Life in (and around) Brussels…

Random tips on things to do and places to go in Brussels and beyond


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Bûche de Noël from Yasushi Sasaki

Where are you getting your bûche de Noël this year? This special occasion might well be the perfect excuse to splurge a bit and visit what might be the best patisserie in Brussels: Yasushi Sasaki (see old post here.)

There are three different types of bûches and two holiday cakes to choose from and which include some of his “top hits” which usually are sold as cakes. The price is €5.50 per serving with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 servings per bûche.

The deadline for Christmas has passed (sorry, was too busy at work to post but luckily managed to order!) but you can still order one for New Year’s as long as you do so before the 29th of December. Details can be found on his site

Enjoy and happy holidays!

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More Japanese shops in Brussels

For the last (for now) of the Japan-series of posts, I’ve put together a short list of random shops offering Japanese products or services. So here you go and enjoy!

  • Japanese bookstore: Aoki Shoten (Avenue des Meuniers 123, 1160 Brussels, open Mon-Sat 10:00h to 18:00h) sells Japanese books, manga, paper supplies, gifts, magazines… Facebook page. A more detailed review (in French).
Photo via Aoki Shoten Facebook page (click on photo for link)

Photo via Aoki Shoten Facebook page (click on photo for link)

  • Japanese beauty salon and origami workshops: Salon des arts japonais Jaune (rue Lesbroussart 31, 1050 Ixelles). This center (which I still have to check out – I have only walked by a couple of times) presents itself as a creative workshop, hair, nail and shiatsu massage center. It also promotes calligraphy and origami workshops in Saint Gilles. Website. If you have used any of these services, please comment!
  • Japanese travel agencies: Japan PI Travel (Rue de Stassart 100, 1050 Brussels) and Fuji Travel (Chaussee d’Ixelles 146, 1050 Brussels) are the go-to agencies if you need to get plane tickets to Japan, or a Japan rail pass (cash payment only). Check their websites for opening hours and appointment information.

Do you have anything else to list? Want to know more? Please share!


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Japanese supermarket: Tagawa

You might have passed in front of Tagawa many times and not even noticed it, as you have to go through something that looks like a garage entrance to get to the small two-floor shop. However, once you venture in, some delicious Japanese treasures await….

Sushi platter

Sushi platter

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My highlights:

  • Tasty, affordable bento lunch boxes (between 5 and 9 euros a piece – a really good deal!) to go. (Get there early. On weekdays, they sometimes are sold out before 13h… I sometimes am to blame as I might pick up a few for me, friends, and dinner…)
  • Well-priced decent sushi, which you should order in advance and beats any of the fast-food sushi chains (which suspiciously always carry the word “sushi” as part of their shop name… I know they are very popular but to me, it’s not the real thing…). See here for the sushi selection and ordering procedure.
  • Their fresh seaweed salad for only a couple of euros and warm, meat-filled bread buns
  • Frozen gyoza wraps to make yummy homemade gyoza (Japanese dumplings)
  • A good selection of sake

Plus:

  • Besides selling groceries, they also have a [really] tiny section with other Japanese products, including books, tea/home accessories and occasionally handmade items like obis
  • You can also order your groceries online and have them delivered within Brussels, or just browse online to see what you might want to get in-store
  • Keep an eye on their Facebook page, which they update regularly with information about their new product arrivals
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Lunch box selection

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Tagawa
Chaussee de Vleurgat 119
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 0 648 59 11
E-mail: sales@tagawa.eu
Facebook page

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Photo credits: Tagawa online store and Facebook page

Other supermarkets (I have not been to), as listed by this and this other source (please double-check opening hours):

Haru-chan
17 rue des Bégonias , 1170 Watermael-Boitsfort.
Mon-Fri 10h-18h, Sat 10h-19h, closed on Sun and public holidays

Ken-chan
120 rue Kelle, 1150 Woluwe Saint Pierre.
Tue-Fri 10h-18h, Sat 10h-19h, closed Sun, Mon, public holidays


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Uniqlo x Laduree collaboration for Japan – 2 May in Paris stores

As I mentioned a couple of days ago on Twitter, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo and French patisserie Laduree have joined forces for a charity project in benefit of child victims of the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

There seem to be nine different T-shirts (some in different colors) for women and nine for girls. The colorful, macaroon and Paris-inspired collection has been on sale in Asia since March, and is expected to hit the French stores on Thursday, 2 May at a very reasonable EUR 14.90 for women’s t-shirts and EUR 9.90 for girls’ t-shirts.

Photo via http://www.maxitendance.com and Laduree FB page (credit below)

For now, there is no news as to whether the UK and US stores will also carry the collection, but if you want to start preparing for the shopping escapade, take a detailed look at the t-shirts on the Uniqlo Hong Kong pages for women and girls.

So, what do you think? Shopping escapade to Paris early May? (Note: this collection is expected to be on sale only in the Uniqlo stores in La Defense and the shopping center So Ouest in Levallois-Perret, not the one in Opera).

Some other news sources (in French): Le Soir, L’Express, and Laduree’s Facebook page.


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Japanese tea in Brussels: Eden

Given the fair number of shops selling and serving tea in Brussels, as Laura Sengler recently published in a great post on French Connect, I decided for this Japan-series post, to focus on one of the top ones on my list: Eden.

Eden, a small, relatively inconspicuous establishment located on the quieter end of rue du Page (number 27), a few blocks away from the popular place du Chatelain. The shop is quite charming, with a genuine not-too-commercial feel, that offers not only tea but also a variety of Japanese tea sets, pots, cups, bento boxes, as well as beautiful tins to store your tea leaves.

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Tea tasting: If you are unsure as to which tea to get, you can go to the back of the store, where you can sit down and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of tea of your choice (you pay by the cup – a great way to taste the tea before deciding to buy it… the problem is that the more you taste, the more you might want to get…).

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Eden has a wide and good selection of teas, particularly Japanese teas imported directly from Japan, including sencha, brown tea Hojicha, the traditional matcha green tea, and my personal favorite: genmaicha (green tea with toasted rice). I have tasted 3-4 different teas and they were all excellent.

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Eden might not be as well known, as glamorous and sophisticated as other tea shops in the neighborhood, such as Unami on rue du Bailli 97, close to Trinite) or La septieme tasse (also on rue du Bailli, 37), but its charm, friendly service, excellent tea and authentic ambiance definitely make it my top choice for Japanese tea and accessories.

Eden
Rue du Page 27
1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 538 22 27
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00h to 18:00h

Looking for a tea shop near you? Check this recent great post on French Connect. and this (2009) Mashup map by Charles Bricman from the blog On a des choses a se dire


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A gift shop reminiscent of Japan

It might not be in Brussels, but this online shop is too gorgeous not to write about in this series of Japan-inspired posts.

Fushigi shop is the creation of Yasumi, who handcrafts most creations displayed on her online shop, which has quickly become one of my favorite virtual window-shopping stops. The Fushigi shop elegant and unique, as the creations are original and handmade, and always a treat to the eye and imagination.

"Pink Mauvey Liberty Print", brush-roll via Fushigi Shop

“Pink Mauvey Liberty Print”, brush-roll via Fushigi Shop

"The Powdered Air", one-off necklace via Fushigi Shop @WorshipBlues

“The Powdered Air”, one-off necklace via Fushigi Shop @WorshipBlues

The products offered are very reasonably priced given the high quality and care put into them. (I carefully inspected a couple of them and was impressed by the flawless sewing and finishing, which you would not find in a mass-produced product). Among my favorite pieces: the jewelery (including many one-of-a-kind pieces which you are sure not to see elsewhere) ranging from about 10 to 35 pounds, and her very popular and beautiful brush rolls and small muti-purpose cases and pouches, which are made with fabrics sourced from Japan, Africa and beyond.

"Ume Kimono Fabric", brush-roll via Fushigi shop

“Ume Kimono Fabric”, brush-roll via Fushigi shop

Yasumi is based in the UK (ships to Belgium for just GBP 4.00 flat rate) but the fabrics, design and sensitivity of her creations are (at least to me) reminiscent of Japan, unique in many ways, and a great inspiration for gift-giving in any season. And a big plus: she takes custom orders, and is very responsive and active via her Twitter account @WorshipBlues.

SPECIAL OFFER: You can now get a special discount on the brush roll collection through the blog Not Just a Pretty Dress.

"The 1, 2 or 3 of Murasaki" pass case via Fushigi shop

“The 1, 2 or 3 of Murasaki” pass case via Fushigi shop

Pass case. Image via jessinbelgium on Instagram

Other bloggers raving about the Fushigi shop:

Images from Fushigi shop