, only returning to Paris in January of this year. So they were ready for some Japanese food and I was eager to benefit from the fruits of their culinary experiences there.

Walking through the store with Stacey was a real lesson, and I wish I had brought a tape recorder to keep a record of all she told me. We spent some 20 minutes at the first refrigerated section alone, as she took me over the various produce available.

Some were, of course, already known to me: soy bean sprouts, lemon grass shoots (not strictly Japanese, but the store stocks other Asian specialties too), tofu. She also pointed out the daikon, a sort of Japanese radish that is as common as potatoes to a European in Japan. (I bought some pickled daikon and will report back later as to the taste!) She was also familiar with the lotus root, which to me always looks like it's from a Star Trek episode. ("Captain, it's a rare delicacy from the Haliburton galaxy, prized for it's distinctive shape...") She wasn't too enthusiastic about the taste or texture, though, so I decided to give it a miss.

Stacey also advised me on the purchase of mirin, a sweet rice wine, and some rice wine vinegar. In fact, as you can see in the photo, I went wild: all of the above, plus gyozo dumplings, sake, the dried fish (katsuo-bushi) and seaweed (konbu) and miso essential to a good miso soup, as well as these fascinating mushrooms and some decorative, edible shiso leaves.

You will certainly be hearing more about these lovely ingredients and how I use them in the next few days! For the moment, though, I am busy preparing for the Is My Blog Burning: Cake Walk Edition, and the aftermath of baking and cooking at once looked like this.

Not looking forward to cleaning the kitchen...

Address of the Japanese store:

I have no idea what the name is and cannot find it in the yellow pages on-line. If you live in Paris and want to visit, the store is in the rue Linois in the 15th, between the quai de Grenelle and the rue Robert. It's right near the Darty, across the river from the Maison Radio France. Next time I'm there, I'll ask if they have a card!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at April 17, 2004 3:40 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Ha, that's nothing! My kitchen looks much worse, and I haven't even started the IMBB baking yet. Tomorrow morning's clean-up is going to be horrific.

You've got a very fine lot of Japanese ingredients there - have fun!

Posted by Meg on April 17, 2004 at 5:47 PM

The mushrooms are enoki and they're fungal love. Don't do too much to them, they have a great subtle flavor.

Posted by Barrett on April 18, 2004 at 1:18 AM

Did you ever take advantage of J. Toguri when you were in Chicago, Meg du Paris? The store is run by the former Tokyo Rose, Iva Ikuko Toguri. They've got a great Japanese dry goods (or dried goods) section.

Posted by Barrett on April 18, 2004 at 1:42 AM

Meg - I know, this is sadly pretty typical for me! I think my stepdaughter has lost all respect for me as the kitchen is always in a state when she visits.

Barrett - just forgot to put the real name of the shrooms when typing last night. As you can see from the typos, it was late at night but I wanted to post before Sunday, the IMBB day.

I do remember Toguri's but don't recall them having nearly as much stuff as this place. Wyatt and Stacey kept commenting on how it was just like their neighborhood store in Tokyo. They must have had 50 soy sauces alone! Also, the fresh produce is a real plus. You can get it elsewhere in Paris, but this place is more central than any of the others.

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 18, 2004 at 5:47 AM

Hi Meg -

I love your blog . . . perhaps because I feel sort of like a celebrity being mentioned so many times!

Anyway, the address for the Japanese shop is as follows: Kanae / 11, rue Linois / 75015 / 01 40 59 98 03 / kanae@kanae-paris.com / www.kanae-paris.com

Posted by Stacey on April 21, 2004 at 10:27 AM

Bless you, Stacey - I had given up on finding it online!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 21, 2004 at 11:04 AM

I happen to live in rue Robert de Flers (about 100 yards from that grocery, Kanae). Very nice little place in a part of Paris where we can find a number of Japanese and Korean people (both tourists and living in the buildings around in Beaugrenelle).


Posted by Yves Roumazeilles on July 2, 2005 at 7:57 AM
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