Japanese items

Taste of Tokyo: American markets offer fresh Japanese products

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. For more than two decades, Tensuke Market in Elk Grove Village has been providing an authentic Japanese experience to shoppers in the Chicago area.

The market was founded about 25 years ago, with the goal of bringing some of the freshest Japanese market items to the Chicago area.

“We were trying to make our store the kind of Japan-in-America experience,” said general manager Jason Choe.

The market, which is currently expanding, offers a wide variety of items ranging from beverages and household products to fresh breads.

Choe said 95% of what the market carries is imported from Japan.

Matsuyo Yee said he has been cooking handmade dishes in Tensuke for over a decade.

“Onigiri, which looks like a Japanese rice dumpling and sandwiches. I do all kinds of little things,” Yee said.

Fresh fish is also airlifted to the market daily, including the market’s selection of sushi and sashimi.

For all these reasons, people from all over the region keep coming back and coming often.

“It’s a specialty for the Japanese, it’s the best place to find. There is another bigger place around here, but my husband likes this place because of the freshness of the fish,” said customer Nida Moriya.

Moriya said Chicago-area residents aren’t the only ones heading to Tensuke, noting that some customers take two or three hours to drive to Tensuke Market for their vast, fresh selection.

“If someone wants to experience Japanese culture and Japanese style, then if they come to Tensuke Market, it will be the best choice, I think,” Moriya said.