A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Japanese Pantry in Portland

My family moved to Eugene, Oregon, from a small fishing town in Kanagawa, Japan, when I was 5 years old. In the following years, my mom’s new American friends would regularly ask her to accompany them to our local Asian market. My mom and I thought it was kind of weird at first, that people would need help with something as mundane as shopping. Others may even see it as tokenizing. But as I got older, became more interested in food, and began shopping at Chinese, Korean, and Mexican markets, I started to understand my mom’s friends’ dilemma: I’d wander through aisles stocked packets of unfamiliar chiles, refrigerators full

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