Kanako's Kitchen

Where to Shop for Japanese Ingredients in Montreal

(Updated through July 2013)

It’s easy to find the ingredients to make great Japanese home cooking in Montreal if you know where to look. Here’s where we go:

This isn’t actually an Asian shop at all – the owners are Lebanese – but it’s still crucial to our shopping strategy.

The place sells an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables from all over the world. Tucked away behind weird African roots and exotic South American fruits you can find a wealth of Japanese veggies: your goya (bitter melon), your taro (japanese potatoes), your sasage (yardlong beans) and your daikon (Japanese radish). Oddly, products that are only seasonal in Japan can be found here year round.

The variety on offer is truly astounding: they even have “Salade Nappa” – Japanese style hakusai – which is very nearly (but not quite) the same as Chinese cabbage…which you can pick up just a few feet down the same aisle. Amazing! Prices are very reasonable. They’ve recently added a Poissonerie Sami (fish shop) to most shops.

Somehow every immigrant in town seems to love Sami Fruit, but few pure laine types seem to venture there: I guess it’s a little dizzying to the average montrealer.

They have a few locations around town. We usually go to the store just off Jarry on 19th Ave, in part because it’s right next to:

A massive Vietnamese/Chinese grocery store with an enormous selection of everything Asian, including live fish. If you want to make Chinese food, you really have to come here – there must be 800 types of noodle on offer!

There are three Kim Phat locations around town, including the simply gigantic flagship store in Brossard, down in the South Shore.

The Japanese section is maybe 3% of the store, but it’s still pretty decent.

You could almost do all your Japanese ingredient shopping here, but not quite: annoyingly, Kim Phat does not stock any kind of cooking sake. And they don’t sell the good quality Korean silken tofu we need for so many recipes. That sucks, because if they did we wouldn’t have to trek all the way to the West Side to finish up our shopping.

To make up for Kim Phat’s inexplicable blindspots, we usually go to one of these three:

epicerie-coreenne-japonaise_bento2

Epicerie Coréene & Japonaise: Very Cozy

This little store on Ste. Catherine Street, two blocks east of the old Forum, is the place to go for all your basic Japanese ingredients. Miso, sake, dashi, okonomiyaki sauce, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, konyaku, cooking sake…

All the basics are there. They have a decent selection of kitchenware and rice-cookers, too. You can’t always get the more exotic ingredients, though.

Crucially, they stock lovely silken tofu made in Korea, packaged in strange-looking sausage-like round containers – it’s worth making the trip just to buy those. Prices are ok, though not exactly low.

The friendly Korean staff will do what they can to help you find what you’re looking for in English or French.

This Korean-run store on 6151 Sherbrooke West has a wider selection of exotic Japanese ingredients than the competition on Sainte Catherine. They go well beyond the basics and into ingredients Japanese people surely miss from home.

To my amazement, I found Sake Kasu here, which is the leftover residue from making Sake: a cherished culinary treat from home I never thought I’d find abroad. They stock that good  round-package silken tofu too.

Prices here are lower than in Épicerie Coréene et Japonaise, but the store isn’t as clean. The place seems to be aimed at Korean shoppers, so if you don’t speak Korean you may not get very much help from the staff. Still, considering the prices and variety, this is an excellent address to keep in mind.

A third choice in the Westmount/NDG area is:

banzai

Banzai $1.99: Cleaner than the Marché d’Alimentation, Cheaper than the Épicerie

Although it bills iself as a kind of Japanese dollar store (well, ok, a $1.99 store), Banzai $1.99 is actually just a Korean/Japanese grocery store that sells cooking utensils and trinkets on the side (not unlike Épicerie Coréene & Japonaise, in fact).

Banzai $1.99 makes for a reasonable compromise between its two rivals in the area. It’s actually physically located in between them, and it falls in between them in terms of price, cleanliness and selection as well!


A final note, we usually skip the only genuinely Japanese (not Korean) grocery store in town: Miyamoto on Victoria St. in Westmount.

Although they have great products, their prices are just stratospheric – way too high. They do speak Japanese, though, so that’ll be one good reason to go there for some readers.

30 Responses

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  1. Mike said, on February 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Kanako,

    I found a website for a place called Miyamoto Foods on 382 Victoria Ave. http://www.sushilinks.com/miyamoto/index.html

    Does Miyamoto still exist? Is it a good store? I live in Ottawa, and would make a trip to shop once in a while! We have a few decent places in Ottawa, but no store that sells only Japanese items.

    BTW, I just found your site and it’s great!

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. caracaschronicles said, on February 7, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Hi Mike!

    Glad you like the blog. We’ve been to Miyamoto, and we were not really impressed. Prices are MUCH higher than at either of the Japanese-Korean stores, and the selection is not really better. The only reason I can see for going there is if you’re Japanese and need Japanese-speaking staff, or if you live very near-by (for convenience.) But the Korean-run shop on Sherbrooke West (in NDG) really isn’t that far away, has more variety on offer, and costs a third as much. What’s the point of Miyamoto, then?!

    (Kanako’s husband reporting.)

    • Mike said, on February 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for the reply! It’s really too bad that they are pricing themselves out of competition as compared to the other shops. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Similarly in Ottawa, the Korean-Japanese stores do a pretty good job of maintaining accessible pricing and a decent selection.

      We had a Japanese store on Slater Street, Kaedaya Mart, but it didn’t have a lot of items and prices weren’t cheap there either. Unfortunately it closed down over a year ago.

      I have to wonder aloud what the difference is between stores run by Japanese owners and others. The products can only get into Canada in a limited number of ways, so can the wholesale price really be so different? I understand that Japanese people are strongly concerned about food quality and safety (hence the delicious food!) So perhaps owners expect that Japanese customers will pay more for products that are assumed to be exported directly from Japan, and are possibly more fresh? I’d love to know their business plans. 🙂

      I think it’s still worth a trip to practice my Japanese, but I’ll look at the other stores that were suggested as well. ありがとうございました!

      Mike

      • caracaschronicles said, on February 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm

        It’s a little mystifying. One thing’s for sure, though: EVERYTHING in Westmount costs 3 times as much as in NDG, so maybe it’s not such a big mystery after all!

  3. Megan said, on February 7, 2010 at 7:57 am

    There’s another Korean store in NDG that’s comparable to the two others mentioned here in both selection and price. It’s called Ja Mae, and the address is 2116 Décarie (just south of Sherbrooke).

    • caracaschronicles said, on February 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm

      Nice! Will have to check it out…

  4. Yuri said, on November 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Hi, Kanako san. Hajime mashite..
    It is nice to know that somebody doing this and introduce Japanese cooking. And I envy you that you have some store in Montreal. It is difficult to buy some Japanese ingredients for me in my town but I try to use substitute stuff and make Japanese food. It is hard sometimes. However, if you want to eat some Japanese, you have to cook it. So my cooking skill is getting better I think. 😉 If you can find some substitute ingredients, please let us know on this website.

  5. Lizanne said, on February 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Hey guys 😛 i know a good Korean/Japanese Store (it’s for clothing,makeup,Jewelry ect) it’s called ViewShop :3 i don,t know the exact adress but it’s on St.Catherine street 😀 go check on google.It worth it!

  6. Louise said, on August 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I just found your site via CHOW-Tofu-Menuism Blog. I’m delighted to find a Japanese source-cook-Montreal-based! Getting your insights about local addresses made my day!

    I would like to add two addresses, for the south shore folks:
    the big Kim Phat at 7209 boul. Tachereau, Brossard,
    and also
    the small Marché Long Phat around 1325, boul Curé-Poirier O. Longueuil, near Taschereau.

    I am a regular at Marché Long Phat, and there I find almost anything I usually need (from fresh produce to green tea en leaves, bonito shavings, Kewpie, miso, kitchenware, etc.), except Okonomiyaki flour and Okonomiyaki sauce. But those I found at the big Kim Phat. This big grocery store has so many things, some so new to me that I can’t compare prices and quality yet. I was amazed to see that they have 1 meats freezer for (about) 4 fishes/seafood freezers! I keep it as a very good address for diversity, and trying new things, like their fresh galanga root, the frozen eel (with sauce) and their assorted stuffed buns.

    • kanako said, on October 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Hi Louise,
      thank you very much for the adresses! I’ve been to the big Kim Phat in Borssard, but I didn’t know the Marché Long Phat. I’ll check it, too.

  7. Sunny said, on April 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    You forgot Miyamoto on Victoria, which is an ONLY japanese grocery. It is a little expensive, but there you can find yuzu juice, arame seaweeds, dried maitake and kuzu. They have a lot of prepared seafoods and about 15 types of miso! I bought a nice suribachi there! They have a lot of japanese tools, dishes, nabe, okonomiyaki pans… and they also have a bunch of japanese cooking books in french and english. The owners speak english and french and are always very helpful. Oh they even sell snacks, prepared onigiri, sushi… But yeah, the only thing is that it is a little more expensive, but when you cannot find a japanese product anywhere, try it! The only thing tjey didnt have was okara (soybean pulp?), but they have soooo much.

    • chaneldolcezza said, on July 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Thanks so much for the info and locations!
      Im from west island and was wondering if I could get Shiro Miso Paste around here…
      Does Kim Phat sell Miso..?

      Thanks sooo much!

      • Francisco Toro said, on July 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        yup, there are 3 or 4 kinds of miso (white miso, red miso, miso with dashi already added to it) for sale in the Japanese section at Kim Phat. It’s pretty good.

        • Chanel said, on July 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

          Thanks for the reply..
          I found Miso aged three yrs at at a local store called Biotope in Vaudreuil. When I put the first spoon in hot water and started to mix it in..I noticed a live bug the size of a flea swimming in my soup! and it wasn’t alone!!! I just wont attempt to try Miso again.

        • Francisco Toro said, on July 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

          That’s some bad luck right there. I’ve been eating miso 2-5 per week for the last ten years and have never ever seen such a thing…

  8. Emily Cannell said, on July 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the advice. Do any of these sell bottled green tea?

    • Francisco Toro said, on July 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Bottled green tea is not hard to find. Pretty much all of these stores sell it, except Sami Fruit!

  9. Jane brown said, on October 20, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I am looking for Green Tea Kit Kat bars….has anyone seen them around town.

    • Lodo said, on February 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Yes, the Korean-Japanese store on Sherbrooke W (the one mentioned in the above article) used to carry them. Haven’t been there for a while though.

  10. lagatta à montréal said, on December 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    How about Marché Hawaï? I’ve only been to the one in Saint-Léonard (I live in Little Italy, near Jean-Talon Market and the little knot of Southeast Asian shops around the corners of Jean-Talon and St-Denis). They do have a Japanese aisle. I’d love to get good cooking sake from a supermarket – I usually stock up at the Japanese association bazaar, in Villeray, not far from my place. They didn’t have any this year.

  11. Nick said, on January 18, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    For sushi..what’s the best rice and where can I find it in Montreal? I bought calrose medium grain but it never taste right when prepared.

  12. Linda said, on February 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Can you recommend a store on the West Island? I am really trying to get my hands on brown calrose rice, but so far no luck at regular grocery stores.

  13. Francois said, on February 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Can someone tell me where i can get yeast to do sake? Already have the koji spore

  14. Fanny said, on April 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Hello ! Thank you for all the recipes and good tips. I really enjoy cooking Japanese dishes and I want to try some recipes with sake kasu. Unfortunately I couldn’t found it at the Korean store on Sharebrook. I asked the staff but I am not sure that he understood what I was looking for. I saw that they are many ways to store it. Is it possible to tell me the brand or maybe how is it conditioned in the store ? And where ? Maybe in a box with the miso, but I wasn’t able to found it ? Or maybe it is not any more in sale… Thank you for the help !

  15. Caro said, on July 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Any ideas if i can find green tea kit kat in mtl area ? Thanks

    • Lodo said, on February 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      The Korean-Japanese store on Sherbrooke W (the one mentioned in the above article) used to carry them. Haven’t been there for a while though.

  16. mateo klopp said, on March 27, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Hello Kanako,
    I was wondering where I could find Glutinous rice flour? I couldn’t find it in the shop list.
    thanks in advance!
    Mateo

  17. Sharon said, on September 7, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Another Korean store that sells Japanese ingredients and has a good selection and so-so prices is Jang Teu on rue St-jacques in the Lasalle/Westmount area. The staff is very friendly and I’m happy not to have to go downtown. They have parking also, so you don’t have to park on the street. During the week, they also have a to-go buffet where you can pack your own lunch, priced by weight. Check it out! 🙂

  18. Vida said, on December 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Ho I’ve been looking for perilla powder, the places that you mentioned, did you ever seen it? Thanks on advanced

    • Vida said, on December 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      I meant hi


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