In 1993, Aji Ichiban was founded by Lai Chan Yuk Hing and Lai Hin Tai in Hong Kong. They became successful with over 150 franchised shops in China, Singapore, the Phillipines, and the US. Their only remaining US outpost is in the heart of Chinatown on Mott Street. We often walk by the store on our Tenements Tales and Tastes tour as we explore (and taste) the exotic specialities in the neighborhood. Our favorite dumpling spot featured on the tour is just around the corner.
People from all over the world (and homesick Chinese) love to pop in here to stock up on candy and sample many of their dried fruits and meats.
While most of us might be more accustomed to Kit Kat bars and jelly beans, Aji Ichiban (which is Japanese for "the best and superior) takes our idea of candy to a whole new level. In addition to some usually gummy bears, they also offer salted dried plums, wasabi peas, shrimp crackers. dried ginger, and a whole lot more.
One of the most fun things about Aji Ichiban is that they are not stingy with the free samples. In fact, most of the confections (sold and priced by the half-pound) have free samples in plastic jars above the containers. Use a tong and taste a strip of dried squid or pork jerky before you commit.
They also have an outstanding selection of Pocky (Japanese chocolate covered biscuits) and some unique Kit Kat flavors (we love the green tea)
You can really immerse yourself in Chinatown and soak up as much of the authentic culture as possible. We think it's important to try new things and Aji Ichiban allows you to do that tenfold. And even though you may not recognize most of the candy, you'll feel like a kid in a candy shop with so many new things to try.
37 Mott Street
New York, New York 10013