For cooks on your list, Hitachiya in Torrance has gifts large and small


If I were running out of time before Christmas and happened to have a number of passionate foodies on my list, I’d point the car toward Torrance and the Japanese cookware store Hitachiya in Rolling Hills Plaza.

Owner Hirota Masazumi has gifts for cooks at every price range. Some of the less expensive items include fish tweezers, measuring cups, tiny bamboo brushes and loofahs for cleaning your Japanese knives.

Shop for handsome wooden steamers, bamboo colanders, hinoki wood cutting boards and tall, brightly colored enamel coffee or tea pots. Someone on your list could use a handwoven bamboo shopping basket, the kind Japanese chefs use at Tsukiji fish market, where Masazumi’s father established his first cookware shop decades ago.


For sushi fanatics, you can find wooden rice containers called ohitsu in several sizes, square copper omelet pans, bonito shavers and sharkskin graters for fresh wasabi. Also, a special ceramic vessel for toasting sesame seeds.

The Japanese-made hand-hammered wok I bought there has been worth every penny. Ditto the donabe with a deep red-brown glaze and graceful lines.

Right now, I’m coveting a sturdy wine cooler made of sawara wood, a kind of cypress, at $148.

Trouble is, I know that once I get inside this serious Japanese cookware store, I’ll end up finding even more cookware I’ll think I can’t do without.


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Twitter: @sirenevirbila