Japanese donabe distribute heat more evenly than standard metal pots and look beautiful on the table. Handcrafted from clay following a centuries-old technique, these ceramic cooking vessels come in a range of shapes, sizes and depths. Donabe are available online, but they’re so stunning in real life that they’re worth shopping for. Here are our four favorite shops:
Naoko Takei Moore is a donabe evangelist — she wrote the book “Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking” — and merchant, as the owner of the donabe-centric kitchen shop Toiro. Her store is stocked with the ceramic pots and offers a wide variety of styles, including hand-painted ones that look almost too nice to cook in. A warning: You may walk out a donabe convert and with more than just one pot.
1257 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, toirokitchen.com
Tortoise General Store
True to its name, this shop-meets-art-gallery carries all sorts of things you may want in your home, including both donabe and tetsunabe, or nabes made from cast iron instead of clay. Even if you don’t put down cash on a nabe on your first visit, you’ll stumble across a dozen other things in the store’s immaculately curated selection of Japanese everyday goods that you may be compelled to bring home.
12701 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, shop.tortoisegeneralstore.com
What started as the California outpost of a Tokyo restaurant-supply store has evolved into a one-stop shop for chefs and serious home cooks. Its sturdy nabe can withstand restaurant-level use, and there’s a cast iron tetsunabe that would be great for making a stew under the stars on a camping trip.
2509 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance, hitachiyausa.com
Tucked among the shops at the Row DTLA, this Tokyo-based store carries a meticulously chosen high-end selection of minimalist housewares. Among them is the Kakomi donabe with a handsome angled lid. While there, pick up serving bowls to match.
767 S. Alameda St. #188, Los Angeles, kinto-usa.com