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5-Gallon Bucket of Shoyu

So I was doing my daily exercise walkin’ the aisles at the Iwilei Costco yesterday, when I happened to notice this pallet of 5-gallon buckets of Kikkoman, and was like, “Dang! That’s a lot of shoyu! I can paint my house with it!”

Obviously that’s intended for restaurants, where Hawaii’s food & beverage industry probably uses more shoyu than any another U.S. state. After all, we do love our teriyaki ‘n kalbi, while of course, every restaurant table in Hawaii must have a bottle of shoyu readily available.

Yet I’m curious if any of you folks buy items such as shoyu, cooking oil, flour, sugar and other food items and staple ingredients in super massive, industrial-sized bulk quantity for home use?

Not surprisingly, the most common food item I see folks buy in massive quantity that looks to be for home use is those massive bags rice such as the Homai brand sold at Costco.

It’s funny how single people and small household family’s shop at warehouse clubs for food regularly nowadays, when if you remember when Costco first came to Oahu in Salt Lake, it was geared more towards businesses, and I believe Sam’s Club is still more focused on that customer base compared to Costco.

Back to the shoyu, If you do the math, a 5 oz. glass pour bottle of shoyu will cost you about $3 in the supermarket, compared to a 5-gallon bucket, which is equivalent to 640 oz. for $30 in Costco.  Breaking that down, it’s 60¢ per fluid ounce of pour bottle shoyu vs. 21¢ per fluid ounce of shoyu in a 5-gallon bucket, netting well over 60% in savings.

And I’m sure the savings are also significant for all the other mega-sized bulk-packed F&B industry food products.

Speaking of which, I need to blog Y. Hata on Sand Island Access Road, which is open to the public, as they have some really neat stuff that’s different then what you can get at the regular markets, being the products they sell and distribute are specifically for the food and beverage industry. Surely you’ve seen their trucks making deliveries around the island.

Zippy’s Zip Pac

Not sure if Y. Hata still has it, but at one time you could buy the same seasoned flour Zippy’s uses to batter their ono fried chicken at Y. Hata for super cheap, and it tasted exactly like Zippy’s Chicken when you made it!

Again, if any of you folks buy items such as shoyu, cooking oil, flour, sugar and other food items and staple ingredients in super massive, industrial-sized bulk quantity for home use from the warehouse clubs, let’s hear about it, including interesting stuff besides saving money, such as how you store it and what you use so much of said food product for.

Oh, and if you’re not doing anything with that empty Kikkoman 5-gallon shoyu bucket, I sure could use it when I go fishing! (see them Kikkoman Shoyu buckets being used by local fishermen on the shoreline all the time!) lol

18 thoughts on “5-Gallon Bucket of Shoyu

  • August 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm
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    I regularly buy 1 litre bottles of Kirkland maple syrup :) And use them up, too, because I use maple syrup in place of sugar. ;)

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    • August 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm
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      Snoskred,

      Wow, fancy, eh? REAL (usually from Quebec, Canada) Maple Syrup is quite a premium, price-wise. I take it you also use Agave syrup (nectar). sold at Costco in 2-pack squeeze bottles; another premium sweetener. Then there’s organic Coconut Oil. All great stuff!

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  • August 21, 2014 at 12:25 am
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    Restaurants use large container of soy sauce for cooking and to fill the bottles at the tables for customers to use also. That a lot teriyaki sauces.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 2:29 am
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    Pomai: Before there was a Costco, in the 60’s, my folks would buy rice by the 50 lb bag. I don’t think we got it from the supermarkets but my dad was in the wholesale produce business so I’m pretty sure he bought it from another wholesaler. It was my job to empty the bag into a big metal container that had an airtight lid. My mom would then cut up the rice bag into towels for cleaning,

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    • August 21, 2014 at 2:32 am
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      Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I would have killed for one of those 5 gallon Kikkoman tubs to use to store rice! That metal container was a pain to open and close!

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  • August 21, 2014 at 4:54 am
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    My friends and I worked in restaurants and boy that a lot empty containers after using ingredients in it. Some are recycled other workers take home or recycle trash to collect..
    I remember my friend Chinese restaurant have lot duck and chicken livers and just give away to workers or friends to take home. If I knew of it would use it for pate.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 5:53 am
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    I am a regular at SAMs club and the selection is basically the same as costco.If anything costco has a larger base of business customers,judging from the many costco trucks you see about town vs. SAMs club.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 6:59 am
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    Coscto also has their business center stores, there is one here in the SF bay area. They have an entire different set of products that focus towards business rather than the general public.

    If you think that regular Costco sells things in volume, you need to visit one of the business centers. They sell almost everything by the case and larger (they even have pallet pricing for some things). They also have lots of products you won’t find at the regular stores like restaurant supplies.

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    • August 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm
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      wwwwdrich,

      OK, I just got back from the Iwilei Costo at customer service, and first of all, the service rep told me that location (Iwilei in Honolulu) is currently the highest grossing Costco in the NATION. It used to be the highest grossing in the WORLD, until a Costco in S. Korea recently took that title.

      There are in fact no Costco Business Centers in Hawaii, and all the merchandise businesses order through business accounts are the same as available in the store to all other members. All business deliveries made on Oahu come from the Iwilei location, where they have staff who’s only job is to pull merchandise for business accounts. They do in fact have a business order “catalog”, which is a multi-page listing of all their established, non-seasonal core merchandise (all the Kirkland products, office supplies, grocery staple basics, etc.). Businesses make their own copies off this list and fax their order in that way, which is charged to their account and delivered out.

      A minimum purchase of $1,000 is required for each order, while prices in the catalog reflect a 5% surcharge for will call (their labor cost to pull the merchandise), plus a slight addition to that for delivery. And the deliveries must be made to areas that are zoned for commercial/business use, so no home deliveries. And the delivery must able to be received with a forklift (all on pallets).

      According to their directory, in California, there are Costco Business Centers in Commerce, Hayward (Bay Area), Hawthorne and San Diego.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 7:29 am
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    @ wwwdrich – As far as I know, there are no Costco Business Center stores here in Hawaii. Unless they’re doing business as such within the “regular” Costco stores we have. As said in the post, IIRC, when Costco first came to Hawaii (Oahu in Salt Lake), it was merchandised more like a business center store you described, with everything in cases and larger. Now Costco (and apparently Sam’s) seems they’re trying to balance bulk sizes for both home and business use, with most things just being larger containers or multi-packs, but not in unlabeled cases or larger. If my restaurant business is bacon ‘n eggs, I want those eggs still in the returnable plastic egg crates ready to go. And the bacon packed in large unmarked vacuum sealed bags in cases, not multi-packs, which is how they’re sold in the “regular” Costco.

    As Grinds mentioned, there are lots of local restaurants who do business with Costco, having products delivered through their Costco-marked trucking service. I’m not sure what “catalog” they may be purchasing from. I’ll look into it next time I go! The “regular” Costco certainly doesn’t have the restaurant supplies the business center store has, however they do have a decent selection of bulk-sized disposable paper goods, dishware, containers and utensils.

    @ Kelike – What? Chinese restaurants giving away duck & chicken livers? Hard to believe. I thought they make use of EVERYTHING in their cooking.

    @ Keith-San – Weren’t those old rice bags (lol) made of some type of canvas-like cloth? Women used to make purses and hand bags out of them. Kinda’ like this, but I think they had a wooden dowel for a handle…

    https://img1.etsystatic.com/017/0/8336374/il_570xN.478409665_81q4.jpg

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    • August 21, 2014 at 8:45 am
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      Pomai, not all the time only when they just have too much of it. My mother cousins restaurant just did and we enjoy it but that time mom did not know how to make pate from it. I was still learning cooking.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 7:55 am
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    You can’t waste the rice bag on cleaning rags. Does anyone else remember the old rice bag swimming suits? With the lace up fly? I think they were called Takas or something like that.
    My wife still has a small dress made of a feed grain bag (same material as rice bag) by her mother for outside play when she was two or so. . .

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    • August 21, 2014 at 10:12 am
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      Yeah, my mom could cut up the rice bags for rags ’cause she was one of those material junkies… everytime she went shopping she would buy a yard or two of fabric that she insisted she was gonna make a muumuu or aloha shirt for us kids… HA! I remember she had boxes of fabric stacked up in the closet… I think I got only one or two shirts out of that… She stopped sewing when she went back to work, but didn’t stop picking up fabric. LOL We probably used the rice bags for other stuff, but we never had them as clothes… Nowadays rice bag clothes and bags are cool to have, but back in the 60’s everything seemed to be getting too Mainland style.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 8:15 am
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    I would love to see a review on Y. Hata. Curious to see what they stock. The last time I was home visiting I put it on my list of things to do but ran out of time.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 10:08 am
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    Just had the 3 scoops of gelato at the Iwilei Costco. Talk about buying (and eating) in bulk! Was so ono.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm
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    My father totally would have bought that 5 gallon bucket of soy sauce. My father, a literal compulsive shopper, went to costco at least twice a week. He bought things, he hoarded things… He’d get industrial sized slaw, sour cream or other salads, and I’d never touch the stuff in the fridge because I never knew how long it had been there, he and my mom kept it forever, probably both afraid to figure out how old it was. He bought garlic bulbs in bulk, he bought crackers in bulk, chopped tomatoes, canned artichokes, you name it, even things he and my mom never ate, he bought it. (not to mention non-edible items, point-and-shoot cameras for $25? Buy 50. Literally. Rubbermaid storage tubs for $10? Buy 20, what better to store those 40 cameras in. Insanity, I tell you. They converted the rather large playroom I share with my sister as a kid into a storage room, bookshelves on all the walls, to store all the costco overstock. Thank the universe I was out of the house by then, because that’s just not normal behavior. I mean they stocked things nobody even liked. “But the price…!!!” “No, ‘rents, you can’t afford to save that much, I promise you!!”

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  • August 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm
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    @ h – Reminds of the TLC show “Extreme Couponing”, which is quite honestly, very disturbing, especially if they’re just getting it to acquire it (hoarding), with no intention of giving it to someone in need. http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/extreme-couponing

    I take it because of that experience, you’re the exact opposite, being a minimalist.

    As for me, even if it’s BLOWOUT sale, where like say a $200 pair of Nike running shoes is selling for just $30; I’ll still only buy 1 pair, as that’s all I need at the moment. There will always be deals in the future. Now if I were running an eBay store, then yeah, I’d be buying anything I can get my hands on super cheap and reselling it, however that’s not the case.

    @ Momona – Dang, Gelato sounds good right about now. Only problem, is that would negate the extra calories and fat I just burnt off doing my exercise walk around inside the warehouse store. ;-o

    @ kobi – I definitely have Y. Hata on my to-do list. Been a while since I’ve been there. They’ve got really neat restaurant supply type of foodie stuff you can’t find in the regular stores.

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    • August 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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      I haven’t seen the show, but I get the concept, and you’re right, it is disturbing. My mother was adamantly against my father’s costco and shopping activity. However, my father had the last word, much to their financial detriment.

      You’re right in that I’ve gone the opposite way. I mean, my cabinets have the staples in them all the time, I have no overflow. I also ended up with a fear of food that has been around too long after that experience. Even mustard. It’s not rational, but it was a really extreme experience.

      I’m the same way as you with sales, I don’t buy to hoard. However, I must admit that I don’t keep on hand only the clothing I need. I have a ridiculous amount of clothing because I never get rid of it if it’s in good condition (you never know when it will come back in style), and shoes. Oh shoes. I’m a woman, what can I say.

      Reply

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