Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mitsuwa Marketplace Visit and Bento!

My big Christmas wish this year was to visit Mitsuwa Marketplace, a huge and beautiful emporium of Japanese foods, housewares, and books situated on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The wonderful waterfront location highlights the serene aesthetic of the lovely Japanese items for sale. This view from the food court shows the sweep of the river on a bitingly cold and rain-soaked afternoon:

We began our tour (with me almost hopping with joy) at the Mitsuwa supermarket, where I was amazed by the vast and fresh selection. The availability of Japanese items I had read about in cookbooks but not found in my local Asian markets was exciting indeed:

Niitakaya pickles:

The array of prepared foods was truly impressive! Crispy fried heaven:

Soft squid fry? Why, yes!

And of course, bento boxes to go:

Deluxe cakes and pastries glowed at the St Honore counter:

Traditional seasonal sweets at Minamoto Kitchoan, jewel-like and served with great charm by the elegant ladies behind the counter:

We selected some "Ofukuimo" sweet potato cakes and "Oribenishiki" bean cakes with chestnut filling:

Surrounded by all this beautiful food, we found ourselves quite hungry despite a hearty breakfast. Happily, lunch is a major part of the Mitsuwa experience. An udon shop, ramen establishment, sushi specialist, and tonkatsu place are just some of the choices. To help you decide, (or, more accurately, confound you with so many yummy options) a small galaxy of simulated meals are on display throughout the food court:

I chose this tasty salmon and miso soup combo from Kayaba:

Hokkaido-style ramen from Santouka: (photo by Jamison)

Another view of the Hudson from the food court: (photo by Jamison)

Warmed and sated, we crossed a small courtyard to browse at Sanseido Bookstore. Many books on Japanese cuisine are available here, including bento, with lots of inspiring photographs:

And at nearby Mars New York, pretty paper items:

Much here to bring  joy to a Hello Kitty collector...and some nifty bento items as well. I acquired this simple and elegant blue bento box, pictured here filled with several treats from the Mitsuwa visit, including pink radish pickles, ikura, and nira:

(above photo by Jamison)
Rounding out the bento lunch: ohba with wasabi-flavored tobiko:

Happy New Year!


Lia Chen said...

You always have a great pictures to show us everything. Looks fun and interesting ... and makes me hungry too hehehe :) Happy New Year Bentobird!!

bentobird said...

Hi Lia,
Happy New Year my friend!! Looking forward to sharing lots of food and bento inspiration in the year ahead!

Judy said...

My goodness! This entry was a web log Christmas gift to my eyes. I would just LOVE to have an establishment like that within a day's drive. Thank you for sharing and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!

bentobird said...

Dear Judy,
Thank you for this truly dear comment! Wishing you and yours a joyous and creative New Year and happily anticipating more bento/foodie fun with you in the year ahead! A hug to Si :)

sherimiya said...

Hi Bentobird!
What a fantastic trip! I would be so excited to go there too! Is it very far from you? The ramen looks especially wonderful to me :)
I love your bento creation too! Happy New Year!!

bentobird said...

Hi Sheri!
Happy New Year!! Hope your holiday family celebrations were just wonderful...
This amazing place is within about four hours of us, and I think will become a new feature of trips to see family in NY and NJ! Thanks for your lovely comments :)

Weekend Carnivore said...

That green tea cake looks amazing!

bentobird said...

Thanks Sarah Jayne! I really should have had a slice...or two :)

Kashmirkat said...

I've been checking out your bento posts the last couple days from bento central, but hadn't come to the main page and scrolled through. I live in Jersey, about 45 minutes away from Mitsuwa - wish it were even closer, but I count myself lucky to be as close as we are :) Your pictures are great! We always end up eating at Kayaba too - lol - can't pass up my Gyudon! :)

bentobird said...

Hi Kasmirkat,
Thanks so much for your visit and your nice comments! Oh, you are lucky to be so close to this awesome place--congrats! We'll be visiting again next week, and I can't wait! See you at your nifty blog :)