Go-to grocer for food from Japan, Daido returns

Daido has been at 11146 Westheimer Rd for 20 years. The Houston Chronicle put Daido on top of its list for an international food tour of ethnic grocers in the city.

 

Even a brief closure late last fall didn’t keep Daido Market Houston from topping the Houston Chronicle’s latest list of ethnic grocery stores in Houston.

A customer checks out with store manager Toyo Hagiwara.

Shoppers find a wide array of authentic products from Japan.

The beloved store reopened in December after store manager Toyo Hagiwara enlisted help from investors. Ensuring that the city’s first major Japanese grocer didn’t close forever has thrilled loyal customers, and new ones.

Daido serves one of the most diverse cultural cities in the U.S. and is a local Asian food market favorite. Since returning, Hagiwara’s noticed more fresh faces at checkout. “Everyone is elated that we are back,” said Hagiwara. “The break gave us a chance for a refresh. We upgraded our shelves for easier product navigation and added more authentic Japanese items.”

Daido opened its doors 20 years ago at 11146 Westheimer and later moved a few doors down into 4,000 square feet of space to expand its retail floor. Select drinks and snacks are imported from Japan via the store’s extensive network of suppliers while shoppers find brands like Kagayaki short grain rice and Kewpie Dressing.

Daido employee stocks specialty sauces.

A fresh produce section blends with chilly air in the aisle where a sushi chef works behind refrigerated cases to specially prepare sushi-grade fish and sashimi. Deli items including rice balls, benta, beef bowls, grilled mackerel, salmon, fried oysters, shrimp tempura, unagi and so much more, are made inhouse daily.

Followers on Yelp give Daido high ratings for the freshness of its produce, foods and fish. They attest that it’s the go-to place for hard to find ingredients. Niche items like green tea KitKats and green tea cream puffs are very popular. Hagiwara believes that the store’s authentic products will keep customers craving Daido well into the future.

Keeping it fresh: Daido’s produce is found next to its sushi and meats section.

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