Have you ever been tired of trying to get to the international grocery store? Needed that “one” something that will make a favorite dish from your home country? Craving some “home” food rather than eating Japanese cuisine every day?
Well, I can attest as foreigners we all get to that point. We want to eat something special that we literally would like to just sit down and eat, but the shipping cost is quite expensive and the time takes a while to get from overseas to Japan. Also, some things cannot be shipped from overseas. So, you have to try and buy it locally.
Personally, although I lived in a major city in Japan, my residence still wasn’t that close to an international grocery store. Therefore, when I took the time to go to a specialty store, I was notoriously buying more things than those on my list since it was there on the shelf. That was a great idea until I was ready to check out at the register and then had to decide how I would get all the items home. Believe me when I say, I used more than one taxi after buying too much.
Now, the great thing is that you can find an ever-growing number of international grocery stores “popping up” throughout Japan. Therefore, you can find more locations and products than ever before. However, sometimes it can still be a bit inconvenient to take the time to get to the location. If you have found that to be the case for you, the solution might be as easy as “shopping” online.
Here are a few websites that foreigners can find items they wish to purchase from the convenience of their own residence. The delivery comes directly to you without the cost and time of trying to get to an international grocery store. These sites also might help you when planning a small gathering of friends/co-workers or a special occasion.
The Meat Guy
This site is 100% dedicated to selling meat and (now) fish. From your favorite steak to various beef, lamb, turkey, veal, or kangaroo meat products, they clearly have a wide range of options to choose from for every person’s taste. The Meat Guy also sells processed meats such as items for appetizers and frozen foods like Aussie pies.
For your summer barbecue, you can surprise your guests with their “one-pounder ridiculous burger” set that comes with burger buns (because the regular burger bun won’t cover it) and other exotic burger patties.
They also sell BBQ sauces, spices, kits, variety BBQ meat packs, fish fillets, cheese cubes, etc. Check out their website as they are always updating their selections for customers to purchase.
The Foreign Buyers’ Club
The Foreign Buyers’ Club started over 20 years ago. Now, it is one of the most popular online grocery shopping sites for foreigners in Japan. It’s a complete food import and delivery service. In addition to food, you can find many items for children, learning resources, seasonal items, sale items, etc. The company also has an online delicatessen and a variety of cheeses. Some items from Costco are also sold here. Become a member at ¥1,000 a year and you can get special offers and benefits. Be sure to check the website for any changing prices or other conditions.
For wine enthusiasts, this is your site. You can find wines from all around the world as well as several champagne choices. Enoteca buys directly from the wineries themselves. This allows you to purchase your favorite brands at reasonable prices. You can buy variety of sets or strictly just the ones you prefer. Case discounts are available online too.
The Flying Pig
This site specializes in imported goods. The Flying Pig offers Costco Wholesale items online. You can buy imported food, snacks, pet supplies, office supplies, electronics, books, CDs, baby items, clothes and kitchen, and household items. You will be amazed at all the options that you can purchase. It will make your daily life and “home country” dishes a reality. To use this site, you order online and pay via credit card, PayPal, COD, or at a bank or post office.
Tengu Natural Foods
Vegetarians in Japan sometimes find it challenging since there are quite a few “standard” Japanese dishes that include meat, fish stock (dashi), fish products or etc. The Alishan Organic Center in Saitama prefecture provides vegetarian produce via mail order and wholesale.
Tengu Natural Foods, which is the Alishan Organic Center’s online site, supplies organic and vegetarian foods from all over the world. For those with gluten allergies, there is also a wide range of wheat-free and gluten-free products here. Registration is required to use the service.
Hilo Market has become a popular site for foreigners in a short amount of time. They provide people living in Japan with a fast and easy way to buy popular food and living items from Costco, IKEA and other importers. Here, you can get hard-to-find items at the click of a mouse. You can even order birthday cakes and party food for celebrations and events. Individual customers can sign up for membership and collect points for shopping.
So, as you can see, gone are the days where you need to just “crave” your favorite dishes. With a click of a button, you can now shop from the convenience of your own home and it is delivered in a matter of a few days. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the time it takes to get to the store and lugging all the items back with you through various transportation methods or crowds.
That means you can make your special dishes in no time at all. I hope you try out at least one of these online options. You might find it to be the next best shopping method for you and/or your family. Happy eating!