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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Asian Food Grocer

As a lot of you know I love my Asian food! But I often find it difficult to find some of my favorite snacks or ingredients to make some of my favorite dishes. There have been countless times that I have looked up the nearest (or furthest for that matter) Asian grocery store only to go and leave disappointed. Thank goodness for friends that were willing to send me an occasional care package filled with my beloved goodies!

While venting to my girlfriend about this exact same issue she asked me if I had heard of the Asian Food Grocer - a website that specializes in Asian foods, seasonings, recipes, supplies, etc. Not only do they carry a lot of my favorites but they also list all of the nutritional information as well as ingredients of the products that they sell. Great for those with any kind of food allergies or nutritional concerns.

I checked out their website and was immediately sent back to my childhood days in Japan! Oh the days of chewing Fusen gum, eating Ramune candy and Choco-Baby chocolates! And then to find the ingredients I need to make a lot of my favorite Japanese dishes all in one place! Remember my recipe for broiled sushi? You can find several of the ingredients there!

The Asian Food Grocer even has a blog (gotta love it!) where they recently posted an article titled, "7 Japanese Snacks that Taste Better Than it Sounds". Number one is, "Couque D'asses" and number two is "Glico's Cream Collon". Sounds horrible, I know! But I have personally had the cream collon and it is good!

So after my trip down memory lane (I literally spent HOURS browsing their website!) I decided to order a few things to take the edge off of my cravings. I was pleasantly surprised at the prices and even more delighted to have the box delivered ever-so-carefully packaged within a few short days!

Wanna know what I got?

Ramune "Lemon Aid"

Ramune is one of Japan's most popular carbonated drinks and tastes like lemon-lime (think Sprite). I recently went to one of those sushi-go-round restaurants and saw a bottle of Ramune come down the belt. My daughter SHRIEKED as it is a favorite of hers and she has been without it for years! What makes this drink so appealing? The BOTTLE!

First time drinkers of Ramune are often left wondering how to even open the bottle! And why is there a MARBLE in there? Follow these simple instructions and you will quickly be on your way to enjoying a refreshing drink!

1) Notice the top of the bottle is sealed. The seal actually has the instructions written on them but those that are impatient or oblivous may not even notice!

2) Remove the seal and you will see a plastic piece. This piece breaks into two. Keep the center piece and discard the other.

(Keep the piece on the left - discard the piece on the right.)

3) Place the plastic piece on top of the bottle. It will actually be resting on top of the marble.

4) Apply pressure. You have to press hard! You can use your hand(s) or thumbs. Some people prefer to bang it.

Listen and look. If you hear the marble fall and see the carbonated fizz your Ramune is ready to drink! Remove the plastic piece and enjoy!

Still confused or want to see this in action? Take a look at this video. YES! There are actually videos out there with instructions on how to open a bottle of Ramune! If found this one to be the simplest yet most informative:

The most important lesson is: DO NOT THROW AWAY THE PLASTIC PIECE!

There are also other flavors of Ramune and Asian Food Grocer carries them! From lychee, peach, pineapple, strawberry, mango, melon, orange and raspberry. There is also a line of Hello Kitty Ramune!

If you like the taste of Ramune and have a sweet tooth you might want to try Ramune flavored candy! There are different kinds to choose from including melt-in-your-mouth candies as well as hard candies. The one in the green bottle is a favorite in our house! Notice it comes in a bottle much like the Ramune drink! Both of these candies are available at Asian Food Grocer:

This bag contains individually wrapped candies. Each of these has a slight fruit flavor to them including strawberry, melon, pineapplo and others:

Another Ramune candy whistles if you position it correctly in your mouth and blow! Parents - not to worry. The whistle isn't terribly loud! My two kids love it! Of course in true Japanese style there is a little toy surprise included:

Believe it or not I did not order only all things Ramune (although there was more Ramune candy to choose from!) I also got some Konpeito sugar candy. It's a lot like rock candy but in much smaller, colorful pieces. Need a little sugar rush? Pop a couple of these into your mouth!

Another idea for the Konpeito candy is to use it in place of granulated sugar or sugar cubes that you use for your coffee or tea. I remember seeing these little candies in clear little bowls on the tables of restaurants in Japan. Now I know why! My curiosity got the best of me and I tried putting a few in my coffee. It didn't dissolve right away but after a few minutes it did! What a fun and decorative way to display some sugar!

Of course I had to buy some chocolate. I couldn't decide which one to choose to I opted for a mini multi pack:

Like with most chocolates these candies are heat sensitive. However, if they melt just put them in a room at room temperature (or in the fridge) and they will cool but stick together. They may not look the way they originally intended but the taste will be the same!

You've probably all had are at least seen "Pocky" sticks? At Asian Food Grocer you can choose between TWENTY differents kinds! There is even a section on their blog called, "Pocky Lovers Corner" where the talk is all about "Pocky!" Upcoming flavors, polls and even recipes! Check out these Pocky cupcakes. The recipe is available on their website!

If you like Pocky sticks then you will probably like the Caplico Assorted Sticks. The makers of Pocky created these frosting dipped waffle biscuits that are in the shape of ice cream cones! They are each individually wrapped and there are three of each flavor - strawberry, vanilla and chocolate!

Finally, the last thing that I had to get was the Nishimura Baby Cookies. These little cookies literally melt in your mouth which makes them a great snack for toddlers without having to worry about them choking on them! Funny thing is I learned of these cookies way before becoming a mom. I remember my Japanese grandmother popping these into her mouth and pressing down on them with the roof of her mouth to allow them to melt. So not only are they great for babies but the elderly and everyone in between as well! I've often bought these in larger quantities and put them out in bowls at playdates. While my intention was for the kids to snack on them the moms usually ended up eating most of it!

So I totally got my fix! If you're a fan of Asian snacks and have a difficult time finding your favorites be sure to check out the Asian Food Grocer! As well as their website they have a blog, Facebook page and Twitter! Tell your friends about it as well!

Now.....what to order next? :) My kids say more Choco Baby....

(Thanks to the Product Review Place for allowing me the opportunity to do this review! )


  1. I LOVE Pocky!!! It was actually a favor at our wedding! I wrapped the boxes in silver paper and tied them with a bow. They looked very elegant!

    I have visited the site before - but didn't know if it was worth it to order from there since we go to H-mart every once and a while. I usually stock up! Now I have a few more items to try out next time we go! Thanks!!

  2. I'm with Mama King..we love Pocky! I think I remember the Nishimura Baby Cookies, I think you gave to my girls and they loved them. Great review! I really want to try the Ramune drink, it looks so cool!

  3. Great review! We live in a small town and it isn't easy to get products like this! We love Asian food. I will go check out Asian Food Grocer and order some goodies!! Thanks!

  4. Welcome home! I don't know if you know this already, but there is a fairly new Japanese Market at Puck's Alley (by UH) called Nijiya (I think). They have lots of candy, but a whole lot of natural and organic Japanese goods. Check it out if you haven't already :)


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