Local delights in Japan, a trip to “En Japanese Natural Store”

“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.

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This is the one! Allegedly the most spicy Shichimi in in the world

* 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!

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En – Japanese natural store (Maruouchi)

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.

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Thank you for your hospitality

The concept

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!

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store layout is very nice and simple

Specialties

– They gather the local delicacies from all around Japan.
– You can find some special seasoning or raw materials that can’t be found in any usual supermarket.
– The whole store is like a small hub of different flavors from all around Japan.

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Best selling items

– Dashi stock

– 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!

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Dashi corner (free tasting!)
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One bottle 295 ml (must dilute with water when used)

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.

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Pour it in the hot water and bon appetit!
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ideal for souvenirs, light and easy to prepare

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!)

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Craft beer corner

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!

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No. 9 Saitama Coedo beer
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Yona Yona and Karuizawa craft beer
“En Japanese Natural Store” is a good place to look for unique products. It’s a great place to learn about Japan’s local delights. If you want Kyoto’s green tea without the trip to Kyoto, or any other special items, come here and you won’t be disappointed!
Last but not least, as promised the pasta recipe!

 

Cabbage and anchovies pasta

 

Ingredients (for 1 portion)
– Spaghetti 1.6 mm     100 g
– Extra virgin oil          60 cc
– 2 canned anchovies (chopped into small pieces)
– Chopped garlic
– Dried chili
– Cabbage 100 g (cut into pieces of about 5 cm)
– Crab meat  30 g (personally I think it can be any kind of seafood like prawns, scallops anything you like)
– Dashi stock 1 teaspoon
– Hot water left over from boiling the spaghetti 60 cc

 

How to cook 
1. Boil the spaghetti in hot water. Keep them boiling for 30 seconds to 1 min short then indicated on the package(Al dente).
2. Stir-fry olives, anchovies, chopped garlic, dried chili for 10 seconds or until pleasurable fragrance
3. Add the cabbage, stir-fry until it it slightly changes color and soften (but not too much!) then finally  reduce the heat to minimum then add the seafood, dashi stock and the spaghetti.
4. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well, ready to serve!

 

En – Japanese Natural store

Tokyo Chiyoda ≪Marunouchi≫

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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)

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That’s all for today! see you next time.

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