Thursday, December 14, 2017


Location: Suehiro
Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 950 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Kalbi cheese mock, Chicken curry cheese mock, sesame balls
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

This is a very odd place.  It was very popular with the neighborhood kids, that's for sure...had a kind of 50's neighborhood diner vibe going on.  Their specialty is "cheese mock" which I could find zero references to on the Internet.  So maybe this is an original idea?

Not very photogenic food

What is a cheese mock you ask?  Well, it starts with a thin, crep-like base (slightly sweet) within which is placed any combination of sweet or savory items.  How is this different than a crepe?  I'm not sure...but apparently it is.  I had a kalbi beef and chicken curry cheese mock.  It took forever to make them...and it was stiflingly hot in there.  When they finally arrived, I found out that he apparently thought I wanted them to go, so I ended up with everything in a to go bag.  I proceeded to eat them there, very carefully, as the temperature of the cheese inside was molten.  In addition to the cheese and meat, there were other things:  mayonnaise, lettuce, fusulli noodles, camembert cheese.  It was surprisingly tasty, though I wish the base crepe wasn't so sweet.  I also got some sesame balls, which were very homemade and tasted great.

While I'm rating the food an Ok, I still really liked the place for its unique qualities.  If I lived in the area I'd probably be a regular.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Cup Noodle Museum Noodles Bazaar

Location: Cup Noodle Museum Noodles Bazaar

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 3100 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Seven half-size ramen dishes
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No
Pretty sure this was from Indonesia

I've been in Japan for 6 years now, and until this weekend I'd never made it to the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama.  Well, my wife and I decided to spend Saturday in Yokohama and it was finally my time.  I was most interested in the "Noodles Bazaar," and area of small ramen stalls each serving a unique international take on instant noodles.  You can get full or half sizes, along with some dessert and drink options.

An eastern European take

I wanted to try them all, so we did our best to hit the most interesting ones.  None of them were amazing, though if I had to pick, I'd go with the chinese beef based ramen, with the Thai and Indonesian being runners up.  We definitely got full, that's for sure!  BTW, all of the little shops use ticket vending machines, but there's English for everything so not too difficult.

This was a curry soup, not sure from where...

Now that I've done it, I probably won't go back unless we have visitors who want to go.

I managed to snag a picture of all of them except the cold Korean noodles dish.

Thai (basically tom yum)

Vietnamese Pho
Chinese beef ramen, my favorite

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Location: Yatai

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price:  5900 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:  4 beers and several dishes, see below
English Menu: Yes (most of the items on the wall are translated)
Smoking: Yes

So the liquor store/teishoku restaurant Marunaga on my block has been replaced by a new izakaya called Yatai, although you might be confused as the only English on the sign is "Suka Yeahhhh!!" The kanji on the sign (confirmed by asking) is in fact Yatai and it's a reference to the little portable food stalls that used to be more common back in the day. It's a warm, welcoming spot that is friendly to English speakers.  They have a ton of different dishes all plastered up on the wall with English translations.  I ate there with a friend last night and we tried several.  The food was an Ok overall, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and am looking forward to coming back frequently to try everything on the menu, so I'm bumping it up to a Very Good.

Garlic shrimp, not very garlicky


Vinegared fish

Menchi, deep fried meat

Nagoya style miso oden - my favorite dish

Ox tongue sausage - meh

Gyoza soup

Wan Din Ki

Location: Wan Din Ki

Rating: Not great
Meal: Lunch
Price: 1058 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Fried rice
English Menu: No
Smoking: No

My wife and I were in Karuizawa this weekend for a church retreat.  Most of the time we spent eating in our cabins with friends, but on the way out we all stopped at the outlet mall to get some lunch.  The mall is outdoors and sprawling.  We eventually found the food court and split up to get our various dishes.  Not wanting to be a total weirdo, I just reviewed my own meal.

I chose a Chinese restaurant that specialized in fried rice dishes.  I picked one that looked good and waited for my buzzer to go off.  There was a tasty hot oil chilly sauce available that I added liberally.  When I finally tucked into it, I was disappointed to find the rice kernels were hard, almost as if they weren't cooked all the way through.  The overall taste of the dish was very chemical.  Not good at all.

Two other people chose the same place, and we all had the same impression...steer clear of this one.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cafeteria Spice Jaya

Location: Cafeteria Spice Jaya

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price:  2160 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Chicken pho, two curry meal set
English Menu: Yes (digital vending machine)
Smoking: No

After church on Sunday my wife and I walked around the area a bit looking for a bite to eat.  We came across Cafeteria Spice Jaya and were intrigued by the thai green curry and chicken pho on the menu.  The ordering system is a digital vending machine, with the option to switch languages to English, so that was nice and easy.

Green and japanese curries

We got a chicken pho, and a mixed curry set with both green and Japanese chicken curries.  We also added a little empanada like thing that turned out to be stuffed with something like keema.  It was delicious.  The place has serve yourself water, coffee, tea and soup, which was nice.

Chicken pho

The chicken pho was a disappointment, being pretty bland and not very pho like.  The curries however were both very good, with a good bit of spice in there too.  I would definitely not mind coming back and getting a full portion of either.

The place had a nice small shop vibe and we enjoyed eating our meals to Japanese interpretations of Disney classics being sung in the background (there may have been some singing along...).


Location: Katsuan
Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 2
Price: 1770 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Rosukatsu and menchi teishoku, Katsudon teishoku
English Menu: Yes (kind of)
Smoking: No


Instructions for the tablet

Katsuan is a new tonkatsu restaurant that looks like a well established chain.  The key difference here is that it has a parking lot along 16 that is very accessible, making it a much easier drop in affair than, say, a mom and pop shop, or even Wako's (which is usually tied to Aeon malls).  And it's cheap and fast.

Rosukatsu + Menchi

The menu is interesting in that you use an ipad like device to enter in the numbers from the Japanese menu (which is nicely illustrated).  The device then shows you the item in English along with the options.  You add your orders to the shopping cart and then send in your order, which is brought to your table along with the bill.  So even though the menu itself isn't in English, there is a way to find out what it is you are ordering.


My wife had her favorite:  katsudon (egg, onions and katsu on rice), while I went for the rosukatso and menchi special.  We both upgraded to the clam miso soup as well.  Unlike Wako's, you have to order as much up front as you want to eat (size of rice, amount of shredded cabbage, etc...) as there are no free refills.  The tonkatsu itself were tasty enough, if a bit greasy, and the menchi was pretty much what you'd expect.  The clam miso was good, though not as good as Wako's.  Overall it was just a notch down in quality from what you'd expect at Wako's, which I rate as a Very Good, so I'm giving this place a high Ok.  As my wife said, if this is what passes for Japanese fast food, we'll take it!  That, along with the parking lot and very cheap price, make this place a pretty good bet if you are in a car looking for a quick and tasty meal.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Benkei Curry

Location: Benkei Curry

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 600 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Beef curry
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

Wall menu

So I've begun taking the train short hops from downtown Yokosuka to nearby stops to start reviewing farther afield for my weekly (usually Wednesday night) review nights.  I'll be focusing on the Kenritsudaigaku station for the near future.  There are a handful of places worth checking out near the station.  I met a friend who lives nearby and we walked a quick circuit to pick an initial place to try out.  We ended up settling on Benkei Curry, a brightly lit yellow sign proclaiming Japanese Kare available on a cold night.

English menu

We went in and it is counter seating only, a pretty small place.  There were English menu options available along with the usual wall mounted Japanese.  It's a simple menu, and we went with the Beef Curry for a mere 600 yen.  It consists of rice with beef curry on top.  There are some curry pickles (a staple) and the chef offered us some extra spice if we wanted to put it on top.

Beef curry on rice

It was warm and filling, perfect on a cold night.  Not fancy, not even the best curry I've had, but the uniqueness of the place, the price and environment raises it up from a Not Bad to an Ok.  The chef is a really nice guy and speaks a little English too.