2020 NO.28

Tokyo: The Ultimate Gourmet Experience


Okubo: Crossroads of Asian Cuisine

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Okubo is a district along Okubo-dori Avenue, the thoroughfare that runs under Shin-Okubo Station on the JR Yamanote Line and Okubo Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line. People of Korean, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern descent have flocked here to live, carving out their own niches and transforming the area into one of Tokyo’s most diverse districts. A great place for anyone who wants to enjoy any kind of Asian cuisine in a casual setting, Okubo has become an attractive tourist destination.

Photography: Osaka Satoshi

An epicenter of new trends Korean

The foundations of today’s multi-ethnic Okubo were established in the 1990s by Korean restaurants. To this day, they are the most common type of dining establishment in the district. The Korean cuisine available here is incredibly diverse: all the way from dishes that were once Korean royal court cuisine to homecooked delicacies. In recent years, there has also been a trend in enticing new snacks, especially popular among young Japanese women. These include unique shaved ice deserts such as sweetened shaved ice with a topping of diced mango and cheese ①, as well as the famous cheese hot dog ②, which is cheese on a stick wrapped in diced potatoes and batter and then deep-fried. This supermarket sells these delicacies at a special stand, which attracts large lines in front of the store ③. The gochujang-flavored sweet and spicy chicken ④ also seems poised to become a fad. (1, 4 Hong Chun Cheon restaurant; 3 Seoul Ichiba)

Attracting customers with healthy food and gentle flavors Vietnamese

As the number of foreign students who attend Japanese language schools and professional training colleges increased, so did the number of young Vietnamese people visiting Okubo. Visitors can enjoy a familiar lineup of dishes and treats, such as coffee with condensed milk ①, pho rice noodles and fresh spring rolls ②. (Vietnam chan)

The colorful cuisine of a smiling nation Thai

Delicacies such as shaved ice flavored with multicolored syrups ①, steamed sweets made from coconut milk mixed into rice flour ②, and lunch boxes of stewed chicken and saffron rice ③ and all are beloved by countless fans, regardless of their nationality. (Rung Ruen)