Japan Time

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying new restaurants in Japan - always a gamble.

Now that I've been living in Fujieda for over a year, I have established a few restaurants that I like and have become a patron of. There's a Mexican restaurant that is really cheap and is a favorite with foreigners (especially since Mexican food is really hard to find in Japan), a Bangledesh restaurant that serves curry and has a really nice owner who always gives me and Aya free Cokes, and an izakaya that has good bonjiri (chicken tail). Living thousands of miles from home, it's nice to have familiar places to frequent. It's like Cheers - sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name. And they're always glad you came.
But recently Yu, Aya and I decided to branch out and try some new places. The first is a Chinese restaurant just across the street from our school. I went there once when I had first arrived in Japan, and I remember the restaurant being dingy and the menu limited. So I never went back. But a while ago, I noticed that the outside of the restaurant had been renovated, so we finally decided to check it out again a few weeks ago.

The inside had been redone, too - it looks much nicer now.

We ordered lots of food, including shrimp fried rice and cashew chicken.
The food was really good and the drinks were cheap. Also, we could take home our leftovers, which isn't usually allowed in Japan! I think they made a new menu when they renovated the restaurant. I've really been craving Chinese food since moving to Japan, and the nice thing about this place is that it's not nearly as greasy as American Chinese food.
On Monday, Yu and I helped Aya move into her new apartment, and she treated us to lunch as a thank you. We decided to go to Big Boy...I've been passing it on the street for over a year now and wondering how similiar it is to the original American version, and I finally got to try it.

The most surprising thing was that the entire menu was meat! Page...
after page...

after page...

after page of meat!
Apparently, when Japan imported Big Boy, they decided to change the menu to only include chicken, steak and hamburgers because it's an "American restaurant." AND, the worst part is that the "hamburgers" are not actually hamburgers at all - more like what we in the States call salisbury steak. No bun, just a hot place with a burger patty, a few steak fries, one or two broccoli stalks, and maybe some other little Japanese-y food. This type of dish is so popular in Japan, but it just makes me crave real hamburgers!

Like the American Big Boy, there was a soup and salad bar, but not nearly as big as in the States. And no ranch dressing (pretty much impossible to find here).

I decided to forgo the "hamburgers" and have chicken instead. With a random spring roll and Japanese style pork with bean sprouts.

Thankfully, there was dessert. A strawberry parfait with the ever ubiquitous corn flake and ice cream combo that plagues Japan.

I don't think I'll be going to Big Boy again. Nice try, Japan, but you just didn't impress me with your hamburgers that aren't actually hamburgers and other strange hybrids of Japanese and American foods. Where were my chicken strips and ranch dressing and American breakfast that is served 24 hours? Bring a restaurant like that here and I will never leave it.


Louana said...

I'm dying for such a restaurant too! Especially the 24-hour breakfast!

pamjean48818 said...

maybe i should send you some hidden valley ranch?

patrick and mandi (and little Maya too!) said...

This post makes me giggle, because I can't help but wonder if that's what Chinese people think of our Chinese food and what Mexicans think of our Mexican restaurants! :)

Mary said...

I miss Japan =( So much fun! All the exploring ...