8 More Must-trys When Visiting a Chuuka Restaurant
Chuuka restaurants in Japan are excellent places to fill yourself with an affordable and delicious meal of pseudo-Chinese food. With so many choices on the menu, I’ve already introduced 8 of the best dishes for you to consider in a previous article. It turns out, 8 wasn’t enough and here are 8 more recommendations for you when you visit a Chuuka restaurant.
Mapo Eggplants (マーボーナス/麻婆茄子)
Removing the salted-fish and whole chilli peppers from the Chinese dish, Mapo eggplants in Japan borrows the same recipe as Mapo tofu and replaces the white soy blocks with these long purple vegetables. With minced pork and other ingredients, the eggplants are cooked until very tender. Serve it on white rice and enjoy!
Chinese Chives and Liver (ニラレバ)
This stir-fried mixture of beef or pork liver with a healthy amount of Chinese chives is a delicious dish that does not please everyone. Both main ingredients are loved by many and hated by others, and mixing them together can be very repelling to the latter crowd. However, those who accept the dish will find themselves to a unique delicacy that is also full of vitamin A and iron. Just make sure you bring mints for the Chinese chives after-breath.
Green Pepper Steak (チンジャオロース)
The green pepper steak is probably one of the Chuuka dishes that resemble its Chinese origins the best. The thinly sliced green pepper and beef (some shops uses pork instead) are stir-fried with a mixture of condiments including soy-sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger and cooking wine. Its balance of meat and vegetables makes it a popular choice.
Ebi Chilli (エビのチリソース)
Japanese dishes rarely highlight shrimp as the main ingredient, and this not-very-Chinese Chuuka dish fulfills that urge by covering a plate full of stir-fried shrimps with a sweet chilli sauce. Unlike the douban chilli paste used in the Chinese dish that inspired it, Ebi-chilli’s sauce uses and tastes closer to ketchup. The sauce goes great with the shrimp, and definitely spend the left over on rice.
Tenjin-rice, to many people’s surprises, has absolutely no relation to the beautiful city of Tenjin in China. To make this bowl, the chef cooks up an egg-foo-young, places it on a bowl of rice and adds a delicious thick sauce on top. Some shops uses crab meat in the eggs too to upgrade the cuisine, other shops also offer a noodles version in place of rice. And yes, the Dragon Ball character’s name is indeed a reference to this.
Spring Rolls (春巻き)
These Chinese deep fried wraps are many people’s favourites! These easy-to-eat side dish is filled with a meat stuffing and always served crispy and hot. My one critique is that while they are great on their own or with a sweet chilli sauce, many Chuuka restaurants tend to put ketchup on them. Simply ask them to hold the red sauce when you order.
Cold Chuuka Noodles (冷やし中華)
Despite the seemingly self-explanatory title, this cold noodles dish is very much Japanese origin. Regardless, the noodles served with thinly chopped cucumber, carrots, eggs, hams and placed in a soy-sauce or sesame based sauce is one of the best choices for summer. Spicy variations may be available at some shops. It’s also simple enough to be replicated at home.
Almond Tofu Pudding (杏仁豆腐)
In China, this is a medicinal cooking to fight against dry cough; but in Japan, it’s simply a delicious dessert. Using almond essence for flavour, this soft milky pudding is a great choice to conclude your Chuuka meal after all the spicy and deep-fried food. The almond pudding is served either on its own or with mixed fruits.
If you’re eating alone at a Chuuka restaurant, check out their set-meals and they often include a wide selection of a main dish, a side dish and a dessert less than ¥1000. However, if you’re going with friends, dine the Chinese way by ordering several main dishes plus white rice or fried rice to share. This way, everyone can have a taste of more cuisines, and it makes a very harmonic and delicious experience.