If you haven’t been to one, you wouldn’t know that Mitsuwa is almost as close as someone in the United States will get to visiting Japan without actually leaving the US.
Mitsuwa is the largest Japanese supermarket in the United States (so says their website.) I’d say that’s only about half right. It’s more of a mini-mall; it has a grocery store, with produce, fresh meats, baked goods, and all the standard grocery things you’d expect in a store. Then it goes further with rows outfitted with rice cookers, beauty products, bento boxes, and the things that no good Japanese person would do without.
By half right, I’ve really only described half the store. The other half is other storefronts; a Japanese book and music store, video store, ceramic ware, and the food court. Now, an American is only used to a food court at the local mall, with the slew of fast food joints that they expect. The Mitsuwa food court is completely different. Each store is pretty unique; given that I’ve been to both the Edgewater NJ Mitsuwa and the Chicago Mitsuwa, I’ve seen that they’re different in stores.
Basically, you can get your standard Japanese quick lunch fare. One store serves ramen, another udon and soba dishes, pre-made sushi, and even Korean dishes.
This past business trip I made to Chicago, we were a scant 3 miles from Mitsuwa; we ended up eating lunch there 3 out of 4 days. The prices were adequate (the cost of 2 jumbo chicago hot dogs, a box of fries and a pop cost about the same), and the food was something you have trouble finding outside of most asian districts in big cities.
So I happened to pick up (with much restraint) 3 boxes of Pocky I’ve never seen before.
Mint Chocolate Pocky. It tastes a bit like those Andes after dinner mints, so you should definitely pick some of these up and put them in a glass so your guests can have a minty refreshment after dinner.
Also, I found Milk Chocolate Salty☆ Pocky. This was your normal pocky, with some salt embedded into the chocolate. It gave the chocolate a different taste, but shot the sodium counter through the roof.