National Post (Latest Edition)

SHELF LIFE IMPULSE BUY

Abokichi Chili Okazu, Curry Okazu

- 250 mL, $9.99 available at Toronto’s Abokichi Store abokichi. com or at foodie pages.ca A. Brouwer & A. Wilson

Where does life begin? Shelf Life doesn’t have answers to the big metaphysic­al questions, but we’ve got a handle on some of the smaller items. Take, for example, these unique Asianinspi­red condiments, which were conceived in a tiny retail space in Toronto. Abokichi owners Jess Mantell and Fumi Tsukamoto started off selling rice balls known as onigiri in Japan, as common and as beloved as pizza slices, and then expanded into other casual foods. Along the way, they perfected a mashed- up concoction to go with the rice, made of sesame oil, miso paste, fried garlic and onion, and spices. Customers started buying the condiment, dubbed Okazu, and found new uses for it: on eggs, burgers, sandwiches, steak, chicken, pasta, and vegetables. And so a star was born, in two flavours: Chili and Curry. The Chili version has a lovely crunch from the sesame seeds and onions and garlic and the perfectly blended spices confer an instant hit of irresistib­le umami.

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