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Probably the first time I came to the Mitsuwa Marketplace was over ten years ago. As soon as my son was able to sit in one of those light weight stroller, I started bringing him out for lunches at different eateries. As a Stay-at-Home mom, I needed to get out of the house in order to achieve some type of balance and sanity.

The Mitsuwa Food Court provided a good respite since it is casual and offer a variety of choices, and the food are all good and reasonably priced. I was able to relax and eat while my son slept soundly in his little stroller, or if he was awake, I would feed him something.

As he grew older, he really enjoys Japanese food, especially the udons, and ramen. To this day, I believe that Mitsuwa is his favorite food destination. When the place is not crowded, the atmosphere gives a sense of calmness and peacefulness that we both find comforting. And one of our favorite thing to do after the meal is to venture into the supermarket section and look for my son’s favorite Japanese peach candy, and for myself, canned coffee with no sugar.

From the beginning, I have been thoroughly enjoying these lunches with my son. These meal sessions not only provided delicious food tasting adventures, but most importantly, wonderful bonding opportunities for my son and I. We would talk about school, friends, and even life in general at these outings, something that we don’t really do at home, since we are always occupied with chores, computer games, emails, etc.

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The restaurants inside this modest location are probably some of the best of their classes. Santouka is well know for its distinguished ramen, which my son already decided is the best in Los Angeles. Katsuhana, which specializes in deep fried pork, chicken cutlet as well as fried shrimp, is truly superb. While I tried not to eat a lot of fried food, the Pork Katsu is hard to resist –  moist, tender, and flavorful inside with a light and crunchy batter outside. The Katsu meal is a feast that comes with rice, soup, cabbage salad, fruit salad, small side dishes of tofu, and pickled vegetables.

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One of the newer comer to the marketplace is J Sweets , which offers the prettiest, most enticing Mochi Cream –  a mochi ball filled with different delectable flavors.  My favorite is the Cafe au Latte, not too sweet, but with a definite strong taste of coffee. The Mochi Donuts look fantastic but have not tried yet. All the other cookies and sweets in the store are all so beautifully presented and packaged. However, the prices are high so I have not yet had the pleasure of tasting them.

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Miifune is the eatery that I have visited the most throughout these years. This place has a good selection of udons, sobas, and various combo plates. I particularly like the Wakame Soba or udon, the Beef Shabushabu, and the plain Curry Rice. The food is consistent and satisfying.

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I really enjoy the Mackerel plate at Miyabi-Tei. The oily, flavorful fish is grilled and comes with miso soup, a large bowl of rice and some shredded cabbage and little bits pickled radish. A bargain at about $7.00.

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I don’t know why I like these ball shaped octopus snack made with wheat flour based batter, pickled ginger, and green onion, and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. Maybe it is the fact that they are so usual in taste and texture, sort of soft and chewy, salty and sweet, an odd kind of mouth feel and sensation.

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The Hamada-ya Cafe provides a more western style of food selections such as various spaghetti and pasta, risottos, and most delightfully, some of the tastiest cakes I have tried. One can order a set meal which comes with a salad, some bread, and tea or coffee. Almost right next door, is the Hamada-Ya Bakery, which I had already wrote about previously as one of the most outstanding bakery in town.

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The soup noodles here at Beni-Tora are quite substantial in size, as well as the gyozas, which are huge. I like the fact the noodles come with ample vegetables.

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Lupicia, a clean, modern looking store provides over 400  types of teas throughout the year, ranging from seasonal teas to flavored teas. The sales staff are extremely enthusiastic and more than eager to provide a tasting to the teas.

Mitsuwa Marketplace – 21515 S. Western Ave. Torrance, CA 90501  Phone: 310-782-0335

 http://www.mitsuwa.com/tenpo/eindex.html

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