When last year a blind taste test confirmed that Japanese Mandarin oranges were far superior to Chinese Mandarin oranges, I took note and vowed to only eat the best this year. Kind of like a Christmas gift to myself. So it has been with great dismay that this year that "the best" seems noticeably absent from Canadian shelves. Why? Google was amazingly useless, so I called grocery store after grocery store to find out.
One produce manager of a major chain told me off the record that a large shipment of Japanese mandarins had been refused at the Vancouver Port due to quality control and that across Canada, that grocery store would not be selling them this season. He mentioned that the Chinese mandarins had suffered a shortened growing season due to tsunamis, but he wasn't quite sure what the issue was with the Japanese ones.
It doesn't look like we'll be seeing a Japanese Mandarin anytime soon (let me know if you somehow find some in your city!), but a produce manager at a different chain told me to try the Moroccan clementines, so that's what I did. And if you're also on the lookout for the tastiest orange of the season, maybe you should, too.