Mitsuwa Market

by - 5:30 AM

On Sunday, we visited Mitsuwa Market. Mitsuwa is one of the largest Japanese supermarkets in the US, located about 10 minutes away from O'Hare Airport in Chicago. A lot of my friends have always recommended I should check it out. Frequented by locals, they carry all authentic Japanese foods, groceries, appliances, books, cosmetics, candies, and so many more items. I didn't know what to expect but I was excited! My good friend, Brian, offered to take us and show us around. I trust Brian completely as he's been to Japan several times for months at a time. Brian told us that Mitsuwa is the closest he gets to actually visiting Japan. He also told us that we would be exploring the grocery store, the book store, the liquor store, as well as the food court and bakery.

"This place must be huge!" I thought. Surely, I would get lost. I mean, sometimes I lose Chhally inside Target. But once we entered, we were immediately hit by the sights, sounds, smells, and air conditioning!

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We browsed the grocery store first. Finding so many varieties of different things. When I visit my local Vietnamese grocery store in Milwaukee, I am usually familiar with a lot of what is being sold. Here at Mitsuwa, there's a plethora of things I had neither seen nor heard of!

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Then we hit the food court. The food court reminded me of a mall's, there were about 6 or 7 different place you could order food from. Most are authentic Japanese, one was Chinese, and another sold Korean food.

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You can see Brian at the bottom right! He was getting some water. I thought it was neat that they had free ice cold water available at every corner of the food court. We also ordered our first meal from this shop.

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Brian ordered the beef combo. Thinly sliced beef cooked with onions.

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Chhally ordered the Udon noodles. Delicious! He said they were the best he's had.

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I went classic with the Tonkatsu. A pork cutlet that's battered and fried in Panko. Everything was SO good.

After eating we went and shopped. We all stocked up on tons of Japanese chocolates and candy! I even found the ever-so-rare Green Tea Kit Kats! Later, I found out that I was in the right place at the right time. As the Green Tea Kit Kats are so rare and hard to find, they usually sell out within a couple hours to maybe a day of stocking the shelf. In all honestly, it tastes like a sugar cookie. 

Their bakery is so adorable. It's Hippo themed and aptly named, "Pastry House Hippo." I absolutely thought I'd never see the day my favorite animal would be the theme inside a bakery! My two favorite things in the world! I could not contain my excitement. 
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Afterwards, Brian wanted to buy some alcohol from their liquor store. The selection of Asian beers is immense! And fairly priced. Chhally and I browsed the bookstore, where I scoped out the Japanese car scene through their tuner magazines. Chhally was giddy by the sheer amount of manga comic books they were selling for $1 each. They even sold crafty items like origami sets and calligraphy brushes. Eventually after hours of shopping and browsing, we went back to the food court so the guys could order more food. I wasn't too hungry so I had a bite of a Japanese burger called the Gabutto Burger from one of my friends. I immediately got up to order one for myself. It was THAT good! The sauce on this burger was indescribable.

They have a great selection of pre-packaged sushi. Unfortunately, we were so full we didn't try any. They all looked fresh and well-made. Next time, I will make it my mission to get some sushi!

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I also bought a ton of Japanese beauty masks!

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Chhally also bought a small canister of Japanese hair styling gel called Gatsby Moving Rubber. We are excited to try these products since Japanese culture is really in-tune with their beauty stuff. I'll be posting our reviews on these products later! :)

Mitsuwa Market
100 E Algonquin Rd
(between Arlington Heights Rd & Tonne Dr) 
Arlington HeightsIL 60005
(847) 956-6699
Mitsuwa is open daily from 9am to 8pm.
**Food court is cash only!**
**Liquor store will card everyone in group even if only one is purchasing alcohol**

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