Ok so I have been too busy to write a proper blog post, but I think many might appreciate a simple post like this!
Yesterday was my flight back home and as usual, #AuntyCheesie was at work. Dashed to the nearest supermarket and drugstore and brought back my usual grocery stock. Instead of throwing them into stories on IG, I think it’s time for a blog post!
So here it is.
One of the most important things to bring back from Japan is of course, rice. Japanese rice get really expensive when it is imported to Malaysia/SG so I stock up every time I go back. But it is of course a huge burden on your baggage allowance so buy it wisely! Maybe can splurge on 2KG of really premium koshihikari rice for that special occasion. ^^
Also I like to buy 無洗米(pre-washed rice) so I don’t have to go through that extra step. #Lazymama hack.
1. Instant Cooking Sauce
One of the first things I look for are instant cooking sauces, especially by CookDo. All you need are some veggies and meat and you have an almost fail-proof restaurant grade dish.
Some of my favorite are: Asian Chicken Rice, Chen Mabo Tofu (by the famous Chen Kenichi, taste just like its luxurious restaurant!!!), Chinjiaorousi, and I also always buy the pre-sliced bamboo shoot for this dish. Super easy.
2. Quick Pasta
I thought pasta is already quite a quick-to-cook food but the Japanese must make it almost-instant. I actually think this is the angmoh instant-noodle. My favorite brand is “MAMA” (all in the photo except the linguine in the middle which requires 8 minute of cookig but the plus side of it is that you get the “nama” – fresh pasta mochi-mochi texture!!), and the cooking time varies. The quickest pasta the fusili looking “CRULL” (kururu), which requires only 1.5 minute of boiling time. Quicker than instant noodle, I’d say.
Palette (also by MAMA), the two packs on the bottom, is LEGIT instant pasta. Or at least instant-pasta-looking pasta. BUT the ironic thing is that it still requires 5-min cooking time, which is 3 times longer than abovementioned CRULL pasta haha.
3. Pasta Sauce
What’s better than instant pasta?? INSTANT PASTA SAUCE. So now basically you have a pasta meal in like, 3 minutes. That’s Ando Momofuku level. There are many brands in the market and I don’t really have a favorite. I usually choose the most luxuriously expensive lolol (even the most expensive is like $3), like crab meat, sea urchin sauce, premium meat sauce?! etc.
Clockwise rom top left: S&B Vongole Bianco, Kewpie’s Natto sauce, Restaurant Pietro’s “Desperate Spaghetti” (this one is really good, but pretty rare!), and MAMA’s Meat Sauce.
4. Canned Food
Canned food especially fish is another of my must-buy.
Oh dear this is going to be a long one.
Most Malaysians and Singaporeans (including the old me) have very bad impression of canned food – unhealthy, full of additives, nutrition-less, etc etc etc. Most people would equate eating canned food as slow-killing yourself.
BUT. Just like Ajinomoto and MSG, this is another myth. Or at least in Japan lolol. I cannot make claims about other canned food in the rest of the world haha.
Ok, remember this – you hear it from me – canned fish (I’m talking about fish specifically, let’s exclude spam and corned beef and stuff, which is generally, not very healthy), in Japan, IS A TOP HEALTH FOOD.
Yes you heard me right. It’s been trending so much that Japan is basically running out of canned saba fish (mackerel) everywhere. WHY?????
Because canned fish, if picked correctly, could be even healthier than fresh fish!!
Yes you heard me right again. So here are a few reasons why canned fish is awesome:
1. First of course it is incredibly convenient compared to fresh fish. When you buy fresh fish, unless it is REALLY FRESH like, freshly netted from the nearby ocean in the morning, chances are it might have been frozen and thawed before, and you may have to freeze it again when you get home. Not so fresh after all. Canned fish on the other hand, are fresh fish being processed immediately in a safe and hygienic way with minimal quality deterioration. So… I guess in some cases you can say that canned fish is fresher than “fresh” fish. Also it is confirm less fishy than fresh fish.
2. It’s sooooo much cheaper compared to fresh fish. Especially in MY and SG where good fish don’t come cheap.
3. Ready to eat. This one no need to compare. It’s also already seasoned/flavored. It’s a damn dish itself. For bad cooks, this one wins 100 points.
4. It might have higher nutrients that fresh fish. Why? First canned fish are processed with bones, and usually the pressure during canning makes the bones soft and edible. So you are actually taking extra calcium by consuming canned fish instead of throwing away fishbones from your cooked fish. A study shows that fresh saba fish has only 6mg of calcium but canned one has a whooping 260mg!!! The same study also shows that the EPA and DHA content of canned fish is higher than that of fresh. (The study is done on only canned saba fish). Another tip: don’t throw away the liquid/dashi in the can. Eat it together as it contains nutrients that might have been released from the fish itself during canning process.
Still… what about preservatives? Confirm have right? It’s canned food… canned food are toxic… Or so we all think.
Ok let me show you the ingredients of the “Yaki Shio Saba” canned fish I bought (middle one in above photo).
To be fair this is a higher quality canned saba that’s also slightly more expensive, so it really depends on the brand but here’s the ingredient list:
1.Saba (from Choushi port, Chiba prefecture)
2.Salt (from Izu Oshima island)
3.Sake (made-in-Japan rice, made-in-Japan rice kouji, made-in-Japan sake lees)
And… that’s all.
Huh? How about preservatives? MSG? All the cancer-causing etc etc etc etc etc?
Nope. Nowhere to be found. And let me emphasize this – it tastes damn delicious. (Better than the fresh fish I cook for sure, at least.)
Conclusion of this topic: Buy made-in-Japan canned saba. Especially made-in-Chiba. Haha.
5. Instant soup
So. I buy a lot of instant soup too including miso soup. But this time I only bought Nagatanien’s Matsutake Osuimono – really, really, really delicious clear soup – Matsutake mushroom flavor (matsutake is said to be the truffle of Japan).
You may have seen Nagatanien’s Ochazuke packs everywhere including all the fancy fancy regional limited editions. But if you haven’t try this, I’m putting this in your shopping cart. You don’t get to say no.
Here are some snacks that I buy, in no particular order of preference.
Cratz is like pretzels but mixed with almonds and comes in really yummy flavors I usually buy the bacon flavor but let’s try something new.
Sunao is a new low-carb cookie by Glico. I don’t really care about carb but I bought it because it’s really delicious. BUT i think it’s too little for JPY130. Can finish in like a minute.
7. Energy bars
I love energy bars/soy bars because I am lazy. And busy haha. (all excuses hahaha). But really, when you don’t even have time for freaking cup noodles, an energy bar is the bestestestest snack to fill you up on the go. I munch on it while walking on the street to my next appointment, secretly in taxis, trains, buses, and all kinds of other places where eating in public could be quite a nuisance (ahhhh Japan!). Also, it’s too delicious for an energy bar lol. It literally tastes like choco brownie/choco bar that totally satisfy your snack craving too.
Honestly, I am pretty sure this is a placebo.
Yunker is a health tonic made of traditional herbs originally formulated to combat fatique but it has become my placebo for… everything.
Tired? Yunkeru. Feeling under the weather? Yunkeru. Caught a cold but cannot afford to skip an important work the next day? DEFINITELY THE MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE OF YUNKERU.
Even if it is placebo, I don’t care. Because it works. For me. And for a few friends I recommended to. So… this is an optional, vague, very subjective #cheesieapproved haha. Don’t blame me if it doesn’t work for you.
Also, I don’t even how to advise you but there are like 5 millions type of Yunkeru in the drugstore (you can get the regular ones in all combini too), and the price can range from JPY400 to like, JPY1500 a bottle?!? That’s a huge difference okay.
But, like, even I don’t know the differences. I JUST BUY THE MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE BECAUSE MORE EXPENSIVE = MORE EFFECTIVE RIGHT HAHAHAHAH #cheesielogic.
Anyway, just a tip for you – most variants contain caffein so it’s a lot like energy drink to keep you awake, but if you just want to get a good sleep to fight off that sickishness, find the caffein-free version, which has an illustration of a moon and stars lol.
So here are some of the things you can easily get from any drugstore such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi or Cocokara Fine. I stopped going to Donki because…
1.There isn’t one near me and
2. I feel like it’s getting too overwhelmingly popular so I wanna give my support to other brands haha. Contribute my money to Japan more fairly haha.
9. Dental goods
The toothpaste in the middle is the only toothpaste I want to use for the rest of my life lolol.
I guess it’s just me. I LOVE SALT. I love salted everything. Including toothpaste lol. After using this, I find the usual minty or any other sweet variants really gross. Also salted toothpaste is a good way to clean away bacteria more effectively and prevent gum disease. But really, the reason is just that it’s very delicious lol.
The dental floss in the photo, I also love it because it is very soft and my gums bleed quite easily, so this is good for me!
10. Spray-type dish washing liquid
Not an ad lolol. Although I have one coming up. But this is really the best dish washing liquid (spray) I have ever used so I stock up. I buy the big refill bottle to save plastic waste. Yay!
11. Laundry Detergent
Also not an ad haha. I just happen to use a lot of KAO’s products.
Do you know that laundry detergent also comes in spray type now??? I bought the refill pack as well but basically now you don’t have to pour out and risk getting spillage all over liao! Just one push into the detergent tray that’s it! (This is for front-load type.)
12. Wash tub cleaner
My most precious household item is my Hitachi washer haha. I’m sure you all have already read that story on my IG highlight. So to give love and care for it, I run a tub clean every now and then to make sure it’s clean and no mould/spore would grow in the tub.
Watch my IG highlight for demo. This one no need to explain. If you haven’t used a made-in-Japan cling wrap in your life before, trust me, your whole life has been a lie. HAHAHAHA.
Anyway there are two major brands – Kure Rappu (Kure wrap, the one in the above photo), and Saran Rappu. To me they don’t make a difference. Both good.
I don’t really buy make-up items so often anymore because… my make-up has become so… routine that I always just end up using the same thing and doing the same style that’s safe enough to make me chioer without looking ridiculous.
Here are some random but also favorite items:
UZU eye liner and lipstick. I also love how they changed the packaging into paper box so it’s more eco-friendly.
My autumn make items: Uzu Eyeliner in Brown, Uzu lipstick -2°C and Canmake’s new autumn cream cheek no.17.
That’s all for this time! I hope you enjoy this post and I look forward to writing my next shopping list. There are moreeeeee items I haven’t covered!
(Yup. Obviously daikon.)
Till next time!