Although I have heard about Nissin World Delicatessen for awhile now, I never really had the inclination to visit this store. I figured that it would be no different to most of the foreign food stores I had tried, but that’s where I was wrong. The reason why I haven’t stumbled across this place before is due to its location in Azabu-Juban, and although it’s only a short 5 minute from the station, it is still a little bit out of the way from where I travel.
Nissin lacks the extravagant interior/exterior of some of the other foreign food outlets around Tokyo, but its enormous selection of products from all over the world more than compensates. Prices can vary ranging from reasonable to the quite expensive, but if there’s something you need which you couldn’t place elsewhere, then there is a decent chance that Nissin has you covered. For products that they don’t stock, I have heard it’s possible for them to import it in for you.
Starting off with Fruits, this shop has the widest selection of fresh fruits that I have seen in a Japanese supermarket. This includes exotic versions of local fruits such as Giant Pomelo’s from Kumamoto as well as Papaya, Passionfruit, Starfruit and more from various other countries.
If you’re looking to cook something at home and you need specific fresh ingredients then Nissin has all the basics covered. It’s also the first time I have seen big fresh red chilli in Tokyo, perfect for those with a higher spice tolerance.
Staples such as fresh basil, parsley and coriander are sold in bigger packs. I wouldn’t say its cheaper than buying them at your local supermarket, as I have managed to find an adequate amount of fresh herbs for around 100 yen. (Compared to the 450 yen for the big packs at Nissin).
The vegetable section is equally impressive, and the pictures here barely scratch the surface of what they have on offer.
Next up is meat. Again, Nissin has probably the best selection of meat at the butcher station, but if you come up short the Frozen section should have you covered. You can pick up various cuts of lamb, beef and pork. Although there are various supermarkets in Tokyo where you can order a cut of meat, I very rarely see such a large selection of lamb. I believe they also have duck which is another tough ingredient to source in Tokyo. Nissin seems to stock meat from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and also local Japanese Wagyu.
If you happen to have a big enough oven and you need to cater for Thanksgiving, there is also frozen turkey. Available in a few different sizes and brands too including the popular butterball turkey.
Additionally, in the frozen section you can find some of the more unusual types or cuts of meat.
As a side note, Nissin also labels a lot of its products clearly as Halal, which are not considered a priority for most Japanese supermarkets. Everything is labelled clearly in English too often with a brief description. Some of the staff speak English too, so if you need help they are should be able to help you out.
Japan has no shortage of options when it comes to rice with most supermarkets stocking several varieties. However, if you are looking for imported rice then your options tend to minimal to none. While Jasmine and risotto (usually Arborio) rice are usually not that tough to track down, I’ve never found such reasonably priced basmati rice or wild rice until I saw the prices at Nissin. I also saw multiple brands of risotto rice as well as couscous, quinoa, grains and beans.
If you’re picking up basmati rice then you’ll probably need some Indian curry to go with it. Maybe some Pappadums or Naan. I believe they also have most of the spices you need to make curry from scratch however, it is often easier to use a pre-mix jar or sachel. Moreover, there is a great range of instant curry choices for those quick mid-week meals.
If you’re looking to make something more European or western in flavour, then there is a huge shelf filled with dried spices for all different varieties of cooking. Most can be found at conventional supermarkets, but here you can find some rare exceptions too.
You should be able to find the right type of pasta to fit your culinary needs, and if you’re hankering for some good chunky non-miso soup your solution should be in stock too. How about a certain type of mustard, salsa or ketchup? You might not find exactly what you want, but there’s bound to be a very similar substitute.
I should also mention the variety of cheese that they stock, including huge 1kg blocks if you are in need of larger quantities.
One of the things I miss most from home is the familiar taste of certain types of junk food. Japan does have its own type of unhealthy snacks but sometimes the flavour is just not what you are craving. Personally, I sometimes pine for salt and vinegar chips, or Hokey Pokey ice cream, but these types of flavours are uncommon in most Japanese supermarkets. You may also need some big sized snack packs for game day with some mates. Extra butter popcorn for movie night? All of which are in stock.
Finally, Nissin’s final trick is the absolutely massive assortment of imported beers, wines and alcohol that I have ever seen. It takes up the whole 3rd floor of the building and just flows from aisle to aisle in a broad variety. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find just the right wine or beer you were seeking.
I should also point out a very small section on the 3rd floor which has products within a few months of expiry and which they sell for a heavily discounted price.
How to Get There
Take the Oedo or Namboku line to Azabu Juban Station. Get out at exit 3, turn right at the big intersection and you will see Nissin a few minutes down the road to your right. As mentioned the store is only a short stroll from the station.
They also do home deliveries and offer a discount if you spend over 20,000yen at one time. Check out more info at the Nissin World Delicatessen Website.