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  • Writer's picturecookingwiththehamster

Oriental (CLOSED - online shop only)

Walking around Milan I came across an oriental shop by chance. So, I met Andrea Calvo creator of Oriental, located in Via San Gregorio 25. I am immediately impressed by the simplicity and order of the spaces, as well as a series of products that I had never seen for sale in Milan.

Andrea Calvo, always fascinated by Asia and Eastern philosophy, is a very brave person: he deals with sales and oriental events in Milan, already shaved of offer of this type. And doing so as an Italian is even more difficult. In a city that boasts the largest China Town in the country, it is certainly not easy. But he has a lot to offer, a lot in terms of quality. This is one of Oriental’s goals: to offer high-quality products imported directly from China, Korea and Japan. After a degree in Gastronomic Sciences from the University of Pollenzo, he decided to deal with imports from Asia in 2011. His idea is to create a link between two very distant and different cultures, the Eastern and the Western, overcoming limits and conventions. Oriental offers seaweed, mushrooms, katsuobushi, different qualities of snacks, sauces and toppings, traditional sweets, noodles, different qualities of saké and Japanese beers, utensils, gift ideas, prepared for soups.

But speaking of excellence, my eyesight is immediately captured by the large table in front of the entrance, where several objects concerning the tea ceremony are placed. And this practice is one of the aspects on which Oriental focuses the most, starting with knowledge on the subject. It is one of the cornerstones of Eastern culture, a dip in the heart of the Rising Sun that concerns the consumption of the famous drink, calligraphy, the juxtaposition of flavors and scents but also the floral composition. This event has its roots in ancient China, arriving in 10th century in Japan thanks to Buddhist monks. It was a monk, Murata Juko, who codified his aesthetic style regarding simplicity and nature (the wabi-cha). From here will be the four cornerstones of the ceremony: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. In this regard, Oriental organizes once a month, free of charge, meetings officiated by the Japanese master ceremonial Hiro Suzuki.

Here you can also buy the 1 kg Wadachi Mai rice. It is the rice of the Koshihikari variety, produced in limited quantities (only 1% is destined for foreign sale) through a method of artisanal production of the Village Shitada, Nigata prefecture. The label shown is made of washi (traditional Japanese paper), more precisely oyachi washi, typical of this village.

It is impossible not to mention the umeboshi (800 gr). Made only with ume and salt, without any kind of preservative, comes from Kanagawa prefecture.

Finally, special attention must be paid to perilla oil. Perilla, also known as the egoma, is an aromatic plant of the mint family (commonly called “Japanese basil”). The oil proposed here is from Toyama prefecture. It is a product rich in nutritional values, so much so that in Japan the perilla is often called jyuunin, or “ten years”. An elixir of long life, then.

The University of Pollenzo, where Andrea Calvo graduated, carried out an in-depth study of this product and found that it can be used for several purposes: as an antiallergic, a natural insecticide, packaging preservative , inhibitor of the formation of bacterial films and as an ingredient and preservative in the production of craft beer.

© Cookingwiththehamster

🌎 📍 Via S. Gregorio 25, Milan 📞 +39 02 2952 6307 💰 $$$

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