There is something poetic about this shop. I can imagine it as a lino print or as a silent Japanese cartoon. A husband (Tateo Shimizu) and wife (Michiko) who having said everything they have to say, live a quiet life, side by side. He, once a journalist in Japan, makes artisanal tofu every day sourcing organic soya beans. She prepares sushi and bento boxes which are displayed in the small refrigerator when you walk in.
The plastic bento boxes at Tofu Catalan Barcelona have compartments for different things. Steamed Japanese rice sprinkled with seaweed seasoning has the biggest piece of bento box real estate. Then there are various cooked options, chicken curry or fish cakes. Bright cupcake wrappers are filled with yet more surprises. Minced pork and hijiki seaweed in one, a single steamed broccoli. Off to one side sits a piece of fruit for dessert, in this case, a small wedge of orange that will be infused with savoury food smells by the time you get to it. That’s kind of the charm of it.
There are sushi trays too the kind that uses crab sticks and cream cheese. I never buy those. I always get the bento boxes and tofu.
They sell Japanese ingredients. Sesame seeds, kewpie mayonnaise, noodles, and sauces.
Towards the back of the shop, there is a cork board filled with cards of other Japanese shops and restaurants in the city. “Are these places that buy your tofu?” I ask. “These are friends.” She tells me. I snap a picture of it, some of my favourite places are up there and it seems like a good resource to find new places.
I pay for my bento box and make my way home, eager to tuck into my lunch.
Tofu Catalan Barcelona
Carrer d’Aribau, 119
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