It is a wonderful experience to visit the beautiful Japan Center in San Francisco. There you can have a tasty meal at any of the numerous delightful Japanese restaurants, browse the shops for beautiful furniture imports, teapots, Japanese paintings, bonsai plants or even expensive plastic sushi models. If you’re feeling more reflective, you can sit in Peace Plaza and gaze tranquilly at the dramatic Peace Pagoda. You can even catch the latest movie at the Kabuki Theatre. But if you’re with us, then we’re probably headed for Nijiya Market.
Nijiya is a Japanese supermarket chain that started out in San Diego. You can find them in Northern and Southern California as well as two locations in Hawaii. They have everything that you could want for making excellent Japanese or Japanese-inspired creations in your own home. We love this place.
Usually we get staples like rice, dried wakame and nori paper, various kinds of shoyu (soy sauce), miso paste, ultra fresh sushi-grade fish, sake, tofu, etc. I really like Japanese crackers. Have you seen them? They’re the ones that look like colorful little puffs that have a sweet, savory and seafood taste. Sometimes the better ones come with tiny dried fish mixed in. Another fun thing to snack on while passing the afternoon at the Japan Center is mochi, these mildly sweet rice cakes which are often filled with things like sweet red beans. I am especially drawn to the mochi that are covered in sesame seeds. They’ve a wonderful texture and taste.
Nijiya has a small but very high quality section for fresh fruit and vegetables. The store also sells pre-made lunches like sushi and various kinds of seafood salads.
Nijiya Market is always crowded. Plan to go when you don’t feel that rushed. They offer so much that you’ll want to take your time and really explore.