Seiwa Market is a Japanese grocery that opened in September 2016. It’s located at 1801 S. Dairy Ashford, #116, in a large strip center, flanked by numerous Asian businesses. I’ve been to a number of Chinese and Korean groceries in Houston, and was curious to see what this Japanese market offered. It has an unusual business philosophy, which is stated on its website as “What is the right thing to do as a human being?” (Wouldn’t it be nice if we all stopped to think that from time to time?) Seiwa Market advertises that it offers “affordable Japanese quality products at affordable price through partnership with GYOUMU Supermarket Japan.”
This little market is packed full of interesting things. The produce department, which is the first area you’ll see when you enter, although small, offers plenty of fresh items, including a variety of fruits (biggest apples I’ve ever seen), herbs, potatoes and yams, shishito and other peppers, and citrus.
Beautiful red yams
One produce item that intrigued me was gobo, which I was unfamiliar with:
I’ve since learned that gobo is burdock, a thin root vegetable that grows to be more than two feet long. It’s often added to stews and stir fries, and pickled gobo is sometimes sold to accompany sushi or rice dishes. It’s crunchy and has a sweet flavor similar to lotus root. I wish I’d bought some when I saw it. Next trip.
If you’re a green tea aficianado, you’ll be ecstatic at the many green tea and matcha items available. In addition to dozens of excellent green teas (sold loose or in bags) and matcha powders, there were a bunch of green tea confections — a whole end cap display full of them
How about some matcha Oreo bits sandwiches, for example?
Or matcha Oreo soft cookies?
Matcha Pocky, anyone?
On weekends, the market has soft, sticky sweets flown in from Japan. These were very popular with shoppers–there was a line to buy them, and they sold out by lunchtime:
There’s lots of interesting grocery items on the shelves, including a wide variety of sweet and savory snack foods and condiments.
Of particular interest to me was the many rice cookers for sale (I’ll be purchasing one for each of my kids soon). They range in price from around $50 to several hundred dollars.
There was also a nice little assortment of Zojirushi thermoses, as well as tiffins, and lunch kits. Zojirushi thermoses are incredible, and will keep your liquids hot or cold for at least 24 hours — they are reportedly popular with chefs for keeping sauces warm.
Seiwa Market also offers prepared foods and sushi, and although I did not try any on this visit, they appeared to be fresh and nicely prepared.
On my way to check out I passed a freezer case full of Mushi Cake. I don’t know what Mushi Cake is, but I am guessing it is a popular treat. Maybe next time — to go with the gobo.
There are some unusual recipes on the market’s website, none of which looked terribly appealing to me, but are worth checking out for the unintentionally awkward translations, like this description of Mixed Rice of Ginger: “A little ginger and soy sauce are accented. Because ginger is not too tight, I will eat many cups! It is an easy recipe that can be even surplus rice. If you keep the mixed rice with a rice cooker etc. for 1 ~ 2 hours, the taste becomes familiar and it becomes even more delicious. Well, maybe ginger is “not too tight,” but I’m pretty sure that if you eat “many cups” of this mixed rice, soon your pants will be. 🙂
My daughter and I enjoyed our visits to Seiwa Market. It’s quite out of the way for us, so we won’t be going regularly, but when we’re in the area, we will be sure to stop by.