Being Memorial Day weekend and nothing planned, my wife and I packed up the kids for a long car trip to Mitsuwa – a Japanese mall in Edgewater, on the Hudson river, in New Jersey. There’s an interesting grocery store there with all kinds of products you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere in the world outside of Japan. There’s also a food court of authentic Japanese food. This isn’t a tourist trap: this is where Japanese who live in the area shop.
We have to pass by the George Washington Bridge to get there. It’s not far from there – a 15-minute bike ride maybe.
While a hazy day, we saw the New York skyline, I could see the unfinished Liberty Tower in the haze, and I also saw military helicopters – including one with rockets attached to it’s sides – flying up and down the Hudson River. I told my wife: “That helicoptor is meant to take something down.”
No pics of the helicpoters, but here’s the Liberty Tower through my telephoto:
Inside the stores, however, a huge throng of Japanese shopped and talked and ate – my white ass being a rarity in this bustling place – which was fine with me. The place is like taking a trip to Japan – except a lot cheaper.
We started at the Mars, the shop filled with the sort of knick-knacks, furniture, cookware, utensils, and toys that must fill the average Japanese’ lives.
After the store my wife and kids wanted some of the Japanese food. The court is mostly noodle dishes and I really wasn’t all that hungry, having a shake a few hours earlier and quite content. Don’t get me wrong – this stuff is good – I just wasn’t in the mood.
The kid’s dishes did have meat in them and they didn’t want it, so I got some melt-in-your-mouth slices of pork from their noodle soup, and my wife had gotten some pork with scallions with a side dish and I had some of that. The Japanese are foodies, and they do not serve crap – even at a take-out noodle joint like the one pictured above.
We went outside to eat and sat as huge flat stones arranged as tables outside the store.
The grocery store is a blast as well. 95 out of 100 products are completely unknown to me. I love looking at them.
Here’s one that I believe has been sold in Japan for 25 years but never made it to the US – maybe because of its name?
At one of the food stalls, they sell ice cream and these red bean cakes. Asian cuisine knows something us Americans don’t: ground up beans mixed with sugar make a really tasty treat. Here the cook is putting the red bean mixture in between 2 molds holding her cake batter. The molds are in the shape of a fish, and are hinged so that when she’s done putting the bean paste in place, ‘ use the handle on the mold to flip one half of the cake on top of the other.
As we were leaving with our groceries, the wife and kids wanted to get some of these, but the fish-style were all gone. She got another version instead.
While they politely ask people not to take photos, my camera is small and black and I can get in some picks before a polite and stern sales clerk asks me to stop.
I simply cannot submit these treats to any sort of moral nutritional assessment. They are simply beautiful works of art and cannot be dissed like a Hostess Twinkie.