I’ve always been a sucker for the small, family-run grocery store. I love everything about them: the tiny selection of hand-picked packaged goods, the cute little butcher shop, and the way the store kind of smells like a friend’s house did when you were growing up. Super Mira Market
in Japantown is such a store, and every time I swing by, I get that warm fuzzy feeling, like I’m visiting grandma’s house for an afternoon tea.
Located on Sutter and Buchanan streets, on the edge of Japantown, Super Mira is a quite little treasure trove of Asian delights. The five-aisle shop offers staples like fresh produce, seafood, snacks, and meats, while also supplying items less well-known outside Japan, like tobiko, uni, and wakame. The food displays are miniaturized and thoughtfully arranged, resembling something from the set of a Wes Anderson film. Price signs are written in thick black marker, and the two checkout counters are made out of wood. Although the adorable ambience alone is worth the visit, what I come here for is their cheap and delicious lunch.
Shortly after opening at 10 a.m., Super Mira begins to put out all sorts of tasty treats that are perfect for grab-and-go, all priced from $2 to $10. The array of Japanese fare includes crispy shrimp tempura, pork potstickers, spam musubi and onigilly, potato and fishcake croquettes, nigiri and maki rolls, udon and curry, and donburi bowls with barbecued eel. My personal favorite is the shrimp shumai. Unlike many others, Super Mira’s are deep-fried, using only tiny, plump shrimps as the primary ingredient. At only $2.78, you’ll get eight little handmade pouches of delicate golden shrimpy goodness. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Super Mira also happens to be home of one of the city’s more famous Japanese bakeries. Located inside the market to the far right wall, Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop is known for it’s delicious coffee crunch cake, mochi, and other tasty Japanese sweets. Operating since 1974, the bakery has taken on a life of it’s own, supplying cakes to locals all over the Bay Area. Why more people don’t know or visit Super Mira is a mystery to me, but until then I’ll be enjoying all the shrimp shumai I can eat.