The Lifestyle Expert Shopping Guide: Top 3 Best Places to Shop in Los Angeles

When we talk about Los Angeles, famous tourist attractions like Hollywood, MOMA, Venice Beach come to mind immediately. Undoubtedly, they are the iconic places in Los Angeles, but are they everything that you can expect from this wonderful and lively city? Of course not. The number of lifestyle stores are increasing rapidly in LA. No matter what type of product you are searching for, I am sure that you will find it at the end. Below are my top 3 best places to shop in LA, let’s check them out!

1. Toiro

Rice is the main course for most Asians, especially Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Beside of rice cooker, we also use donabe (土鍋, ‘土do’ means clay, ‘鍋 nabe’ means pot), Japanese clay pot, to cook rice. It helps bring out the sweetness and texture of rice, and is also perfect for all kinds of dishes.

For fellas who are still finding clay pots that fulfil all your needs, here is a great news for you. Toiro has the largest collection of donabe I have ever seen in a physical store. There are more than twenty clay pots with all kind of colours, depth, and functions, Toiro is where you can find your perfect match. Besides cooking rice, you could also use them for steaming, grilling, making stew or soups, even smoking cheese. If you keep it well maintained, it could last for your whole life.

The shop owner Naoko Takei Moore published the book Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking in 2015. She also uploads recipes to the shop website. She often holds cooking classes, do not forget to check them out on the website!

My recommend product: Hakeme Tall Lid

Reason: This donabe’s size is for 1-2 people. When you are living on your own, it is unnecessary to have a large clay pot. With this donabe, it is convenience to cook food for one serving.

Brushing glaze on pottery is a traditional Japanese glazing technique. The classic black and white combination gives the pot a modern outlook.

2. Tortoise General Store

General stores are places that sell everyday objects, without specifying in one type of product. It is normal to see towels, mugs, brooms, and portable knifes being displayed on the same shelf. Tortoise General Store focuses on selling Japanese goods, for instance, organic cotton t-shirts from Okinawa, hand-forged iron scissors from Ono, and hand-hammered cutlery from Okayama.

The style of products in TGS are similar to Minimalist, but with more colours and most of them are made of natural materials, such as bamboo, wood, and clay. From how Japanese create those objects, we can see their deep appreciation for everything given by the nature, and how they are trying to keep the damage to the environment at the minimum.

The store holds art exhibitions and displays art pieces by Japanese artists occasionally. It exhibited Susumu Kamijo’s poodle series for the last exhibition. It also organises events such as woodcarving classes and Japanese tea tasting workshop.

My recommend item: Serizawa Calendar   

I know that no one will expect me to recommend something as ordinary as a calendar, but this calendar is special. It was created by Keisuke Serizawa (1895-1984), a famous Japanese textile designer, and one of the leading members of the Mingei (Folk Craft) movement.

He developed stencil dyeing technique and used it to create the calendar. From the design, we can see a lot of Japanese symbols and elements, such as sakura and bamboos. Apart from buying it for yourself, it is also an excellent present for your family and friends.

3. Broome St. General Store

Broome St. General Store is the cosy coffee shop near your house. While the sun is bright and warm, people sit outside to read and study, and you can immediately smell coffee when you enter the shop.

Rather than selling goods that are made in one country, those in this general store are sourced from countries around the world. Hence, apart from Japanese tea pots, you could also find pie dish set and copper cafetiere to fulfil your different needs. If you are looking for something other than home goods, it also sells cosmetic products and baby clothes. After your visit, it would be nice to go to Echo Park and finish your day siting on the grass and enjoy a cup of coffee.

My recommend item: Pebble teapot

It looks similar to pebbles, glazed with earthy colours and is a bit rough. It equips with a deep infuser thus make it perfect for brewing all kind of tea. With clay tea pot, the unfavourable taste will be absorbed and make the tea tastier comparing to other type of tea pots.

What is your favourite shop in LA?

I have already come back from Los Angeles for a couple weeks, but I would not forget the smile on shop owners’ face and the pleasure shopping experience I had in those lifestyle shops. I would definitely visit them again in my next West Coast trip.

Have you been to LA? What is your favourite shop? Welcome to share with us below!