Learn banner Savory Japan Home


Assembling a Basic Pantry
Although some of the recipes on this site contain nothing more exotic than soy sauce – which has become somewhat of a regular American condiment – it should be noted that buying the basic pantry items will involve a bit of an investment. However, most of these items have a long shelf life, and are very versatile. I’ve put together a basic pantry list that will help you get started. For any unfamiliar items, please go to the ingredient section for explanations and photographs:

Soy sauce
Japanese rice wine vinegar
Miso paste (awase miso is the most versatile kind)
Japanese rice
White sesame seeds

When you decide Japanese cooking is for you, you will want to expand your larder with:
Red miso
White miso
Black sesame seeds
Yuzu juice in a bottle
Tonkatsu sauce
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Dried hijiki
Dried wakame
Udon noodles
Soba noodles
Somen noodles

Don’t let this list discourage you. Once you're equipped, you can usually buy fresh produce and fish at the better western supermarkets, and you will be well on your way to creating healthy, delicious and elegant meals.

Before you go to the market, be sure to read my shopping hints.

Assembling a basic pantry for Japanese cooking will involve an initial investment, but the basic ingredients are versatile and have a long shelf life