The “authentic taste” that you can enjoy without going to the actual place… “Gachi-China” that Chinese living in Japan go to and highly recommended is hot! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The “authentic taste” that you can enjoy without going to the actual place… “Gachi-China” that Chinese living in Japan go to and highly recommended is hot!

The idea that "Chinatown" is the only place to go for Chinese food has become old-fashioned. Nowadays, "Gachi-Chukagai" restaurants in Ikebukuro, Ueno, Takadanobaba, etc. are increasing dramatically. Originally opened for Chinese residents in Japan, these restaurants are slowly becoming popular among Japanese as well. We take a firsthand look at the charms of authentic Chinese cuisine, which is also captivating the Japanese palate!

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Ho Yan San Xin Jiang, Wei Dao
Authentic meat dishes on a platter that will make you doubt your eyes!
Enjoy local home cooking in wild style!

Xinjiang Dapanjie (Uyghur Stir-Fried Chicken on a Big Platter)◎¥3,180

Tender braised chicken and vegetables. The homemade noodles are added to the set and dipped in the sauce and tasted together with the ingredients. The spiciness can be adjusted.

Xinjiang Dapanjie (Stir-fried Uyghur Chicken in a Large Platter)◎¥3,180

Shuju Yanlou (salted eggplant lamb)◎¥2,380

The mutton is simply boiled in salted water and then dipped in a hot and numbing hot sauce. The dish is served in a bold, hand-held style.

Shuju Yanlou (salted eggplant lamb) ◎2,380 yen

This is a restaurant specializing in Xinjiang Uyghur cuisine that is now visited by many Chinese living in Japan. The most popular dish is the “Xinjiang Dapangbiao” (新疆大盘鸡). The most popular dish is the “Xinjiang Dawanpangyan,” a local staple dish of chicken and vegetables stewed with spices such as octagon and cumin, with a moderate spiciness and complex aroma that attracts even Japanese palates.

Address: Ikebukuro No. 5 Bldg. 1F, 1-20-11 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6709-0342
Business hours: 11:00-15:00 (14:45L.O.), 17:00-23:00 (22:30L.O.)
Closed: No regular holidays
Access: 3 min. walk from East Exit of Ikebukuro Station on JR Yamanote Line, etc.

The restaurant has an exotic Islamic atmosphere. Occasional live music performances are held on the stage.

Gachi-Chuka” is hot in Japan right now. Gachi-Chinese” refers to authentic Chinese food that reproduces local flavors and is served mainly by people from Chinese-speaking countries, and is considered to be different from the Chinese food familiar to Japanese people.

Why is “gachi chuka” attracting attention now? A Chinese food writer living in Japan explains.

Originally, the restaurants were opened for Chinese people living in Japan to provide a nostalgic taste of their hometown. The number of restaurants increased as the number of Chinese living in Japan increased. Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis made overseas travel unfeasible, and the desire to eat authentic cuisine in Japan probably accelerated the spread of GACHI CHINESE.”

How is GACHI Chinese different from Japanese Chinese food and what is its appeal?

For example, in Japan, gyoza is grilled and served as a side dish. In China, on the other hand, gyoza is the staple food. Also, food culture in China differs from region to region. Because there are hundreds of times more varieties than Japanese Chinese, there are many dishes that even Chinese people have never eaten before. GACHI Chinese is a very deep world,” said a gourmet writer.

(Aforementioned gourmet writer) “I want to try the unique signature dishes at the restaurants. At Ikebukuro’s “Flaming Mountain Xinjiang, Taste of the Road,” most customers order the standard dish, “Xinjiang Dàpángbài” (新疆大盘鸡). The restaurant also offers other local favorites such as salted eggplant lamb and lamb skewers.

Why not join the Chinese and try “Gachi-Chinese”?

Ueno] Sergio Shoujoguan Ueno Branch
A typical Chinese street food, “grilled fish.
Ingredients are imported from China.

Mao Xue Wan Black Bean Curd Oast Fish (Sichuan-style spicy grilled fish with homemade black bean curd and blood curd) ◎3,180 yen

This hearty fish dish is filled with authentic ingredients such as cotton bean curd kneaded with black sesame seeds and “blood curd” made from duck blood.

Mao Xue Wan Black Bean Curd Oast Fish (Sichuan-style spicy grilled fish with homemade black bean curd and blood curd) ◎JPY 3180

Ground Cod Roe Rice with Freshly Ground Cod (青椒扣肉擂飯) ◎¥1,518

Fried rice topped with various ingredients such as stewed pork cubes and pickled vegetables. The unique style of this dish is to use a wooden pestle to mix all the ingredients together.

Qingjiao Koroh Lei Fan ◎JPY 1,518

The restaurant’s popularity was sparked when its retro Chinese-style interior became a hit on social networking sites. Of course, the restaurant boasts of its cuisine as well, with the main dish being deep-fried fish stewed in a broth, a street food popular mainly in southern China. The light flavor of the river fish is soaked in the Sichuan-style broth with chili and pepper, and the pungent spiciness is addictive!

Address: BV Building 7F, 4-4-6 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5834-3730
Business hours: 11:00 – 23:30 (food 22:30, drinks 23:00L.O.)
Closed: Open every day
Access:1 min. walk from Exit A5 of Ueno-Hirokoji Station on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

A restaurant that looks great on SNS. In addition to this Ueno branch, there are a total of three other branches in Ikebukuro and Okubo. Reservations are a must, even on weekdays.

Takadanobaba】Shangyou TOKYO
As famous as Szechuan cuisine in China
There are many tastes that can only be tasted here.

Braised whole fish head in Hunan style ◎¥2,178

This is one of the representative dishes of Hunan Province. The spiciness of the dish is enhanced by the refreshing sourness of the fermented chili peppers.

Braised Whole Fish Head in Hunan Style ◎¥2178

Spare Ribs with Chicken Ginseng Glue ◎¥1738

Bone-in pork is braised with pickled bok choy and chili peppers to make it tender and tender. The richness and sharp spiciness make it a perfect side dish for rice.

Spare Ribs with Pickled Bok choy Glue ◎¥1738

The owner, a native of Hunan Province, opened this restaurant in search of a taste of his hometown, one of the few in Tokyo. The menu lists local home-style dishes such as stewed and stir-fried dishes. Chinese residents in Japan also flock to the restaurant for the spiciness of the dishes, which are said to be even spicier than Sichuan cuisine, and the place is packed even on weekday afternoons.

Address: Castle Anzai 1F, 3-10-22 Takada, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-4362-6555
Business hours: 11:00-15:00 (14:45L.O.), 17:00-23:00L.O.
Closed: Open every day
Access: 3 min. walk from Exit 4 of Takadanobaba Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line

A café-like interior that does not look like a Chinese restaurant. You can enjoy set menus and noodles at reasonable prices during lunch time.

Legendary Hong Kong
Chef from Hong Kong recreates “nostalgic” flavors.
Experience a different culture from main course to dessert

French Toast with Peanut Butter ◎550 yen

Peanut butter sandwich with a hint of sweetness. Fried, not baked, is the Hong Kong way. Drizzle honey on it if you like.

French Toast with Peanut Butter ◎¥550

Hong Kong Milk Tea (Hot) ◎420 yen
Coconut Tart ◎¥550
Hong Kong Melon Bun with Butter ◎420 yen

(Back: Hong Kong Milk Tea) Aromatic blend of tea leaves.
(Center Coconut Tart) The buttery flavor of the tart dough and coconut are a perfect match.
(front) Hong Kong Melon Bun with Butter: The cold butter in the warm bread is irresistible.

Hong Kong Milk Tea (hot) ◎¥420 Coconut Tart ◎¥550 Hong Kong Melon Bun with Butter ◎¥420

Enjoy freshly made Hong Kong sweets such as crispy cookie dough Hong Kong-style melon bread and deep-fried French toast. These are served with aromatic and astringent milk tea in authentic Hong Kong style. The restaurant also offers a full menu of dim sum, noodles, congee, and other dishes.

Address: Daiichi Tenjin Building 1F, 3-34-8 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6806-0157
Business hours: 12:00 – 21:00 (20:30 L.O.)
Closed: Monday (open on national holidays, closed the following Tuesday)
Access: 1 minute walk from Exit 3 of Yushima Station on Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

The restaurant is located near Yushima Station. You can enjoy authentic dim sum and sweets in a casual atmosphere.

From the April 14, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Reporting and writing Ikuko Nanayama PHOTO Noboru Kojima

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