As a Singaporean-born Chinese, I’m always in the mood for Chinese food, but sadly, there’re very few establishments that have authentic, affordable, and delicious Chinese dishes.
I’ve become jaded about sticky and sweet ma po tofu, starchy vegetable stir-fries, stale-looking cha han (fried rice) and fancy Japanesey dim sum.
For a change of scenery (and culinary palate), we took ourselves off to Yokohama’s Chinatown in search of a great meal.
If you are not fussed enough to go as far as Nikko or Kamakura for a day trip out of central Tokyo, Yokohama is an excellent and convenient destination that is just 20 minutes on the express train from Shibuya. Yokohama may be a also city but it has a certain quaintness about it — it’s quieter, more spacious, and moves at a more languid pace.
Here are a few pictures of Chinatown in all its red glory.
We poked around and found authentic Chinese ingredients, like fried shallots, fiery-hot chili paste, and dried scallops, but strangely they mingled next to Thai curries and coconut milk.
The ubiquitous nikuban (meat bun) stalls were at almost every corner we turned. They looked fat and yummy.
Although the restaurants on the main Chinatown street beckoned with their shiny new menus and extravagant offerings, my friend and I decided to dine at a hole in the wall type of Chinese eatery to get away from the common fare so readily available.
As we ambled down the dark little side lanes, we spotted lively shops promising delicious dishes with the aroma of garlic and oyster sauce wafting out. Rule of thumb while hunting: always pick a more crowded restaurant than an empty one. And so we did.
We got a hearty all-you-can-eat dim sum spread for only 2,500JPY.
The only things that had a Japanese twist were the spinach dumplings. They used sticky mochi as the skin but they tasted pretty good anyway.
I don’t know the Japanese pronunciation of the shop’s name so here are pictures of the kanji and the address, in case you want to look for this place. I wouldn’t say it was out-of-this-world dim sum but it was very good for its price and the dumplings were all succulent and savory like they should be. The sizes are normal (read: not miniscule Japanese servings) so you will feel stuffed to the brim.