AT:LA is excited to welcome new contributor Jonathan Lo to the mix. We are so lucky to have his eye on the scene! It's no secret that Japanese grocery stores are abundant in yummy treats for both your stomach AND your eyes. But what could be better than a Japanese grocery store? How about a Japanese 98 Super Store?!
The Marukai supermarket chain (website in Japanese only), a long time staple in Little Tokyo, imports many varieties of Japanese products, including food, furniture, home accessories and small appliances. Marukai also has several 98 Super Stores (click for locations). These "98 Super Stores" are set up similar to your typical "99 Only" or "Dollar" stores, except almost all the items are imported from Japan. Every aisle is filled with super "kawaii" (japanese for "cute") things, and although not everything is actually "98", there didn't seem to be anything over $1.50 (with the exception of some larger furniture pieces.)
The best thing about the Marukai 98 Super Stores is their selection of plastic food containers and gadgets. Since the Japanese are famous for their space saving efficiency, all of these items are perfect for those of us with smaller kitchens and refrigerators. Also quite appealing are their selection of ceramic plates, cups and vases. As with most surplus discount-type stores, their stock is constantly changing. Your best bet to find amazing deals is to check back frequently. There are 4 Marukai 98 Super Store locations throughout the LA and OC areas (Gardena, Cypress, Torrance, and Fountain Valley).