When my husband and I attend shows at the Fillmore Auditorium, we usually park at the underground garage beneath Japantown’s Kintetsu Mall. It’s convenient to the Fillmore, safe and surprising for San Francisco, affordable. If we have time before the show, we’ll cruise around the Mall, which has some wonderful shops and restaurants, including the largest Kinokuniya bookstore this side of the Pacific. (MANGA ALERT! MANGA ALERT!). But my favorite by far is Daiso.
For the uninitiated, Daiso is the Japanese version of the dollar store. (Ok, yes, everything here is a 1.50 USD, but let’s not split hairs). For a kitchen enthusiast, this is a dangerous place. There are so many
inexpensive Japanese kitchen and household items, its mind boggling. I regularly pickup bundles of chop sticks, my son’s favorite Japanese candies and Ramune (a Japanese soft drink where you pop a marble down from the top to make it “fizz”). It brings back wonderful memories of my Nana Butler taking me to the Ben Franklin 5 and 10 and giving me 2 dollars and letting me buy whatever I wanted. But I digress..
Our last trip was on the 6th when we went to see Gary Numan at the Fillmore. I dragged my goth-y looking son and ever patient husband through the store. These are things I never even thought that I needed, but they are really handy! And they cost 1.50 USD!!!
A Japanese sauce strainer. This one is really handy for rinsing beans and rice. I’m sure I’ll find a plethora of uses for this and it’s shape makes it easy to store in our already overcrowded cabinets in the kitchen.
A microwave noodle cooker. I’m going to use this for steaming soba noodles soon, but in the meanwhile, it makes a great microwave vegetable steamer. Did I mention this was only a 1.50 USD?
Two large blue bowls. Daiso has a complete section of Japanese tableware from dishes to plates to whatever. A long time ago, when my kids were young, I pretty much gave up on having matching every day dishes and now have an eclectic set made up of varying shades of blue, grey and black acquired from thrift shops, the Dollar Tree and yes, Daiso. While many of their larger dishes are priced above 1.50 USD, these weren’t. They’ve already done duty as serving bowls for rice and vegetables. If they are broken by a household mishap, I’m only out a 1.50 USD as opposed to the 20 or more dollars I would have spent at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Or I could repair them and do my own version of Kintsugi, and make them art objects!
So if we are in San Francisco and want to make me happy, just do what my Nana did so many years ago. Give me a few bucks, and let me go wild in Daiso!