Buying Japanese Foods in Perth

Posted January 13th, 2011 in Perth WA No Comments »

Since  I started living in Perth I noticed that Japanese foods sold at grocery shops are very pricy here.  Chocolate, snacks, drinks, seasonings, etc…   Korean grocery shops sell similar items much cheaper.  I wonder why the price is so different between those items imported form Japan and South Korea.  I understand that everything in South Korea is much cheaper than in Japan, but the items are so similar (sometimes same name and same brand).

Some items such as daifuku (a Japanese sweet), naruto (fish cakes), natto (fermented soy beans) and other specific food items are made in Japan, and in that case the cost will be expensive. I understand that the grocery shops have to mark up the price in order to cover the cost of import and inspections by Aus government, it’s surprising that a pack of rice crackers I used to eat in Japan costs almost $10.00 here while the price in Japan is around few hundreds yen.  But even though the price is more expensive than other similar products that are imported from China etc, products of Japan still have demand.

Some products of Japan specify where the items are from on their packaging.  For example, this katsuo-no-tataki (bonito tataki) is a product of Yakitsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.  Japanese people know that Yakitsu is famous for bonito fishing, and Yakitsu-branded bonito is known for its delicious fat.  (I bought this frozen tataki at Super Fuji in Victoria Park.)

The other day I bought a pack of kinako (soy powder) from Maruyu and ate with dango I made (recipe).  This kinako is also a product of Japan, from Hokkaido.

I don’t mean that products imported from Japan are all better than other foods though.  Korean/Chinese grocery shops may sell the same products (the packagings are in Chinese or Korean, and the manufactured country is the same) at half the price.  Products from South Korea such as soy sauce, nori seaweed sheets and rice are very similar to Japanese ones and the prices are usually cheaper.  If you are not looking for something particular (e.g. Tokyo takuwan pickles, Hokkaido potato chips, Okinawa black sugar candies) you can browse around Korean grocery shops such as Hi Mart and Seoul Mart, and other Chinese grocery shops such as Kong’s Oriental.  Some well-known Japanese food such as Kikkoman soy sauce and Pokka drinks are from Singapore anyway (not products of Japan)!

Leave a Comment