One of the first things that we, japanese people, worry about when we move to a foreign country is about food. We really wonder if we can get Japanese food and ingredients there to prepare meals. It is very important when you live away from Japan. It is important for us to get food to make japanese cuisine.
Where to buy japanese ingredients ?
To look for japanese ingredients, the first places that I think of are the Asian supermarkets. Several asian shops are located close to the main station in Luxembourg.
Asian supermarkets and markets
In the Asian supermarkets such as Asian Market, in addition to the basic asian ingredients you can also find many other Japanese items including noodles, curry paste, gyoza skins, edamame, tofu, deep-fried tofu (aburaage), rice crackers, tea, beverages, salad dressings, various sauces and seasonings.
You can find there ingredients such as rice, miso, sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar, seaweed (nori), pickeld ginger (gari), bread crumbs (panko) or tofu, some vegetables familiar to japanese people. Shiitake, shimeji, white raddish (daikon) and Chinese cabbage (hakusai) can be purchased in many of the local supermarkets. They can be found easily in Luxembourg.
At Mangoo, close to Luxembourg Gare, you can find different kinds of frozen vegetables that might be useful such as bamboo shoots (takenoko), taro (satoimo) and lotus root (renkon).
La Provençale or fish corners in supermarkets
For sushi and sashimi, you can buy fresh fish at La Provencale* in Leudelange (big market for restaurants and enterprises) such as tuna (maguro), salmon (shake), yellowtail (hamachi) and scallops (hotate). Sashimi grade fish could also be purchased at Poissonnerie Centrale in Luxembourg and occasionally at the fish corner in Auchan Kirchberg and Cactus Belle Etoile.
One shop which should not be forgotten is Naturata, which has many japanese items that are all organic. You can get most of the basic ingredients and also many other things such as sesame paste (nerigoma), plum vinegar (ume su), dried plum (umeboshi), dried white radish (kiriboshidaikon), wasabi, soba, ramen, tempura-fix and more.
Some fresh greens are available at La Provencale*, such as mizuna and shiso.
If you need Japanese tea (sencha, matcha etc.), you can find them at tea shops such as Thé Gschwendner or Palais des Thés.
Luxembourg, a nice place to discover other culture and other food
As the Japanese food is getting more popular, finding Japanese ingredients outside Japan is getting easier comparing to some decades ago. However, it is true that it not the same as to go shopping in Japan. Unfortunately, the assortment is still limited and not all ingredients are exactly the same as in Japan. Many things you can get here are only frozen and not fresh. But after living in Luxembourg for a while, I learned to accept this and think positive.
Instead of complaining, we should try all the different ingredients we don’t see in Japan. I fell in love with Fennel and Artichoke, for example. I use rocket or watercress instead of shungiku for my sukiyaki or shabu-shabu. I am sure that you can make your own fusion cuisine using the local ingredients arranging with your Japanese recipe.
So enjoy shopping and cooking in Luxembourg!
* Please be aware that a membership is required in order to shop at Provencale since it is a whole sale market.
Tomoko Aymar, Japanese Ambassador for the Club of Just Arrived’s Ambassadors