Let’s save money: 5 places for cheap food ingredients in Sendai!

As a student without much money, the high cost of living in one of Japan’s biggest cities is a very big problem. 🙁 If you have to spend over 500 yen for every meal, you will run out of money very quickly! There are microwaves and stove-tops in almost every dormitory. Or you can buy them easily without too much expense. So, many smart people turn to cooking for themselves.

However, cooking by yourself without cheap and fresh ingredients doesn’t help you to save money, and it may also be harmful to your health!

But don’t worry! As a poor student living in Sendai for half a year, I have found five great places for  you!

Different ingredients often cost different prices in various shops. The variety of items available and freshness also vary greatly. All the options I will provide for you are here as a result of my strict price and quality comparison!

So let me show you how I go about shopping in Sendai to save money from cooking for all-important traveling funds!

 1. 仙台朝市(Sendai Asaichi market)
Cheap items: Eggs, Vegetables, Fruit
Opening Time: 9:00~18:00, Mon. to Sat. (Closed on national holidays)
Address:  4 Chome-3-28 Chuo, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 980-0021
Shop of interest: Croquette!
You can get many fruits and vegetables here at a pretty low price.
For example, I have bought strawberries here for just 300 yen. Though it is very cheap, the produce sold is still high quality. The taste is so wonderful and sweet that you will feel like you’re in heaven.
You can also buy oranges here for only 200 yen. Cabbages and other kinds of vegetables are quite cheap, too. What’s more, there is not only one shop so you can decide where you pay after comparing the different prices they offer.

The supermarket near the entrance is also full of cheap items. And the thing-you-must-buy here is: eggs! Japanese will separate eggs by size. The bigger the size, the higher the price. So the LL size egg is the most expensive. But in this supermarket you don’t have to worry about it. Here you can get eggs in price similar to M size eggs in other store. I have got 10 LL size eggs for just 150 yen. Otherwise, you can buy other ingredients like sauce, pasta and tupperware containers. The supermarket offers them in big amounts but for a low price.

For the meat lovers – I’m sorry –  but it is rare to find cheap meat in Asaichi since there is only one meat shop here (and so the price is a little bit higher). However, if you care more about the freshness and quality of your meat, you should come here and take a look. Another good reason to buy meat here is that they can measure it out in exactly the amount you want/need.

Seafood shops are another great feature of Asaichi! You can see lots of fish, shrimps or octopus here. All of them look super tasty!

As a bonus, I want to introduce you to this Croquette Store. You can easily find it because there is always a arowd of people queuing outside. There signature dish,  Croquette, only cost 65 yen!! I promise it is worth that spending little money and rewarding yourself with delicious food here.

The market is closed on Sundays and National Holidays, so don’t forget to check the calendar first before you go shopping here!

2. Seiyu
Cheap items: pork, milk or cookies of Seiyu’s own brand
Opening Time: 24hr
Nearby Sanjo-machi are two Seiyu supermarkets (Ki-machi and Hachiman-machi). These 24 hour stores have many cheap items and you can sometimes find some great discounts (like two bottles of drink for just 280 yen).

If you wanna save money by cutting down the coast of your breakfast, there are many nearly expired items such as toast, breads that you can choose from. The milk from their own brand is also very cheap!

the red mark is the price after cost down

The most important thing is–“nearly expired meat discount”!!!!

Around 7:00 pm the staff will start to mark-down meat products that will expire in one to two days! You can get up to 30% off pork or beef!! What fantastic information for meat lovers like me! But the disadvantage is that you have to cook it as soon as possible.  There is nobody who doesn’t like cheap meat, so you’d better get there earlier to get the best bargain, or you will lose to housekeepers with faster reflexes than you!

3. Aeon Supermarket
Cheap item: nearly everything, on Tuesdays! (the Tuesday market)
Opening Time: Mon. to Sun. 9:00~22:00
Address: 2-3-6 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi, 980-0021 Japan(B2)
the menu of discount

I like to go shopping after leaving my laboratory on Tuesdays. The Tuesday market(火曜市) offers many discounts – you can get whatever you want here!

Chicken wings only cost 30 yen! Especially meats and chicken are sold at a very low price. No wonder there are always crowds of people there on Tuesday.

flavored pork

You can also find many kinds of marinated pork or fish. All you have to do is buy them and go home and cook them up in your frypan. For those preparing meals for their family or themselves, it is really convenient!

Do not miss other ingredients for cooking or cuisine being sold at low prices on this special day! Moreover, there are many kinds of snacks on discount. If you are foodie or a snack-lover, I really recommend you go shopping there on Tuesday.

cosmetics also in discount on Tuesday.

I recently found that cosmetics are also included in Tuesday Market discount! Out of shampoo? Wait until Tuesday in Aeon to save money when stocking up on your daily essentials!

Tuesday is a wonderful day 😀

4. 業務スーパー

Cheap items: beef, bulk-pack products
Opening Times: Mon. to Sun. 10:00~22:00
Address: Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai, Aoba Ward, Ichibancho, 4−9−18
To cut down the cost of your hotpot party, you should come to 業務スーパー(gyoumu supermarket) for their cheap, bulk-packed beef. You can also find other ingredients in bulk at a low price here; such as udon, red beans or toast.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can even find food items from your home country. I found Flaky scallion pancake, a food from Taiwan, in Gyoumu. I was so excited that there were tears in my eyes the moment I saw it.
However! Be sure to pay attention to the price tag –  sometimes the item is organic and the price won’t be cute at all.

5. Vegetable and fruit stores in Sanjo-machi

Cheap items: Sometimes low-price fruit and vegetables
Opening Time: 10:00~19:00(宇佐見商店)
I sometimes notice the low price of fruits when I pass these stores on my bicycle. Strawberries, for example again, only cost 298 yen! But the price is different depending on the time and season. So you’d better make some comparisons before you buy.
You are more likely to get cheap fruit or vegetable in the morning than in the evening. I guess cheap items are always bought quickly. So you will lose your chance if you are too late!
I always go back to my dorm from Katahira Campus, so I go to 宇佐見商店 more often than 太田商店. If you are in Kawauchi campus, 太田商店 is on your way home.
The best tip I can give you is to shop around before you buy – it will save you money! I hope you find this information helpful. 🙂
For more information or my experience in Sendai, please also visit my blog page.
(Only Chinese)

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