28 Nov How to have a holiday feast in Tokyo, without breaking the bank
You’ve come to Japan and have been enjoying your Japanese life. Love eating all the fresh Sushi, Ramen, Yakitori, and Katsudons you can find on almost any street. Yet the holidays are near, and you long for that festive feast that you enjoyed with family and friends back home. You want to keep that tradition alive, and KFC just won’t suffice (KFC is all right, but… -what, Japan?).
(Turkey header image by Andrea Goh)
So where can you find your holiday meals, and is it even possible?!
Yes, you can have it all! 🙂
Here is a list of shops, restaurants, and ways that can make the holidays in Japan, feel just like home.
Oh, nothing says A Holiday Meal like Turkey. It’s the star of the show! The smell of that delicious juicy bird slowly roasting fills your house, letting you know that it’s that special time of year! Yet, when you go to your local supermarket in Tokyo, you’ve never seen turkey meat in any form; let alone a whole roast. If anything, the most meat they sell in one package is a set of 3 chicken breasts.
Is it even possible to find turkey?!
Or will it cost me a “wing” and a leg? Since all Turkeys are imported to Japan, it won’t be as affordable as you might be accustomed to, but here are a few spots we recommend!
1. Nissin World Delicatessen
Nissin World Delicatessen supplies a whole range of (frozen) turkeys. A vast butcher/deli selection (think Prime Rib), harder-to-find produce, and an entire floor of specialty wines. Boxed stuffing, cans of pumpkin, gravy mixes, and spices as well. Possibly a one-stop-shop for all your holiday dishes. Although there are other international supermarkets within the area, this is the most reasonable.
2. Good Ol’ Costco
It’s the same warehouse as back home (though, with maybe less people spending 2 hours just eating samples, than you’re used to). If you’re planning to live in Tokyo for over a year, it is entirely worth it for the membership fee. They sell frozen turkeys and even spiraled ham, bread rolls, fresh cranberries, and everyone’s favorite- pumpkin pie.
3. The Flying Pig
No time to shop or don’t even own a car to lug all the items home? TheFlyingPig is an online shopping site that sells items from Costco, including turkeys, and you don’t need a Costco membership to use their services!
Pumpkin Pie… bliss.
Never heard of Christmas Cake? Well- apparently- in Japan, Christmas is not Christmas without a shortcake topped with strawberries. Yes, it is delicious, but can’t we eat that any time of the year? After you’ve stuffed yourself to the brim, you want a big slice of pumpkin pie topped with whip cream- now that’s heaven. 🙂
Check these places out to help make that slice of heaven come true!
Kaldi Coffee Farm
Jam-packed with western and imported goodies, here you will find the best prices. Mostly dry goods, including canned pumpkin, but also a small chilled and frozen selection.
A few pie shops around town sell made-to-order pies for the holiday seasons.
- Rapoppo (らぽっぽ / all year round)
Japanese Baked Potato Apple Pie is to die for, and priced under ￥1,000!
- Hudson Market Bakers (whole pumpkin and apple pies)
- Granny Smith Apple Pie (whole apple or sweet potato apple pie).
5-9-9 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku (many other locations)
Make pumpkin pie yourself!
A holiday feast can really add up, especially when you are accustomed to prices back home. Did you know the Japanese Kabocha (squash) is very similar to a Pumpkin taste? Roast a Kabocha, scrape out the inside and use that as your canned pumpkin. Or even better, buy the bag of frozen already cooked Kabocha, let it defrost, and voila…you have a Japanese version of a creamy pumpkin pie base!
Where there might be a problem…
Don’t own an oven? You may be accustomed to having a full-blown restaurant-level kitchen back home, but in Japan, most houses/apartments don’t include an oven. A shocker, I know.
Japanese cuisine is mainly cooked on the stove-top. So how can you roast a turkey or bake a pie, then?! …Or holiday cookies, casseroles, and all those comfort foods?
It might be time to invest in an oven… (really!)
Japanese ovens are not as big as back home, but you can surely fit a 10lb turkey in a larger sized one. Available to buy at most large Electronic stores!
Find an alternative
A close fix for the craving can be mini ham blocks or, smoked turkey and chicken legs. Local grocery stores will have these!
Restaurants serving Holiday Meals
If all else fails- or you just want to go out- book a holiday meal at one of these restaurants! Most western eateries offer a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and here are a few noteworthy ones:
So really- whatever you are looking for, can be found if you know where to look.
Invite your friends, get shopping, and start creating new holiday traditions that you will remember for the rest of your life.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! – Team Apts.jp