A long line formed early on a balmy summer morning in Duluth, as people traveled from around metro Atlanta for the opening of Japanese department store Teso Life on Pleasant Hill Road. Such lines are not an unusual occurrence these days for the opening of a Teso Life, often fueled by social media.
Frequently touted as the Japanese version of Target, Teso Life first became a sensation when it debuted six years ago in Queens. The uber popular department store currently includes nearly a dozen locations in New York, with new locations opening in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and now in Georgia.
Teso Life is a treasure trove of eclectic Asian beauty products, toys, and household goods found in countries like Japan, Korea, and China. But the store also carries a broad range of Asian snacks, candies, and beverages, which continue to draw people to its aisles who come seeking new flavors to try, hard-to-find food products, and childhood nostalgia wrapped in brightly colored packaging adorned with cartoon characters.
Choosing snacks and drinks to purchase at Teso Life can be overwhelming, especially for people unfamiliar with the variety of products offered at the store. Eater created this handy guide on what to look for and consider buying at Teso Life in Duluth, from the plethora of flavored chips and chocolates to frozen dumplings and iconic Japanese drinks.
Bags of potato chips transcend ordinary flavors such as ranch and barbecue in the snack aisle at Teso Life. This is where humble potato chips meet global flavors in a bag. Here, you’ll find bags of fried crab potato chips with lashings of garlic and chili and ribeye steak chips boasting flame-grilled umami notes. A bag of spicy hot pot chips features fiery aromatics popping with Sichuan peppercorns. There’s even chip flavors like sour lemon braised chicken feet, inspired by Chinese dim sum, which combines hints of hot and sour notes and zesty lemon.
Chocolates and candy
Over in the candy and cookie aisle, people can let their sweet tooth run wild. Kit Kats come in flavors like melon and ice cream and sit alongside every flavor imaginable of Pocky, including sticks coated in coconut, almond, strawberry, and mint. Packages of bite-sized Hello Panda cookies brim with gooey chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry filling. Expect to find treats themed after popular characters, too, like Hello Kitty marshmallows with matcha jelly inside. Fruity gummies offer flavors bursting with the vibrant tang of citrusy yuzu, juicy peaches, and the floral sweetness of lychees.
Sparkling water and other drinks
The wall-to-wall refrigerators at Teso Life are chock-full of drinks from around the world, including Chupa Chups sparkling water in flavors like strawberry and cream, melon and cream, orange, and grape. Look for canned and bottled Japanese coffees, such as Pokka Milk Coffee Gold, Suntory Black Boss, and UCC Matcha Latte. For those seeking a revitalizing boost, try the Matcha Love energy drink laced with green tea. Gummy Boba latte drinks come in matcha and taro flavors and combine the chewy delight of gummy candy with bubble tea.
Frozen and refrigerated foods
The freezer and refrigerated food section at Teso Life is built for quick and easy meals and snacking. Dumpling lovers should seek out Nippon Gourmet Berkshire pork soup dumplings that can be ready in two minutes. Find Japanese street foods such takoyaki (balls of minced octopus) and prepped packages of tonkotsu seafood ramen ready to heat and serve. For dessert, purchase a slice of Orange Brand mille-crepe vanilla cake.
Teso Life assembles gift baskets, too, whether it’s a collection of Japanese Kit Kats and assortment of Hello Kitty cookies and candies, bags of Lay’s flavored potato chips and other savory snacks, or a combination of sweet and savory foods.
2180 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. tesolife.com.