Berkeley’s Tokyo Fish Market is as close as you’ll get to grocery shopping in Japan.
Whether you’ve just gotten back from a trip to Japan or have a particular craving, this place is hard to beat. The selection of fish is superb, the seafood and deli section is clever, and the aisles of imported products ranges from arare (rice crackers) and Hello Kitty snacks, to mochi, soba, and organic Japanese vegetables like komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) and kabu (white turnip).
Tokyo Fish Market has been around for over fifty years. Although it has grown significantly since the shop opened, the feel of a “mom and pop” store is still there. It’s wonderful. You enter a supermarket, the staff are courteous, and the owner is always there, giving a helping hand.
Go for fresh tuna or call ahead and ask what will be coming in for the week to pre-order seafood. Visit the deli section for bento boxes or sushi-to-go, or deviate from Japanese food and check out the Hawaiian specialties aisle. There’s a selection of treats, macadamia nuts, lilikoi (passionfruit) jams, and in the freezer you can even find lau lau (traditional luau dish of taro leaf parcels filled with butterfish and pork or chicken). It’s like taking a food tour across the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo Fish Market also has a gift shop in the building adjacent to the supermarket. Homewares, gifts, knives, chopsticks, t-shirts, and some Japanese memorabilia are available at prices comparable to Japan.
In San Francisco’s Japantown, Nijiya Market and SuperMira (organic) are two other well stocked Japanese grocers. However, Tokyo Fish Market is best in show.
Tokyo Fish Market
1220 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley CA 94706
Tel. +1 510 524 7234
Janice Espa is a Spanish-Peruvian food enthusiast; an avid traveller and inquisitive taster who explores culture through cuisine. Janice lives in San Francisco where she writes and styles food. Her days are spent visiting grower’s markets, checking out restaurants, and shopping at specialty stores to discover goods from every corner of the world.
Feel free to email suggestions and travel tips, or to contact Janice for her own recommendations, whether you’re visiting Peru, trekking South America or doing a road trip along the east coast of Australia.
Email: janicespa at gmail.com
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