“En Japanese Natural Store” bringing you local products from every corner in Japan
When I was a student in Kyoto, there was this spice shop in Nishiki market where I used to buy some”shichimi”* chili powder. I can proudly admit that I was addicted to it. I can’t eat anything without adding a bit of spices.
Now that I live in Tokyo and rarely travel back to Kyoto, I couldn’t find any place to buy this exact same chili powder. Only when friends or relatives would come to visit, they would bring me some as a souvenir.
This is one interesting thing in Japan. There are so many “exclusive” items both in terms of periods of availability and regions. You can easily find “winter exclusive”, “Tokyo exclusive”, “Hokkaido only” items wherever you visit in Japan. Look at Kit Kat for example, you will only find uji green tea Kit Kat in Kyoto or Amaou strawberry Kit Kat in Kyushu etc.
One day, on my way back home I spotted this store near Tokyo station which sells this “shichimi” I had been longing for.
* Shichimi (七味) directly translates into “seven-flavors chili pepper” and it is a common Japanese spice mixture which, depending on the area, contains 7 different ingredients.
As it turned out, they also had an extensive selection of products, and not only from Kyoto!
This shop is amazing!
So I went in, then asked if I could take photos. Since it was quite a slow day, the store’s manager was kind enough to personally introduce me to some of her recommended products and generously answered all my questions.
My first impression about this “natural store” was that is would be providing healthy and organic food. Turned out, the concept of “En Japanese Natural Store” is to be specialized in distributing several locally produced goods from all around Japan. Most of the ingredients used can be found naturally in Japan (thus the name).
Green tea, snacking, seasoning, rice, alcohol beverages you name it!
Best selling items
– Furikake (rice topping)
– Freeze dried soup packages
The No.1 best selling product is the instant“Dashi” which is En’s original product. Dashi is the soup stock made of Kombu (a type of seaweed), dried bonito flakes/dried fish and dried shiitake mushrooms.
For those who are familiar with Japanese cuisine, you might know that “Dashi” stock is at the heart of most dishes. You can’t cook a good miso soup without dashi!
I have a simple pasta recipe using Dashi stock which I translated from Japanese to English. Please check it out at the end of this page!
Another best seller is the freeze-dry dehydrated soup packages.
I got some of these freeze-dry dehydrated soups and tried at home. They were not bad at all! Actually I couldn’t have tell the difference if I hadn’t known before that it came from the instant package.
Since the store is in the Marunouchi area which is very close to Tokyo station, many foreign visitors make frequent visits to the store. Local biscuits and crackers are among the popular items purchased by tourists.
Although they don’t have full-time English speaking staffs (only some part-time staffs who do speak English) feel free to ask them any questions. (even free tastings!)
A while back, on this blog there were 2 posts about craft beer ranking. (If you are interested: Top 10 craft beer in Japan part 1 and part 2) I was very happy to see that at least 3-4 types of beers on our top 10 are available here at “En Japanese Natural store” .
If you are looking for Japanese craft beers, this is the place you should visit!
Cabbage and anchovies pasta
En – Japanese Natural store
Tokyo Chiyoda ≪Marunouchi≫
Address : Tokyo, Chiyoda 1-5-1 Shin-Maru Building B1F
Opening hours : 10.00-22.00 (weekdays) and 10.00-21.00 (weekend)
Website : http://www.gochiso-en.com/ (Japanese only)
That’s all for today! see you next time.