Story originally appeared on FoodCary.
Cary, NC – Cary has many locations for authentic Asian groceries but one store has a focus on Japanese foods and gifts that you can’t find anywhere else.
Toyo Shokuhin and Gifts is located on E Chatham Street in the Chatham Square shopping center with many other stores selling food from around the world. The store has been around for 23 years now and has maintained its location because of its dedication to real Japanese groceries.
Going through the aisles, there is something for each kind of shopper. If you are only interested in unique snacks and treats from Japan, you are covered. Here, you can get the popular chocolate cookie Pocky as well as harder to find items such as Meiji-brand chocolates, chocolates stuffed with fruits such as kyoho grapes and lychee and salty and savory treats with dried and fried dough, fish, mushroom and more.
Additionally, Toyo Shokuhin has a variety of drinks you’d have a hard time finding outside of the store. These include a wide range of iced coffees in cans and bottles, with iced coffee more popular in Japan and the trend starting there well before kicking off in the United States.
But you can also get the Japanese soda ramune. These are different from most American sodas in two ways. For one, there is more focus on fruity tastes, so while cola is available, there is everything from typical lemon-lime to banana and melon to yuzu and coconut.
The other way they are unique is the way it is carbonated. Instead of a can or bottle pressurized here, ramune bottles are sealed with a glass marble that you push in with a plunger. This releases the carbonation and actually keeps it fizzier for longer after opening.
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Story and photos by Michael Papich.