Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Guide to Eating at Mitsuwa Marketplace

Mar Vista's Mitsuwa Marketplace is home to one of the best food courts in all of Los Angeles (and California, and the US, and the world... Ok maybe not, but it's pretty amazing). Donburi, ramen, curry, and so much more, Mitsuwa is one of my favorite places for an affordable, tasty meal and unique snacks.

Pork Katsu Curry from the Misasa stall, which specializes in donburi (rice bowls) and deep fried foods.

Santouka Ramen's shio (salt) ramen combo. Santouka is the most popular stand in the food court, and the shio ramen is their signature dish. Hot, rich, salty pork broth filled with thin ramen noodles, pork, bamboo shoots, and kamaboko. On the side you get a soy sauce flavored hard boiled egg and your choice of rice bowls, my favorite being the ikura (salmon roe).

Mitsuwa's hidden gem: green tea flavored soft serve ice cream located in the little cafe connected to their bookstore. This creamy soft serve isn't too sweet, allowing the strong green tea flavor to shine through. The wafer cookie it comes with is perfect for dipping in the ice cream. 

After getting lunch at the food court, make sure to check out the market's selection of delicious and unusual Japanese snacks.  

I love green tea and combined with red bean it's even better. Luckily, Mitsuwa carries quite a few treats in this flavor. One of my favorites is their package of round green tea flavored castella cakes (a lightly sweetened Japanese sponge cake) filled with sweet red bean. These cakes are very light and airy, and perfect with a cup of green tea. 

Another of my green tea flavored finds are the Oreo Soft Cookie green tea flavored cookies, which are unlike any Oreo you've ever tasted. It's more like a very mildly flavored little cake with green tea filling sandwiched between two puffy disks of not so sweet chocolate. My only complaint is that I wish the flavors were stronger.

Calbee corn snacks are the perfect example of a Japanese snack food. In Japan, corn on the cob is flavored with soy sauce, not butter and salt like American corn on the cob, and in my opinion so much better. These crunchy little treats are kind of similar to Cheetos, just not cheese flavored. 

Mitsuwa Marketplace : 3760 South Centinela Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90066 

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