Super Affordable Food at Gyomu Super

“Gyomu Supa” is an incredibly cheap bulk-buy discount food store designed for businesses rather than home consumers, but there’s nothing to stop you shopping there. I’ve heard some people say they don’t like Gyomu because the food is poor quality, but I’m sure they’re mainly referring to the frozen meat. The fact is that frozen anything is worse than fresh, so let’s just ignore that and look at what else you can get there. Other than the frozen foods, they also have a good selection of fresh vegetables and various spices and sauces.

fusilli

Though I would never do my weekly shopping at Gyomu and I certainly wouldn’t recommend you do either, I do go there specifically to buy a couple of items in bulk maybe once a month. Namely: tinned whole and cut tomatoes for about ¥100 (perfect for making a quick pasta sauce or chilli-con-carne); also a 1kg bag of real Italian Fusilli for only ¥300 – bargain; and finally a pack or two of frozen pizza bases (I forget the cost now, but I think it’s around 50 yen for a small pizza base). Gyomu also happens to be the only place in Japan I have ever found real hotdog buns – I’d say the trip is worth if for those alone! Every 6 months or so we end up getting a big bag of those little chopped up dried red peppers – can’t think what they’re actually called, but they really add a kick of hot goodness, especially sprinkled on pizzas. Since my girlfriend is Chinese, she likes the range of random Chinese sauces and cooking ingredients – I have no idea what they are though, to be honest. While I’m there, I also pick up some button mushrooms for about half the price of our local supermarket. Of course, what’s cheaper for you will vary, but shopping smart and knowing what you can purchase in bulk will save you quite a lot.

Find your local area on Google Maps, then enter this search term to find your nearest store (copy and paste the Japanese): 業務スーパー

14 thoughts on “Super Affordable Food at Gyomu Super

  1. Excellent post. I hadn't heard of Gyomu Super before but will definitely give them a try. At the risk of coming across as shameless self-promotion, I wrote a similar entry a while back about discount wholesalers Hanamasa you might be interested in looking at: http://madtokyo.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/578/

    And the red peppers you mentioned are probably taka-no-tsume (たかの爪). I usually get the big bags of dried whole togarashi from Hanamasa, break them up by hand and toss them into whatever I'm cooking.

  2. thanks john. Never heard of that place either, but the from the store locator seems they are certainly tokyo only. ill bear them in mind for when i move to tokyo later this year (possibly, maybe, if my next phone interview goes well!)

    yup, taka no thingies… yeh!

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  7. Really enjoyed reading through some of your posts, all the while thinking ‘i wonder if there’s something about gyomu’ on here. When i was a student in Kyoto a few years ago my dormmates and i all knew about gyomu, word spreads fast in there! Gyomu’s great for being cheap, but also for finding things like lard (used for making flour tortillas), pad thai paste (cheaper and better, in my opinion, than the foreign food stores), and rice noodles. I use the pizza crusts too =)

    On the topic of saving cash at supermarkets, i should also add that Isetan is a surprise find cheap veggies (especially if you pick from the day old pile which, to me, seem perfectly fine albeit slightly lacking in aesthetics…) and fresh chicken (69yen/100g). On the other hand, buy anything else from there and your budget goes to hell.

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