Umami Mart Barware
ReCPY: Important Kitchen Items From Japan

I've been in the US for 14 years, and I have pretty much tried all of what this great country has to offer for the kitchen. As you remember, from Smart Lidz to vegetable-life-prolonging bags to cheap mandolins, I've experimented with many gadgets, and found them all very useless (and almost lost my thumb). But I guess the stand mixer is super great, which I don't think is sold in Japan (or if they are, I wouldn't be surprised they cost $1,500 a pop). Or the American sized jumbo oven (which I don't have currently) is great to cook large quantities, like a 20 pound turkey, roast vegetable, apple pie, and stuffing all at the same time.

Having said that, I haven't converted on two things (or I should say, I re-discovered the beauty and usefulness of them) in my kitchen. I think they are worth while.

1. Saran Wrap

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Let me tell you, American saran wrap absolutely sucks. It's basically just a piece of plastic, nothing more.  Glad's Cling Wrap is somewhat ok, but you can never compete with the quality of saran wrap from Japan.

Words can't explain the strength, durability, and stick-ability of Japanese saran wrap. you don't need Ziploc containers, you can just cover leftover dish or bowl of leftover food with a piece of wrap, and it's tightly covered, so no need to worry about its freshness the next day.

On top of this, the sizing is so smart. There are wide variety sizes available in Japan, but even here, there are long (regular size) and short ones.   Short ones are perfect for covering small dishes.  That's so Japanese, to not waste anything, even saran wrap!

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Though it's about $5 per 20 meters (65 feet), which is a bit more expensive than the US brands, it's worth every penny!

2. Dish Washing Sponges

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This is actually cheaper than any of the sponges you find here. Again, words cannot explain how great this is. The lacy outer with soft sponge inside keeps suds very very well.  When you wash dishes, you want to have enough suds, and this is super perfect for it. It's very soft and won't scratch anything.  Five of them for about $1.50. What a bargain!

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You can buy these items at any of the Japanese grocery stores in the city. Trust  me, they are worth trying.
Column: ReCPY
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7 comments

  • Though I love my sponge, I always cut the lacey part when I wash knives.. I am happily content with this one since major cleaning is done by a powerful dishwasher. But if I have to manually wash tough stains, I use bar keeper’s friend. That shit is amazing, especially on All Clad and Le Creuset!

    Yamahomo on

  • Hear you on the sponges, I miss them now that I live in Austria and they only have those dumb yellow and green ones.

    Sasa on

  • Yamohomo – Totally agree about the saran wrap. I noticed it’s thick but doesn’t loose any clinginess at all. In fact, it seems to cling to the right things (the bowl and not to itself).
    As far as the sponges go – yes, they are great for gentle cleaning – which is fine for Japanese cooking where there is seldom any tough cleaning (no ovens, no dairy and thick fats), but I would find myself going through a lot of these in Tokyo when I would make something that wasn’t Japanese – i.e. cheese related or Chinese-related. For those tougher jobs, I do think you need that scour layer that you find on American sponges.

    yoko on

  • I totally agree about the saran wrap. English cling film is so crap, I can’t even cut a piece without messing up.

    sakura on

  • hello Sasa-chan! thanks for stopping in- your blog is awesome!

    i need to get this bar-keeper’s friend. the bottom of my red pot is still totally charred from when i made chutney, and i have not been able to get it off. ugh.

    saran wrap for restaurant-use is very good quality, i must say. they’re these huge giant spools, but i think they’re def the best.

    kayoko on

  • Caroline, i don’t know where you live, but any Japanese grocery store in NYC carries various sizes.

    Yamahomo on

  • Can you buy the Saran Wrap in America? Mine all came from Japan. I also have a med. suze one that is 50mx22cm. Would love to get more.

    Caroline R Bain on

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