My Beloved Choto Stop

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today we paid a visit to one of my most favorite places in the world-- Choto Stop. 

Honestly, had I not gone to Japanese language school I would've never known that such a place existed. I remember it vividly this one summer day five years ago when my foodie prof brought the whole class to a "field trip" as this was just about 6 minutes walking distance from our school. My teacher had been raving and raving about this place to the class as a wonderland with all sorts of fresh and dried/storage friendly Japanese foods at 80 per item that there just had to be a field trip. 

That time, it had been about two days since delivery date (they have deliveries monday, thursday and saturday, not sure now though) so the fresh items were already running low, and I feel guilty up to this day that I took my classmate's (the one who originally kept on bugging our prof to bring us there) Meiji original pudding that she had to settle for Meiji milk pudding. Thankfully, we became good friends after that, and as far as I know, I think (I think???) she took no offense about it hahaha. And I think she also realized that milk pudding tastes better than original custard pudding... 

Right now, there's no more stocks of Meiji pudding coming in, and there's Morinaga brand here. I miss Meiji because they had the largest tubs of pudding, as in you were paying the same price for a tub of pudding about 1.5 times larger than the others. But I do understand that nothing lasts forever and that the luxuries of five years ago cannot be enjoyed today due to inflation. If they brought in Meiji pudding now it'd probably cost Php100-120 and probably turn newbie customers off given that there are Topvalu brand and other budget food brands that sell 3 small tubs of pudding in a pack for Php80. 

Going back to my first field trip, I even remember that I had to borrow money from another classmate as I was soooo unprepared to spend money that day (I don't bring large amounts of money when I am just expecting to go to school then go home, and that I never knew back then that such a wonderland existed). With all of the store's contents, I just came back home with a tub of Meiji pudding and a pack of dango (it was mitarashi flavor). 
More photos after the jump!
After that visit, I was determined to come back, and to come back armed with more cash (sorry, credit card lovers, they only accept cash).

My parents picked me up another day from school, and I directed them to this place. I remember on my second visit I bought a box of curry roux (they're like broth cubes, but they're especially formulated to thicken and turn water into stew once tossed into boiling water) just because it was House brand and at the time my biggest crush (Aiba Masaki of boyband Arashi) was endorsing this. It was Php125 back then (because I think they raised prices now). 

I went home, did what the box directed, and unbelievably created a restaurant level stew good for 20 people in less than half an hour and with less than Php300 of spending for carrots, potatoes, onions and meat. I swear our neighbors were probably on the verge of calling us to ask about what was cooking because the whole house smelled so tasty for a good three hours. We were so impressed with the stew that we knew that we definitely had to come back for more, and I guess the rest is history.

Their name is such a lie because 'chotto' in Japanese refers to 'a little bit', Choto Stop meaning 'a little stop,' but we always end up overspending time and money here.   

In the past five years, we have been enjoying miso soup, fresh noodle ramen, curry stew, cream stew, onigiri, sukiyaki (and a whole list of things I just can't recall right now) at affordable prices thanks to the ingredients we've been getting from this place. 

You can see the big bags of miso paste on the topmost left area of the fridge here on the photo below. The miso they sell doesn't taste as clean or as clear (I'm really sorry this is the best way I could describe it) as the ones you usually have in restaurants, but given the price of the bag good for 3 pots of soup (less than Php100), it's impossible to not give in. 

Topmost right are their Bulgaria yohghurt tubs. The second shelf from top contains their fruit jellies, third and fourth shelves contain pudding tubs, and the bottom shelf contains a mix of mozuku (atsara-fied gooey seaweed) and 3-tub value packs of pudding and green tea pudding. 

They have Kewpie mayonnaise for Php 125, and the bottom shelf contains another gem. 

Those bottles are the sesame salad dressings that you see in places like Yabu and Saboten, the one on the side of the table for the shredded cabbage. If you go to tonkatsu restaurants for the unli-salad and want to bring the experience home, you can do so for many more months with Php400 and a trip to this place. 

And I just love the assortment of cookies and snacks-- it's like I'm shopping at J-list, just in real life. 

In general, they sell virtually everything cheaper than what Konbini store in greenhills does, so if you live nearby or are willing to spend the extra money for gas to make it here, you can generally save more money here.  

And here is the space where they used to have a mini restaurant. I will always look back fondly to the days when after lessons I'd go here with my mom and dad and we'd enjoy their bento boxes. Their bento boxes were the bomb. As in THE BOMB. They had real sticky Japanese rice in them, came with authentic soup (they really gave out sachets of authentic Japanese soup mixes), hotdog or siomai, and the choices of viands were really good and were uber uber tasty. I remember that this was the only place I could get legit Japanese croquettes or eat Pacific saury, all for Php220 a box. Even their unagi-don was Php220 a box! 

A lot of the times, my brother would even look forward to my class days because he's aware that when it's class day there's bound to be a take out bento box for him once we get home. 

But now, the happy restaurant area is long gone, and it's now been devoted to shelves containing household items and other personal non-food items. 

They have saizen-esque bowls and pans here. 

And to my surprise, they now sell shoe insoles hahaha. 

They also have toiletries like these bars of baby soap (it's unscented and clear so on a beauty blogger perspective I think this'll be an affordable choice at Php80 for babies or even adults who are allergic to fragrances in products); beside it are rubber gloves. 

To my further surprise, they now have a lot of house fragrances. Back then, even when the restaurant was gone, these shelves had tupperwares, more cooking tools, shrink wrap, and foil; these items are new. 

We got two of these fragrance beads pack just because they were so cute. 

And here's le mama's hand, she's thinking if we should get these rose scented air freshener sprays for my brother's room. We concluded not to get them because the fragrance beads were cuter. 

They have a whooole assortment of furikake, candies, instant noodles, and chocolates.You can get Dars, Alfort, Crunky and many other brands of chocolate here. They also sell almost all the variants of Morinaga caramels. 

They also sell fresh mushrooms such as enoki and shimeji, as well as nattou, fresh udon, fresh soba, Japanese wieners, fresh wasabi (as in the crop itself), Japanese eggs (the ones you can eat raw) and many other vegetables. 

Those who are looking for dashi powders, sauces for udon and sukiyaki, and marinades for meat can find it here. They also sell the famous Nissin seafood flavor and curry flavor cup noodles at Php80 a pop (affordable if you ask me!). 

They sell ramune, and as far as I know kakigori syrup is available every summer. For the athletes who travel a lot, I think they still sell powdered pocari sweat that you can just dissolve in water so that you needn't have to deal with airport security.  

The reason why there are no more photos for these additional items I'm talking about is because they had already prohibited me from taking more photos. Apparently a lot of people have been trying to compete with them that they're afraid of too much information on their store going out. 

I, on the other hand, decided to put these photos anyways because this is just 1/10 the entire contents of the store that I felt that I could comfortably express my sincere happiness about them without giving too much information away. And if in the past five years no one has been beating their prices and extreme variety of items, I can be certain that the same trend could go on even for many many years to come. 

If you want to find them, they're in Little Tokyo, and Little Tokyo is right beside Makati Cinema Square. It's along Chino Roces Avenue (formerly Pasong Tamo). As far as I know, they're open everyday, but I don't have full info on their operating hours so I suggest going there after 10am and before 7pm to be sure they're open. Or you can call them at 759-5560 to find out. :)  

And I'll probably post our haul photos soon so you can see what kind of treasures you can get here :) 

1 comment

  1. There's so much more to rave about this... sino ba naman di ma-aamaze dito lalo na kapag bago talaga sa paningin. Hay nako maiinlove ka. I hope one day I'll get to visit there rin for haul!


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