Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tokyo - Mitsukoshi's Food Department

Most department stores in Japan have extensive food departments in their basements. Based on my experience, the best of these is at Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi in Tokyo, although Takashimaya Nihonbashi and Matsuya Ginza give Mitsukoshi a run for its money.

Tempura and yakitori counters

At these food emporia, one finds the best of Japanese alimentation, beautifully presented, along with outposts of luxury food purveyors from around the world selling their signature breads, pastries, chocolates, cured meats, cheeses and other prepared foods. Prices are generally high and with the weak US Dollar, astronomical. The beef pictured below, admittedly the most expensive I found in my trip, costs 5,000 yen per 100 grams, which works out to $295 per pound!

Yakitori (detail) and unagi (eel)

Despite the economic downturn in Japan, which has left most of the floors of the department stores pretty empty, the food floors are bustling. Great quality, variety and presentation work even in tough times.

Sushi-ready tuna (toro and chutoro) and umeboshi (pickled plums)

The world's most expensive beef
You learn a lot about a culture by studying its food. A trip to a Japanese department store basement is an entertaining way to do this.

Bobby Jay

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