How do you shop when physical isolation is the new normal? It’s certainly a transition if you’ve adopted the local habit of near-daily shopping. One solution is to transfer shopping online. Many of the following stores have both a physical presence as well as nationwide delivery systems, so you can stock up on pantry essentials and the occasional luxury without leaving home wherever you live.
Traveling to France is currently out of the question, so take an online trip to fine frozen foods manufacturer and retailer Picard to satiate your desire for food both Gallic and gourmet. Picard specializes in fresh frozen ingredients — mainly fruits and vegetables — as well as ready-to-eat meals, such as blanquette de veau (veal in white sauce stew) with rice and other time-saving sides and sauces. All the makings for a dinner party are here, with the store’s appetizers, French pastries and dessert items being especially popular. Convenience does not stump quality; Picard strictly limits the use of pesticides and maintains rigorous food preparation standards.
Registration is free. Shipping costs vary. Payment via credit card or cash on delivery. For more information, visit www.picard-frozen.jp.
Receiving a home delivery of European cheeses, homemade bacon, wagyu steaks, truffle-scented nuts, artisanal teas and Bordeaux wine used to seem nothing more than a luxurious treat. But now, this kind of shopping is the salve worth the splurge. Seijo Ishii, a purveyor of premium foodstuffs and alcohol sourced domestically and abroad, aims to fill the void. The variety of items online is not as plentiful as what’s available in-store, but delivery is free for orders over ¥8,000.
Shipping costs (if under ¥8,000) vary. Payment via credit card, cash on delivery, Amazon Pay or convenience store. For more information, visit www.seijoishii.com.
Channel your inner Madhur Jaffrey and make an Indian curry from scratch — it’s the COVID-19 in Japan cooking project you never knew you needed. Indian grocer Ambika carries an impressive stockpile of vegetarian pantry staples to assist you in this task, with beans and legumes, spices, chutneys and rice varieties in 1- and 5-kilogram bags all part of its arsenal. Frozen paneer cheese and chapatis are state-of-emergency freezer must-haves. Indian beers and wines are also available for the curious. Delivery is free for orders over ¥8,000, but when refrigerated or frozen products are ordered at the same time as regular items, deliveries are split and billed accordingly.
Shipping costs (if under ¥8,000) vary. Payment via credit card or cash on delivery. For more information, visit www.ambikajapan.com.
The Ito-Yokado supermarket chain operates across 20 prefectures from Hokkaido to Hyogo and boasts instantly recognizable branding, an impressive supply and distribution network, and enough technological clout to sync online shopping with real-time inventory. Guidance is also given to each supermarket’s peak shopping times should you absolutely need to purchase something in-store. Extra services include an online option with which you can request a fishmonger to prepare fish to personal preferences. So-called daily produce — pre-cut and pre-seasoned foods typically eaten as part of a Japanese meal — is prevalent. Raw items, aka vegetables, fruits and meat sold under the Seven Premium Fresh label, vary in availability.
Ito-Yokado’s online store opens daily at 5 p.m. Shipping is ¥330; plastic bags incur a ¥2 surcharge each. Payment via credit card or cash on delivery. For more information, visit www.iy-net.jp.
Oisix Ra Daichi
As comforting as carb loading can be, there’s only so much cake baking and pasta eating your body can take. Food that is both healthy and nourishing is a necessity. Oisix Ra Daichi, a company with physical stores in Kanto and Kansai, specializes in the distribution of organic produce and health foods. The company has several targeted services, but of particular note is Daichi wo Mamorukai, an organic agricultural products household delivery service adopting a COVID-19 appropriate mantra: “#StayHome,EatAtHome.” As the state of emergency continues, the company is expecting an influx of orders and recommends customers order mixed vegetable boxes instead of single items in case a particular variety is temporarily out of stock.
Shipping costs vary. Payment via credit card or cash on delivery. For more information, visit bit.ly/oisixradaichi-en.