SEASONAL DELIGHTS (Spring 2022) - Izakaya: Japanese Pubs (居酒屋)

Producer: Hiramatsu Foods
Prefecture: Aichi

Using skills inherited in their over 100 years in business, Hiramatsu Foods’ mission is to bring traditional Japanese food culture to the world. Surrounded by the abundant seafood, mountain vegetables, and pure water of Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture, Hiramatsu Foods believes in the quality of their ingredients, which are carefully selected from within Japan and used at their peak freshness. The process to make their tsukudani (foods simmered in a sweet and savory sauce) takes three days to complete, allowing for the deep, umami-rich flavors to develop. Only the best seasonings are used to fully express the taste of Japanese tradition.



(テリヤキ フィッシュ ジャーキー さんま

Jerky is a quintessential otsumami (snack served with alcohol) and is typically made from seafood in Japan. This Black Pepper Teriyaki Sanma (saury) Jerky from Hiramatsu Foods is made from domestically caught saury which is then combined with a traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce and a hint of black pepper. The final product is a soft jerky-style tsukudani that combines Japanese and Western flavors.

Ingredients: Pacific saury (domestic), sugar, soy sauce (includes soybeans and wheat), black pepper, starch syrup, mirin, glucose
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is with your favorite beverage, as a topping on salads, or chop into small pieces, mix with cream cheese and use as a spread on bread or crackers. 


(テリヤキ フィッシュ ジャーキー いわし甘露煮オリーブ油漬け) 

Iwashi no kanroni (sweet glazed sardines) are a traditional Japanese otsumami or side dish made by stewing sardines in a sweet sauce. Here,Hiramatsu Foods adds olive oil to create a deeper, more fragrant flavor. It’s the perfect side dish for a glass of wine or sake!

Ingredients: Sardines (domestic), olive oil, soy sauce (includes soybeans and wheat), sugar, starch syrup, glucose, mirin, spices
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is paired with white wine or sake, as a topping on salads, or chop into small pieces, mix with cream cheese and use as a spread on bread or crackers. 


Producer: Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin
Prefecture: Hokkaido

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, is surrounded by cold waters nourished by the plankton-rich Oyashio current. This leads to the prefecture’s renowned seafood and seaweed products, including this unique salmonsnack made from locally-sourced, high-quality salmon. 

To make this snack, Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin first removes the backbone of fresh salmon, cuts the filets into three pieces, removes the skin, and then dries the bite-sized salmon meat. They then combine the salmon with umami-enhancing ingredients including konbu and katsuo dashi and konbu soy sauce to bring out the rich flavors of Hokkaido’s fresh salmon. 

Located in Nemuro City, the easternmost city in Japan, Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin is known for their additive-free snacks. Tourists trek to Nemuro City to capture the first glimpse of sunrise as the sun peaks over the eastern horizon and to enjoy the city’s delicious local seafood. 

Ingredients: Salmon (Hokkaido), reduced starch syrup, konbu (kelp) dashi, katsuo (bonito) dashi, yeast extract, salt, konbu (kelp) soy sauce
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is with your favorite beverage or with a dip made of mayo mixed with shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice blend available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining “Wa” Care Package). 
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.


アカモク 柿のタネ)
Producer: TAC21
Prefecture: Kanagawa

Kakinotane, which translates to “persimmon seed”, is actually a type of rice cracker that is often served alongside a cold glass of draft beer. It’s made from glutinous (mochi) rice which is coated with soy sauce and gets its name from its imperfect oval shape which resembles a persimmon seed. The shape came about by accident during the Taisho Era (1912-1926) in Niigata Prefecture, a region famous for its rice, when the owner of a confectionery shop accidentally stepped on a metal, oval-shaped cracker mold. Unable to restore the mold to its original shape, he used the new crescent shape mold and inadvertently created the first kakinotane. 

TAC21 carefully selects domestically produced mochi rice to make the dough for these crackers and seasons it with organic tamari soy sauce brewed in traditional wooden barrels. They then add powdered bonito, shiitake mushrooms, konbu (kelp), and akamoku powder, a nutritious Japanese algae for extra umami, with a touch of sweetness to give these kakitone the perfect sweet and spicy taste. Kanpai (cheers)!

Ingredients: Glutinous rice (domestic), organic tamari soy sauce (Aichi Prefecture), malt starch syrup (Kagoshima Prefecture), akamoku (seaweed) powder (Kanagawa Prefecture), salt, spices, bonito powder (domestic), shiitake powder (Kumamoto Prefecture), konbu (kelp) powder (Hokkaido Prefecture) (includes soy and sesame)
Suggested use: Enjoy as is or mixed with peanuts to experience a spicy, nutty snack commonly found in Japan.Pairs perfectly with a cold glass of beer!


(鬼からし漬の素 だし素材
Producer: Yamasei
Prefecture: Kagawa

Order a dish such as yakitori, oden or tsukemono in an izakaya in Japan and it will likely be served with a dollop of karashi. This hot, peppery mustard is spicier than regular mustard with a pungent vinegary taste and adds a nice kick and flavor to dishes.

This Karashi Pickling Mustard with Dashi allows you to enjoy the spicy flavors of karashi while making tsukemono (pickled things). Tsukemono are found accompanying almost every meal in Japan, including in izakayas, and can be enjoyed as a side dish or on their own. Yamasei combines mustard with a variety of dashi in their Karashi Pickling Mustard with Dashi, which helps to draw out the umami of the ingredients being pickled. Enjoy with caution as this product is quite spicy! You will notice the Onikarashi (Spicy Mustard Demon) mark on the package. It’s an official trademark ofYamasei’s "Golden Demon" brand and symbolizes a product that is so spicy even demons are surprised!

Yamasei produces their products from their heart and seeks to create a new food culture whichpreserves the ingredients and flavors of traditional Japanese cuisine. They were also one of the first in the industry to introduce products that pass the strict and rigorous process to achieve the JAS(Japanese Agricultural Standards)organic certification.

Ingredients: Dextrose, mustard (from Canada), salt, shavings (mackerel, white horse mackerel), konbu (kelp), katakuchi sardines, dried bonito flakes
Suggested uses: To make pickles, wash about 600g of your favorite vegetables (e.g., napa cabbage, cucumber, daikon radish, carrot, eggplant, etc.) and chop into bite-sized pieces. Put the chopped vegetables into a resealable food bag and mix thoroughly with one package of the Karashi Pickling Mustard with Dashi (be sure to discard the desiccant pack) until you see water being drawn out of the vegetables. Close the bag tightly while pushing out the excess air. Let stand for 4 to 5 hours at room temperature. Enjoy immediately and store any leftovers in the refrigerator. (Caution this product is quite spicy)
Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.


Producer: Kaneko Seimen
Prefecture: Kanagawa

Visit any izakaya in Japan, especially late at night or after work, and you’ll see diners enjoying large bowls of hot noodles. Chanpon, also known as champon, is a popular and hearty noodle dish that was first introduced through Chinese cuisine. Since then it’s become a regional dish of Nagasaki although different regions in Japan have their own local variations. The dish consists of pork, seafood and vegetables served on top of special noodles which are similar to ramen, but are wider and thicker.

These medium-thick Chanpon Noodles are a specialty of our local producer, Kaneko Seimen.Kaneko Seimen has been hand-crafting their noodles in the rural town of Nakai in Kanagawa Prefecture since 1877. To make these noodles, Kaneko Seimen uses domestic Japanese wheat flour which is careful spun with “Mongolian King Kansui” (kansui is the alkaline salt which gives ramen its distinct yellow color while increasing its elasticity and firmness to produce a noodle that doesn’t get soggy when soaked in a hot broth), natural salt, and electrolyzed waterusing their own secret technique.

Ingredients: Noodles: Wheat flour, salt/electrolyzed water. Soup: Meat extract (pork extract, chicken extract), pork fat, salt, sugar, yeast extract, scallop extract, vegetable oil (sesame oil), seafood extract, spices, starch, dried sardines (includes wheat and dairy)
Suggested uses: (Makes 2 servings) Follow the recipe provided to make traditional Chanpon Noodles or use your favorite seasonal ingredients to create your own version of chanpon noodles.


Producer: Aszac Foods
Prefecture: Nagano

If you visit an izakaya in Japan, you may encounter nagaimo (lit. “long potato”). It is a type of mountain yam, which looks like a long cylindrical root vegetable with a light brown skin, and is only in season in Japan twice a year. Unlike other root vegetables, nagaimo can be eaten raw and is rich in digestive enzymes. When grated, nagaimo becomes sticky and gooey, known as tororo, and is typically flavored with adashi (broth) and other traditional Japanese seasonings such as mirin. Although it can be enjoyed on its own, it can also be found as a topping for rice or noodles, orserved in izakayas with a raw egg cracked over it.

Our producer Aszac Foods has created an easy and convenient way for your to enjoy nagaimo at home. Using nagaimo harvested in Aomori Prefecture, Aszac Foods grates the nagaimo and seasons it with a special dried bonito and konbu dashi (soup stock). By simply adding water, the mixture reconstitutes into a delightfully sticky topping.

Ingredients: Chinese yam (domestic), mirin, bonito (dried tuna shavings) dashi, konbu (kelp) dashi, seafood extract, dextrin, bonito flake powder, salt
Suggested uses: 
Put the contents of one package into a bowl and pour in 50ml of water. Stir well and enjoy as is, as a topping on fresh tomatoes or cucumbers as a side dish, or on warm soba noodles, freshly steamed rice or raw tuna.


Producer: Shokaku
Prefecture: Hyogo

Teriyaki is a quintessential sweet and savory Japanese sauce found in many dishes in Japan, including izakaya foods such as tsukune (Japanese chicken meatballs), teriyaki chicken wings, teriyaki baked salmon, and more.

This Premium Sweet Teriyaki Sauce is made from high-quality, traditional Japanese ingredients including soy sauce, tamari, mirin, sake, and yoshino kudzu (used instead of xanthan gum which you will find in other teriyaki sauces). Kudzu is a climbing vine which grows native in Japan and its roots are often dried and ground to make a starch powder. The powder is used as a thickening agent in everything from wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) to savory dishes. Compared to other starches, kudzu does not have a starchy taste and is clear and transparent, making it a superior choice for glosses and in soups, sauces, and desserts. It adds a thickness  to this teriyaki sauce, which tastes like something you would find in a high-end izakaya in Japan!

Mamoru Fujiwara makes this Premium Sweet Teriyaki Sauce in an unassuming sushi shop called Shokaku Zushi, located on the Itayado shopping street near Kobe. Mamoru founded this shop at the age of 33, after training as a sushi chef in Osaka. The shop has remained a local favorite for over three decades with Mamoru heading to the central Kobe market early every morning to source fresh local ingredients.

Ingredients: Soy sauce, tamari soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sake, kudzu starch, chili pepper, alcohol (includes soybeans and wheat)
Suggested uses: Extremely versatile, this teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade or glaze for meats or fish, in a wok for stir fry dishes or as a glaze for mochi, similar to mitarashi dango. Try it in the Teriyaki Tsukune (Minced Chicken Balls) recipe provided or as a bbq sauce on ribs.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening.


(純米大吟醸酒粕パウダー 珀祥粕)
Producer: Koshitsuka no Shuzo
Prefecture: Niigata

Sake (fermented Japanese rice wine) is one of the most popular and traditional beverages served both hot or cold in izakayas. In a country where little goes to waste, even the byproducts of making sake are put to use.Sake kasu (sake lees) is the fine paste that remains after the liquid has been removed to make sake. Sake kasu has a complex flavor with a slightly sweet fruity taste similar to sake but without the alcohol, and adds a depth of flavor to food without being overpowering. It’s an extremely versatile ingredient used in many aspects of Japanese cooking and cuisine.

This sake kasu is made entirely from  rice grown in Niigata Prefecture, a region in Japan that is famous for its rice and sake, which is then used to create Junmai Daiginjo. Junmai Daiginjo isconsidered the highest grade ofsake and has a sophisticated yet elegant taste. In order to qualify as Junmai Daiginjo, the sake must be made withhigh-quality rice that is polished to remove half of the outer bran, exposing its starch. The rice is then mixed with koji (fermenting fungus known as Aspergillus oryzae) and unlike other sakes, cannot be fortified with distilled alcohol post fermentation. Brewing Junmai Daiginjo is extremely labor-intensive and due to the strict quality controls and production costs, only very small quantities are produced.

Koshitsuka no Shuzo, a sake brewery established in 1781, carefully selects, dries, and converts their sake kasu from making their Junmai Daiginjo into a powder at low temperatures, which maintains the rich flavors and nutrients, all without using any additives such as brewing alcohol. Their skilled sake brewers spend a lot of time and effort to make this product which they hope will help you to easily enjoy the charm of sake!

Ingredients: Rice, rice koji
Suggested uses: Extremely versatile, sake kasu can be used to add flavor in soups, miso soup and stews (try it in the Kasujiru Soup recipe provided), on its own as a seasoning or in salad dressings. It can also be used to make a type of tsukemono (pickled dish) by marinating vegetables such as cucumber or daikon radish, or to marinate fish or meat which can then be grilled as in the Kasuzuke (Sake Kasu Fish/Meat with Miso) recipe provided. It can be used in baking such as for cheesecake, chocolate or ice cream. Some even use it as a skincare paste to help lighten dark spots by mixing it with water and a little bit of honey!


(濃縮緑茶 優茶) (Less caffeine)
Producer: MID
Prefecture: Shizuoka

Along with all the delicious food to be enjoyed in izakayas, there are a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to try, including draft beers, sake, cocktails, wine and tea. This natural, pesticide-free Premium Concentrated Green Tea is a convenient way to make your own drinks at home or on the go, with all the health benefits and catechins found in green tea.

Brewed tea typically contains only ~30% of the nutritional components found in tea leaves. By using a patented tea extraction method, MID, “The Company with Eco-Friendly Spirit”, creates this concentrated green tea to deliver all the active health ingredients and taste found in the whole tea leaf. They use “ichiban-cha”, the first flush of tea leaves, grown in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan’s largest tea producing region. The autumn and winter harvest is used given its high exposure to sunlight and resulting concentration of catechins. Their patented method also helps to protect the chlorophyll, which degrades when exposed to heat or light, resulting in a vivid natural green color, all without the use of additives.

Ingredients: Green tea
Suggested uses: To make green tea, mix one packet in 250ml of hot or cold water (adjust water to your desired strength). To make ochazuke, pour the hot tea over a bowl of cooked rice with savory toppings such as fish flakes (try it with the Black Pepper Teriyaki Sanma Jerky included in this Care Package), shredded nori, umeboshi (pickled plum), sesame seeds, etc. To make a green tea latte, mix one packet of green tea with 100ml of hot or cold milk served over ice, and a touch of honey for sweetness if desired. Can also be used in cocktails such as a Japanese green tea sour (combine one packet with 100ml of still or carbonated water and ⅔ shot of shochu) or a Japanese green tea highball (combine one packet with 100ml of still or carbonated water and ⅔ shot whiskey).


Producer: Vegetable Park
Prefecture: Osaka

Japan is home to over 40 different varieties of citrus fruit, with yuzu being one of the most prized. From the outside, yuzu resembles a lemon with its bright yellow peel. However, the fruit is larger and squatter with a flavor best described as a cross between a tart lemon, a sweet mandarin orange, and a fragrant grapefruit. The fruit itself is rarely eaten raw, instead everything from its zest to its flesh can be found lending its flavors to many of Japan’s favorite foods. Here yuzu juice is combined withlemongrass, which is said to stimulate the secretion of adrenaline and is recommended for nourishing your mind when you feel tired or down. The freshly-picked, homegrown herbs are soaked in sugar overnight, with very little water added, then boiled to bring out its natural taste, aroma and health benefits.

Cordial means "from the heart" and was originally a herbal syrup made by hand at home for the health of the family. It is with this same affection that Vegetable Park creates this farmer’s cordial using herbs grown on their farm in Nose, just outside of Osaka. The farm is run by Ayumu and Emi Ueda and their adorable young children, whose organic, local products we have featured in the past and are always community favorites (visit them at @vegetablepark). The couple faced numerous challenges when they first began farming in the Nose's unpredictable climate, yet have learned to embrace Mother Nature and to see the beauty in her creations. They now share their love of agriculture with their community and encourage everyone to come and visit their farm to experience the harvest. All their products are sustainably grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals, including this energizing Lemongrass & Yuzu Cordial, which allows you to make fun cocktails at home - just like in a local izakaya!

Ingredients: Sugar (produced on Tanegashima Island), lemongrass (produced in Osaka), yuzu juice (produced in Osaka), ginger (produced in Wakayama), honey (produced in Osaka), lemon verbena (produced in Osaka), organic ginger powder
Suggested uses: Shake well before using.Mix with flat, sparkling, iced or hot water for a refreshing drink (ratio syrup:water = 1:4), or with alcohol to make cocktails (To make a lemongrass and yuzu highball mix 1 part lemongrass and yuzu syrup with 1 part whiskey and parts 3 sparkling water served over ice). Can also be used as a topping on desserts such as yogurt, ice cream, or shaved ice.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.



Producer: Okuhida Shuzo
Prefecture: Gifu

Sake kasu (​​sake lees) is not only a great cooking ingredient, but it’s also used in beauty products in Japan given the high amount of linoleic acid. This Ginjo Sake Kasu Soap includes sake kasu produced from making Ginjo sake - a process which uses rice that has been polished to remove 40% of the outer bran with 60% of the rice bran remaining. Rice bran contains vitamins B1, B2, and E and together, this additive-free, gentle soap will leave your skiing feeling smooth and moisturized.

Okuhida Shuzo was founded in 1720 during the Edo Era and has maintained its traditions for over 300 years. The sake brewery is located in Hida-Kanayama Town in Gifu Prefecture, on the border between Hida and Mino and the Maze and Masuda rivers, and it’s here that they brew their sake and make their specialty sake derived products.

Ingredients: Soap base (mixture of olive oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, and other plant oils combined with an alkali),sake lees, rice bran. (Free of chemical fragrances, stabilizers, preservatives, colorants, preservatives, synthetic surfactants, foaming aids, and mineral oils)
Suggested uses: Can be used as a body soap as well as facial cleanser. Lathering up the soap while in the mesh pouch produces more foam. You can also use the bag to store your soap away from excess water.

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