Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yokohama Chinatown Soup Special!

Yokohama`s Chinatown is perhaps Japan`s biggest and best.
Our immediate task was to eat. I first noticed the plastic models of food in the restaurant windows. While most appeared tasty, the perfectly rounded fried rice with plastic shrimp and egg seemed more Japanese-Chinese than authentic Chinese. Still, I wondered what it would taste like.

After evaluating about 20 restaurants, and avoiding the palatial ones with prices to match, we found one place off-the beaten trail with a set lunch menu available until 2PM: a choice of dumplings such as gyoza/guo-tie, a meat/vegetable dish, steamed Japanese-style rice and soup were only $6!

We settled on a place where the waiter spoke better Chinese than Japanese, except that he then directed us across the narrow street to a waitress in the `same restaurant`. What? Why would a restaurant be split on two sides of a narrow street? We glanced into a dimly lit, reddish-brown interior with small wooden seats and 6-7 small round tables as a middle-aged man in a white smock was making dumplings. Very authentic. My watch said 1:59PM indicating no time to choose if we wanted a lunch special. We went in.

This Japanese-speaking waitress, however was less welcoming: `By the way, since it`s late for lunch, our only soup is `shou-yuu suu-pu.` Huhn? It sounded like she said soy-sauce soup. I looked at my friend, Atsushi perplexed.
The pan-fried home-style dumplings were first and delicious -- something my mom might make. The soup was next: a light brown broth with floating bits of green onion. I took a hesitant sip. This was indeed soy sauce soup. Water, soy sauce, and green onion. Atsushi was less dumbfounded than I: `this is not uncommon in Japan` he said.

Still, I wasn`t happy. The pork dish was similar to a Chinese-Canadian restaurant preparation with canned baby corn and onions, while the rice was Japanese -- what I`d expect while eating Chirashi sushi. Only the dumplings were good -- 1 out of 4.

From this one place, I rate Yokohama Chinese food a 4/10. That is unless you want to chuckle at the tourists buying giant, and I`m talking huge, steamed buns for $5, or you want to chat with Chinese or Taiwanese staff asking them `but where do the local Chinese people go to eat Chinese food?` which we tried. Clearly, the $30-60 hotel restaurants were overpriced. For Chinese food in Japan, I recommend `Champon` or `ramen` in Fukuoka or Nagasaki.


Post a Comment

<< Home