Japanese cooking uses a variety of ingredients. What ingredients are easy to find in Finland and what are not?
I’ ve compiled a list of Japanese ingredients that can be bought in Finland, according to the level of difficulty in getting them. Some are surprisingly easy to find, while others are quite difficult to find. If you have any information on what you have seen in Finland, please let me know.
Difficulty Level ★★★
This is a list of foods that you can only buy in Asian markets if you go to a store that sells Chinese or Japanese food.
All the flour sold in Finnish markets is bread flour, contains lots of protain.
So, if you really need cake flour, you will have to go to an Asian market that sells Japanese ingredients.
However, even in situations where you really need light flour, you can get by with some ingenuity. Even tempura and udon noodles, which are said to absolutely require light flour, can be made with commercial flour in Finland.
Miso has recently been seen in large markets. I hope it will continue to take root and become less difficult to find.
[Japanese] Katsuobushi, Katsubushi
You can buy a bag of thin sliced bonito flake for about 1,000 yen. Yes, it’s so expensive for Japanese people. A friend of mine sends me these from time to time, and they are quite helpful. The problem is that I’m too grateful to use it very often. Now I have good amout of stock.
It is too high-grade to use, so I can only use it for New Year’s stews. Like katsuobushi, it is also difficult to use.
Ajinomoto is easy to buy, but dashi stock is more difficult to find. The most common one in Finland is from Shimaya, but it is a surprisingly expensive product.
I have a large bag of dashi stock sent to me from Japan, and use it. It lasts quite a long time. Making dashi is quite expensive, so I am grateful for the dashi base.
In large supermarkets that sell Japanese ingredients, you can sometimes find small amounts of mentsuyu. Basically, only in Asian markets.
Since it is too expensive to buy it, I make it myself. However, the ingredient dashi powder is also very difficult to find. Buying in bulk is a good idea.
So, if you give up and make white anko, matcha anko, or uguisu anko, you can use water-boiled beans, which makes it much less difficult.
Black Soy Beans
What we call black beans in Japan are black soybeans. They are a different kind from the black beans we often see. It is an essential ingredient for New Year’s Day.
At one time you could buy soybeans at large supermarkets. But they stopped selling them, probably because they were not popular. And the difficulty level skyrocketed.
You CANNOT Buy in Finland
If you are very lucky and have a good routine, you may be lucky enough to find some of these items. If you find any, please let me know.
The 14% alcohol content can only be bought in Finland at the liquor store alko. And I’ve never seen it before.
It’s delicious when dressed with boiled broccoli.
Hijiki, soybeans, fried tofu…Hijiki stew is a luxury item.
It’s getting tough to write.
I just want to make yokan.
I love it.
You CAN Buy Many!
What do you think? If this were in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, or any other country, I’m sure it would be much easier to get many things. Still, my impression is that many things are surprisingly available.
I live in Tampere, the third largest city in Finland. If I lived in Helsinki, I would be able to get more things, and if I went to the countryside, I would be limited in what I could get.
However, I have heard that Japanese food products have become surprisingly abundant compared to 10 years ago. Of course, it is hard and sad to not be able to get what you want to eat, and I don’t know how many times I have cried.
But I think it is a good opportunity to know what is enough, and I am taking it positively.
Let’s use what we can get wisely and have a delicious meal.