Japanese Pantry delivers straight to your doorstep

photo courtesy of Yamaki Jozo

Local San Francisco chefs founded The Japanese Pantry, an online Japanese ingredients store, in 2015 to sell Japanese traditional ingredients brought from provincial Japanese businesses.

The company sells Japanese ingredients, including mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), shoyu, rice vinegar and sesame oil, which are essential in making Japanese food.

Greg Dunmore, a co-founder of The Japanese Pantry, was fascinated by Japanese food when he first visited Japan more than 10 years ago.

“Instantly, I was blown away by the food and culture and the beauty of food in Japan,” Dunmore said. “When I eat dashi, I feel like I’m satisfying my soul.”

After his first visit to Japan, Dunmore became the owner chef of Nojo, a California izakaya-style Japanese restaurant in the city’s Hayes Valley, where he worked until it was purchased by a Japanese company in 2015.

When Dunmore came back from Japan, he found it hard to find quality Japanese ingredients in the U.S.

“I was always like, ‘why can we get best Italian olive oil, but when it comes to soy sauce, we are getting, like, OK stuff. Like, why can’t we get good stuff?’”

Dunmore and co-founder Chris Bonomo traveled throughout Japan approximately 15 times to meet with local chefs and producers. Dunmore stressed the importance of visiting Japan to taste various ingredients.

“Everything that we sell in our Website is from the places we’ve visited,” Dunmore said. “We’ve become very good friends with a lot of the chefs. It’s really important for us to make those relationships.”

Japanese products from The Japanese Pantry have been distributed throughout the nation from San Francisco to New York.

“We want to bring really good artisanal Japanese food to everyone,” Dunmore said. “Our goal is, in certain years, when you go to Safeway, you are going to be able to find really good Japanese ingredients.”

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