Side Dish 

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Japanese Favorites

Chong Park, owner of Carytown's new Tokyo Market, spent 10 years learning which products Americans liked to buy when she ran a similar market in Norfolk. Now she's cheerfully situated in a former candy store on Colonial Street, offering a line of authentic Japanese products to a ready public.

Many of the items she offers haven't been available here, such as a refrigerator case full of sushi ingredients for the home cook and prized green teas from one of Japan's premier tea companies, Maeda-en.

Also look for Pocky chocolate-covered biscuit sticks, tea and sushi place sets, pickled plums, radishes, soybean sprouts and other seasoned vegetables. The popular carbonated beverage Ramune, favored for generations in Japan, is among the market's extensive beverage offerings. Origami papers, bath salts, candies, seaweed, misos and rice seasonings line the aisles, along with cooking utensils and steamers.

Kewpie mayonnaise, which Park says is highly sought-after for its homemade flavor, is another big seller.

"I'm Korean," Park says, "but people really respect what we're doing, showing the Japanese culture in this kind of store. They listen and want to learn, and it makes me happy to be here. I love to talk about tea with people."

Tokyo Market, at 2820 W. Cary St. facing Colonial, is open daily. 353-2078.

Fall Changes

Pomegranate Euro Bistro chef Kevin La Civita says new fall luncheon and dinner menus are in place at his Shockoe Slip restaurant, including the oft-requested pumpkin soup, "speck" or smoked prosciutto-encrusted salmon, lamb chops, halibut and braised veal cheeks. 643-9354.

Bella Arte is now open for luncheon service Tuesdays through Fridays, and the North Side bistro offers high tea on those days until 4:30 p.m. The restaurant also hosts its first wine-paired dinner Sept. 20, for $65 per person. Seating is at 6:30. 515-9099.

Can Can resumes its casual "non-wine dinners" on Thursdays this fall, visiting the regions of Languedoc, the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux with special menus and typical regional wines. The price is $49.99 per person, including tax and gratuity. Can Can's wine director, Bob Talcott, is host, promising "no long speeches or geeky wine trivia." Dinners are Sept. 14, Oct. 5, 19, Nov. 2, 16 and Jan. 25. 358-7274. S

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