Grocery Shopping Tips

For information on stores and shopping in Okayama, follow this link: Shopping

Produce

- fresh fruit is really big and expensive. Especially when not in season.
- cheaper fruits are available as imported items in regular stores.
- vegetables also have problems with being expensive when not in season.
- pre-packaged salad comes in small bags or containers.
- canned fruits and veggies are available.

Breakfast food

Bread - sold by number of slices which are thick by international standars. 5 or 6 slices are common, but thinner 10 slice bags can be found. Brown breads / Wholegrain / Wholemeal breads are very rare.
external image 11%2525205%25253A20%25253A45%252520PM.jpg
Milk- doesn't come in gallons, with Tetra Paks of 1L being most common. check the side label to see whether it's whole (100%) or half (50%) or skim.
Low-fat milk 低脂肪乳 [teishibou nyuu].
Non-fat milk 脱脂乳 [dasshi nyuu]
Eggs- the eggs may or may not be refrigerated in the store.
Cereal- the selection is not that big but can include a variety of corn flakes (brown sugar, regular, etc), healthy looking cereal, frosted flakes, and cocoa crispies. Granola can also be found in import stores. Oatmeal/porridge is rare in regular stores, but is available in import stores.
Yogurt- comes in many flavors in addition to plain.
Bacon- sold in small packages although long slices are available
Spreads - Peanut butter is available in many brands, and different fruit jams are available. Vegemite and other country specific spreads may be available from import stores.

Meat


Chicken
  • Breasts (ササミ)
  • Thighs
  • Wings
  • Legs / drumsticks
  • Ground / Minced

Pork
  • Thinly sliced
  • Pork 'steaks' (often 'for tonkatsu')
  • Ribs (small)
  • Thinly sliced meat
  • Ground / Minced
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Ramen style

Beef
  • Thinly sliced
  • Steaks (expensive, 'wagyu' / marbled style)
  • Steaks (cheaper, red meat with gristle, often 'Aussie Beef')
  • Ground / Minced
  • Pre-sliced steak meat
  • Round cuts (for roasting (rare))

Other
  • Hot dog-like wieners
  • Salami is available pre-sliced in packages
  • Offal (ホルモン) livers, hearts, intestine...

Your own local stores may contain larger serves, cheaper prices, or have additional preparations of meat.
There are also butchers, that sell meat by the gram, often in a wider variety of forms.

Seafood
- a variety of seafood can be found in abundance
- live seafood is available as well
- try the squid and octopus, tastes great, but you may need to get prepared serves if you're not used to cooking it.
- Also canned seafood is available

Rice

- You can buy bags of rice grain for your rice cooker or pot, or you can buy prepackaged rice that just needs to be microwaved.
external image 11%2525205%25253A16%25253A53%252520PM.jpg
- Rice is available in different types, such as mochi rice, new rice 新米 shinmai, and brown rice 玄米 genmai, however types other than Japanese rice grains are rare and sold in small quantities. For example, Jupiter sells Jasmine rice, precooked, in small packages for microwaving.

Condiments and seasoning

Sometimes condiments will be labelled with a katakana version of the English word, other times they will use the Japanese words.
- Ketchup
- Salad dressing (sesame seed, italian, ceasar, lemon, etc)
- Mayo (Japanese mayonnaise is rather different. Western varieties available at import stores)
- Salt : 塩 しお Shio
- Whole Pepper : 全体コショウ Zentai Koshou
- Ground pepper : 地上コショウ Chijou Koshou
- Mustard : 芥子 Karashi
- Seasonings come in a variety but some stores have better selection than others. Some will have English titles.
external image 11%2525205%25253A17%25253A09%252520PM.jpgexternal image 11%2525205%25253A17%25253A23%252520PM.jpg

Foreign foods, snacks, items

If you're in need of some specific items for a recipe, or just want a box of familiar cookies, check out Jupiter in Okayama's Ichibangai, or Kaldi Coffee Farm in Kurashiki's ARIO mall.
Imported items available:
- Asian / Italian / Indian sauces, mixes and spices
- Bread spreads
- Cereals
- Assorted snack foods
- Cheeses (expensive though)
- Drinks
For a small range of import snacks check out Plaza in Okayama's Ichibangai.

Things to check

- Your shop may charge for plastic bags, upon request, or they may not even supply bags at all. Be aware of this and prepare accordingly.
- Check if the store you will frequent often has any form of point card system. These cards can either allow you to redeem points for items, or may be redeemable for yen off of your purchase.
- Look out for discount stickers (pictures coming soon). You will find discounts such as X yen off, or X percent off, with the maximum often 50% off. Things like sushi and sashimi will often be 50% off near the end of the day, while bread and meat may be discounted after a few days. Some supermarkets discount meat only a little one or two days before the meat expires, and half off for the same day. Generally, they tend to do this towards the end of the day.