A world of rich, sweet nut butter
Nut butter is a smooth, velvety liquid that might be unfamiliar to the Japanese palate. This is different from the gooey peanut butter you spread on your toast. Nut butter is seasoned only with a dash of salt, and it’s used to make a dish richer or to add an accent to sauces and dressings. Dada Nuts is the only shop in Japan specializing in nut butter stands in Kochi prefecture in the 20th century retro Ebisu Shopping Street located in Tosayamada-cho, Kami City.
“Nut butter is like a blank canvas that can be used in any way you like. I recommend you try several nuts and enjoy the different flavors,” says Marika Takechi, the 27-year-old owner born in Kochi. She enrolled in nursing school, but instead of taking a job in nursing after graduation, flew to Australia, where she discovered the local sugar-free peanut butter. She then roasted some nuts and ground them with the food processor at home, and found that the paste tasted far better than any product on the market. She went on to try other nuts, arrange the pastes into Middle Eastern dishes she learned from her Israeli share mate, and explore the wonderful world of nut butters.
“The idea of starting my own business crossed my mind even before I went to study abroad. I was interested in dealing with food and in trying something no one else had done before. There was peanut butter in Japan but not nut butter, so I decided this was it.”
She drew up her business plans while staying in Australia and visited nut plantations in Palestine, New Zealand, and Vietnam before returning home to Japan. She already knew where she wanted to set up shop: Kochi. “I thought a shop in Kochi would be more interesting than a shop in the city. I like Kochi food and the Kochi lifestyle, and besides, we have the Internet nowadays.”
The shop is run by three young staff members including Marika’s elder sister. Their café space is popular too. Take a bite of the falafel sandwich with nut butter, and a complex and delicate taste spreads throughout your mouth.
“My next project is a traditional series made with indigenous nuts from Japan,” says Marika. She is sure to blaze another trail and lead the way in her lighthearted style.
Marika Takechi was born in 1993 in Kochi City. After graduating from nursing school, she studied in Melbourne, Australia, where she discovered nut butter and decided to start her own business. She returned to Japan and opened Dada Nuts Butter in October 2018. Today she offers a broad range of products, from plain nut butters to those blended with spices.