Kana Hinora Hanson, a first-generation Japanese American whose parents moved from Tokyo to the US just before she was born, has been satisfying Portland's cravings for amazing Japanese snacks, groceries, beverages and pantry ingredients for years. What started as a small deli called Giraffe eventually evolved into an online shop of Japanese foodstuffs known as Fulamingo–Kana’s got a thing for long-necked animals–that Kana runs along with her partner (in life as well as business) Erik Hanson, an Oregon native who studied Japanese and traveled extensively throughout the country.
It’s a perfect fit, as Erik and Kana are both devoted foodlovers (they met when they worked together at legendary Portland izakaya Biwa) and between the two of them have spent time in some of the Rose City’s most esteemed bars and restaurants. Kana handles the food side, and Erik, a longtime wine and spirits professional, curates the Fulamingo sake selection, emphasizing both accessible everyday sake alongside more esoteric offerings from cult producers, and conducts tastings every week in the shop.
Kana shares her mother’s recipe for Ozoni, a traditional soup of vegetables and mochi in broth. Mochi has been associated with good fortune in Japan for hundreds of years, and is often eaten during celebratory occasions. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, this warming, satisfying soup is thought to bring good luck for the coming year.
Last year, when we heard Kana and Erik were looking for a brick and mortar location, we offered them a corner of our store, and now Fulamingo is a thriving physical “shop-in-shop” at Wellspent Market, with satellite locations in SE Portland at Cargo and out on the coast in Astoria. Stocking the shelves with everything from instant curry to shrimp chips to hard-to-find chef’s staples, Fulamingo offers a veritable wonderland of culinary delights from across the land of the rising sun. Together, Kana and Erik bring a welcome dynamic to Wellspent Market, opening a window into the foodways of one of the world’s great culinary powerhouses.