Incredibly multicultural, Toronto is an eater’s dream – but how about a cook? Within one week, I’ve found little mom and pop groceries selling Meditteranean, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, European, Chinese, and Polish goods. Japanese shops are amongst them, selling all you need for most basic recipes. The only downfall to Toronto is that there are so many ethnic markets, that finding the one you’re looking for takes a little bit of research. Here are the results of mine.

P.A.T. Central Market:

Although it’s a Korean market, P.A.T. carries a larger selection of Japanese food items than some of the Japanese-specific stores in the Toronto area. A  one-stop-shop for all pantry items, this is where you will find everything you need to keep in stock, with the added bonus of Korean ingredients, to boot. P.A.T. is also elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, with locations in North York, Scarborough, Mississauga, and Thornhill.

Sanko Trading Company: (730 Queen Street West)

Small, but stocked with all of the basics plus Japanese dishware, snacks, traditional desserts (manjuu, anyone?) and prepared onigiri rice balls, this is certainly one place I’d head to for pantry-stocking. No fresh produce, and I don’t recall any seafood there, but  you’ll find everything else you need to make Japanese meals. They’re open 10 – 7 weekdays (except Tuesdays, when they’re closed) and 11 – 6 on Sundays.


Mainly Chinese in its product, T&T locations do carry a great stock of Japanese items, although you may have to supplement your visit there with other stores to get all of the items for your Japanese Cupboard. With 1 location “downtown” (on Cherry Street in the Port Lands) 5 others in the GTA and one in Ottawa, there should be one somewhere near you.

Sunny Foodmart: 747 Don Mills Road. Unit #60, East York

Completely unassuming from the outside, you’d never know that Sunny Foodmart is a treasure trove of Asian and Middle Eastern produce and products. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this grocery store in the middle of what appears to be an 80’s style strip-mall houses a really solid array of Asian staples, treats, and ready-to-eats. Certainly, it’s heavy on the Chinese products, but you can surely find most of what you need (and also peruse the aisles for exciting spices, sauces, and varieties of rice) at a store that clearly serves (and serves well) a multi-ethnic population.