Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A visit to Seiwa Market

Interesting sake labels

Going to grocery stores may seem an odd hobby, but few things make me happier than finding new ingredients to play with.

Seiwa Market is Houston's newest Japanese grocery store (bringing the total to 2). Japanese grocery stores are a bit like gambling. I'm never quite sure what I'm buying since I can’t read most of the package labels. There is a label in English on the back, but as I have found out, it's not always accurate. If you really need something specific, either have a friend that reads Japanese, or be willing to ask a lot of questions of strangers.

I like that the package sizes were smaller. Most American grocery stores seem to assume that you are buying for a family of four. I browsed through chopstick rests and sake, marveled at the entire section of curry (one of these days, I've got to try Japanese curry), thought about buying fresh bamboo shoots, and decided that I really didn't need Hello Kitty Soy Sauce.

Yes, it is a thing

In the end, I settled on a fairly limited selection.

Pickles! Daikon (yellow) and cucumber & eggplant (purple). I haven’t opened them yet, but there are very few forms of pickle I don’t like.

I love pickles.
Dango. I have to admit I bought these because I saw them in a manga. They are a sweet: mochi wrapped around sweetened red bean paste. I like mochi a lot more than I like red bean paste. I'd give these a C+. (All three colors are the same flavor.)
Lunch. There is an section for eating in the store, though I took these home. I bought three kinds of onigiri (rice balls), partly because I was amazed at how neatly put together they were. (My attempts at onigiri resulted in misshapen golf-balls of rice.) They obviously used a mold, but I was fascinated to find that the nori (seaweed) was actually enclosed within the wrapper, not touching the rice. It makes sense, because then you can use the (dry) nori as a kind of edible napkin while you eat. They are more filling than you’d think; two of these were plenty for lunch.

Filled rice ball (this one was mustard greens) with nori sheet

Hello Kitty Matcha Marshmallows, because I just had to buy something with Hello Kitty on it. I was not expecting much from these, but they are actually really good.

Dango and marshmallows

If you're interested, (or you really want Hello Kitty Marshmallows) Seiwa Market is on 1801 S. Dairy Ashford. http://www.seiwamarket.com/


  1. Next time you go, let me know! I find Japanese culture absolutely fascinating. And I've never been to a Japanese grocery store.

    I do, though, love red bean paste. So if we're ever somewhere and you need someone to eat your portion of mochi-and-bean-paste, I'm your woman.

    1. You're on. It will be a while, I have to work my way through the pickles, but I think I want a sake cup (or two).