Kappabashi is Tokyo's wholesale

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Kappabashi is Tokyo's wholesale restaurant supply district. A kilometer of shops line boths sides of a four lane street. Side streets shoot off with even more shops. All of them offer up specialty goods--pots and pans in this one, signs and menus in that one. Over here we have cast iron; across the street are the coffee-making supplies. Down the little side street is the best of the knife shops. This store sells bakery bags and twist ties. That one has plastic bento boxes.

When I first visited Kappabashi a few years ago, nothing was familiar except the Western pots & pans. Now I can identify most of the goods--this squat glass jar with a tiny spoon is for Chinese mustard; the taller one is for sugar. This short cylinder is a toothpick holder but that one holds a tabasco bottle.

Everything has its specific and precise use. No restaurant would ever dream of using a Chinese mustard jar for sugar, or putting tothpicks in the tabasco jar holder!

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