May 14, 2015

Todai Utensil Factory

by Yoko Kumano

I’d like to start with a little background on the small town of Tsubame-Sanjo. This manufacturing town in Niigata Prefecture produces most of Japan’s stainless steel items. If you are enjoying a little cake with a tiny fork in Tokyo or stirring a cocktail with a barspoon from Umami Mart, chances are these utensils were […]

October 6, 2014

Visiting Asahi Copper Factory

by Kayoko Akabori

When we voiced our wish to visit a few factories in Japan earlier this year, we didn’t realize that so many of them would be in the same town. Not just that, but only a short drive from one another. Tsubame City in Niigata is well known throughout Japan for its high quality steel, having […]

June 5, 2014

TSG Hard Strong Glass Factory (Chiba)

by Yoko Kumano

When Kayoko and I started choosing glassware for the shop, we wanted simple and functional glasses that would also look beautiful in any kitchen. With that in mind, we knew one of our mainstays would be the Hard Strong Stacking glasses manufactured by Japan’s famous glass company Toyo-Sasaki. Ramen shops and teishoku (set meal) joints […]

April 16, 2014

Inside Yukiwa Barware Factory

by Kayoko Akabori

Our main objective for our trip to Japan (besides noodles and ekiben) was to visit the many factories where they make the bar and glassware we select for Umami Mart. We wanted to go straight to the source, and meet the people behind the products. This ended up being far more fruitful than we could have […]

March 22, 2011

Umamiventure #32: TCHO Chocolate Factory (SF)

by Kayoko Akabori

Photos by Travis LoDolce. The history of chocolate-making in the Bay Area runs deep. Ghiradelli, Scharffen Berger, and Guittard are some of the big names in chocolate that started here, and the community of smaller, more artisinal chocolatiers continues to grow. Clearly, San Francisco is a place for chocolate-lovers; and for the die-hards, a thriving […]