Tokyo Mart's Bento Boxes - The "Right Answer" For Japanese Fast Food
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Tokyo Mart, located in Tamuning's Monticello Plaza, next to Cost-U-Less, is not a restaurant, but it attracts customers from all parts of the island who have a craving for take-out bento boxes. Tokyo Mart has a full kitchen production facility that prepares tasty meals daily. Fried chicken, fried fish, baked salmon, meat balls, shrimp tempura, broiled unagi (eel), sushi, curry, cold soba, as well as combinations of these, are just some of the meal types available for purchase at Tokyo Mart.
I recently found myself pressed for time and needed some food for the office. I'd already had my fill of traditional, Western fast food take-out and remembered that Tokyo Mart had those fabulous take-out bentos. For $4.25 you can get Fried Chicken with 2 Gyoza, a Meat Ball,Rice, Kimchi, Coleslaw, and Daigo. Some variant sides available are macaroni salad and octopus kelaguen. The Unagi (broiled eel) is a large piece on a bed of rice, for $4.99, and is loaded with lots of Vitamin D.
As you check out the vast selection, you'll notice that not all packaged meals are prepared at Tokyo Mart. Some are delivered fresh daily from Sushi Kyo and Mr. Sushi. Additionally, the Dai-Ichi delivers a selection of bentos, including a large baked Salmon filet, that includes a few frankfurter slices on the side (an odd combination), for $6.00.
A Curry Bowl is priced at $4.50, and for $4.25 you can pick up a Fried Fish Fillet Meal that includes 1 fried Shrimp and an imitation crab stick, along with sides. Cold Soba Noodles with Tempura Shrimp Meal costs $5.99. A small plastic box of fried baby crabs is available for $2.95. The Sushi Kyo and Mr. Sushi packs are immensely popular and can be found at other retail stores in refrigerated cases. I find that Tokyo Mart has the best overall selection, where you can get all types of combinations, including the Nigiri Moriawase ($7.60), which has Tuna, Tako, Salmon, Ebi, Surf Clam, Tai, Seaweed, and the ever-present dab of wasabi and ginger. A Deluxe Sushi Combo costs $8.50, while a less expensive meal is the Maki Combo ($4.50). Many of these are great for side dishes.
The key word for this type of eating is "convenience". Many people just don't have time to sit down in a restaurant or to even wait in lines. You just park your car outside, walk in, peruse the wide selection of taste treats, pick your food and you are on your way. These are easy to eat at your desk in the office, and some folks even eat them while sitting in their cars. However, I don't recommend driving while you eat, since eating with chopsticks requires more attention to detail than eating a Big Mac!
Tokyo Mart's Fried Chicken is really flavorful - they use a special seasoning and I really like how well they cook it. I asked for an extra chicken thigh for the meals we bought. Another great thing about ordering the sushi box sides is that they are easy to share as well as easy to store. They close and fit inside your refrigerators. I recently noticed shortly after the lunch rush that the kitchen staff was preparing chicken yakitori. This is for small snack packs that will be available, I was told, later in the afternoon, between 4:30pm - 6pm. I'll have to go back since I love Chicken Yakitori!
Tokyo Mart is the Japanese community's lifeline to Japanese staples - it is a full grocery store of specialty products common in Japan, with all types of packaged food, spices, ingredients, frozen foods, beverages, cookies, and sundry items such as toiletries, cleaning products, and cooking & eating utensils. They also offer fresh seafood, steaks, pork, and produce, much of it flown in from Japan. Tokyo Mart is owned by S.P.E., a local wholesaler of Japanese food and other products to the hospitality industry. The store manager is Mr. Watanabe, and the assistant manager is Dante Almaito, who was very helpful in answering my questions during my review. Dante's been with Tokyo Mart for 11 years!
Tokyo Mart opens daily from 10am and closes at 8:30pm every night except Sunday, when they close at 6:30pm. Their phone number is 646-6615. So, when you are in a hurry and need a quick fix, Japanese-style, go to Tokyo Mart and pick yourself a deal of a meal, that's "oiishi!"