8 Must-Try Chuuka Dishes
The delicious wonders of the Japanese-Chinese restaurants, aka Chuuka restaurants, have been thoroughly explored in my previous article. There are many reasons why the foods don’t taste as authentic as the real Chinese cuisines, but the food is undeniably cheap and delicious. Today, let’s discover 8 of the common staples at the Chuuka establishments. The items here are all cheap and delicious. I listed in no particular order, so feel free to try them all!
1. Fried rice (チャーハン)
Those in the know about Chinese cuisines would understand that there are countless variations to fried rice. While some shops in Japan too also offer choices with different toppings, the basic version of fried rice commonly includes diced pork, green onion, eggs, and rice. Using Japanese rice also makes the result rounded and softer. It’s simple, but personally I prefer this flavoured menu item over plain white rice.
根岸農園 on Photozou
2. Shoyu Ramen (醤油ラーメン)
These soy-sauce soup noodles can be found in every Chuuka shop for around ¥400. The taste is simple and the toppings consist of just a slice of pork and some veggies. It definitely is no match to the noodles from ramen shops, but as a hot side-dish to pair with all the fried and saucy foods, the shoyu ramen is a very popular choice.
潜水夫 on Photozou
3. Sweet and Sour Pork(酢豚)
This Canton cuisine is very popular all over the world. Covering fried pork and vegetables (green peppers, onions, carrots, and pineapples) with a sweet and sour sauce, its complex flavour matches tremendously with white rice. Chinese cuisines often use chopped pork ribs with bones, but in Japan, it’s mostly boneless. With sauce, meat, and vegetables all in one, this dish is a customer's favourite.
ドクロバニー on Photozou
4. Grilled gyoza (餃子)
Along rice, noodles, and buns, gyoza (or dumplings) is considered one of the main foods in China. However, it is a side-dish in Japan. Also despite the many variations, gyoza are mostly pan-fried in this country. However, these meat and vegetables stuffed dumplings are still undoubtedly delicious, making it a must-have for many people visiting Chuuka restaurants.
Ocdp on Wikimedia Commons
5. Mabo-tofu (マーボー豆腐)
The little dish from Sichuan Province is one of the most well-known Chinese foods in the world. To match the Japanese’s preference, the tongue-paralyzing tofu and minced pork dish cooked with spicy sauce has been adjusted to a milder and sweeter flavour. However, some shops do offer more spicy options on the menu. You can easily down a few bowls of rice when paired with a delicious plate of mapo-tofu.
6. Happosai (八宝菜)
For a healthier choice, the thick sauce vegetables stir-fry also known as Chop Suey is an excellent option. It includes Chinese cabbage, carrot, baby corn, mushroom, squid, beef or pork, and quail egg cooked in a salt-based sauce. Habosai goes great on rice. Sometimes they are served on fried crispy noodles as well, and it is just as delicious.
潜水夫 on Photozou
7. Taiwan Ramen (台湾ラーメン)
(Spoilers: it doesn’t have much to do with Taiwan) We have an article exclusively discussing the history and details of this Nagoya-origin spicy noodles. The spicy minced pork and Chinese chives add some flavourful punches to the soy-sauce chicken stock. Many shops have options to pay a bit more for extra spicy. If you’re craving for a burn, this is a great choice.
InterContinental Hong Kong on Flickr
8. Fried chicken (から揚げ)
Although it definitely is not exclusively a Chinese food, it is certainly one of the most popular orders in Chuuka restaurants. What makes these pieces of fried chicken in Chuuka establishments stand out is not so much the taste, but the fact that they are freshly fried and also come surprisingly cheap. For around ¥600, you can get a plate filled with enough to share. Alongside fried rice and noodles, these fried, crispy delights are awesome yet affordable delicacies to enjoy.
hirotomo t on Flickr
My stomach is getting extremely hungry as I compose this list and describe each item. I’m going to need a quick visit to a Chuuka restaurant and order one of their cheap and filling set meals right now. Next time, we will return with 8 more recommendations at the Japanese-Chinese restaurants, so stay tuned! See ya.