A taste of Japan in Manhattan's Little Tokyo - FOX 13 News

A taste of Japan in Manhattan's Little Tokyo

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

At Otafuku on East 9th Street in the East Village, the specialty is a kind of Japanese street food called takoyaki, which translates to grilled octopus balls.

"We were the pioneers of bringing Japanese street food to New York City," says Sakura Yagi, manager of Otafuku.

And for dessert there's metetai, a doughy crepe with sweet fillings.

"We offer two different flavors," Yagi says. "One is red bean, very traditional, and the other is hazelnut chocolate and banana."

Between St. Marks Place and 10th Street in the East Village lies an area that's become known as Little Tokyo. There are Japanese restaurants, specialty food stores and gift shops galore.

"My wife and I were sake enthusiasts and we found there was no place in New York where you could go to learn about sake," says Rick Smith. So he and his wife, Hiroko, opened Saka-Ya, the only shop in New York City specializing in just sake. It sells over 150 kinds. In the winter one of Rick's favorites is the Wandering Poet, which can be served warm.

"It's got some nuttiness to it, some caramel-like notes," he says. "Not sweet, but a little bit of caramel like flavor."

And to go with your sake you can cook up a feast with items from Sunrise Mart. Here you'll find everything from fresh fish, like cod roe and sea urchin, to Japanese biscuit sticks called pocky.

"Most of our green tea items sell well," says Takuya Yoshida, the general manager. "This clearly sells well because we have four rows of it."

Around the corner is Toy Tokyo, a toy-lover's paradise! There are thousands of figurines, many that are hard to find outside of Japan. Some of the bestselling toys are called Bear Bricks. They come in all shapes and designs. This one here is based on a character from a popular Japanese cartoon show.

And for unique dining, there's Robataya. It's not just a restaurant, it's an experience. The chefs here put on a show grilling fresh fish and vegetables right in front of customers and then serving it on long trays.

Though there's no official title for the neighborhood, Little Tokyo has become a cultural destination. And the best part is that you don't have to travel far to check it out.

"We're very proud that it's Little Tokyo, Little Japan," says Yagi of Otafuku. "We say it's Japan without the airfare."

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:09:54 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
  • Man arrested in Central Park bias attack

    Man arrested in Central Park bias attack

    Sunday, August 31 2014 4:04 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:04:10 GMT
    Police say a man has been charged and arrested for his involvement in a Central Park hate-crime assault. According to the NYPD, 20-year-old Edward Fall, shot a 36-year-old female jogger with a pellet gun and was part of a group of people who the jogger said made anti-white statements against her.
    Police say a man has been charged and arrested for his involvement in a Central Park hate-crime assault. According to the NYPD, 20-year-old Edward Fall, shot a 36-year-old female jogger with a pellet gun and was part of a group of people who the jogger said made anti-white statements against her.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices