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Shin-Okubo Gourmet Tour in Tokyo!

By Yukimi Aoyama
Guest Writer
(Translated by Nao H. Kauffman)

First is Sanugyopsal! The word comes from the numeric number 3 as san, layer as gyop, meat as sal; that is sliced pork rib similar to yakiniku, which is one of the common Korean dishes. My recommendation is "Korean Kitchen Macchan." Walking down from the station, Shinokubo to Okubo Street, where there are shops of Shinokubo items, you will find the restaurant near family mart after turning into the little alley. There are other branches too, but I would say the main shop is the best. The thickly sliced ribs cooked on the original grill plate are crispy outside, but hot and juicy inside. You get refills for celtuce (Korean lettuce) and kimchee without additional charges! There's more, "Bibimbap buffet" is all you can eat for lunch hours, only 525 yen. (Price may be subject to change.) This place is a good choice, very reasonable prices and delicious food, and also not as busy as other popular Korean restaurants.

mezonsowaie 1F, 1-3-20, Hyakunincho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

The next is "Ondoru." Their Sangyopsal is certainly tasty, but you will be surprised by their variety of items in the menu as if they serve all Korean foods. The place is the most famous restaurant and particularly popular among women since many medias introduce the shop daily. Therefore, I would recommend getting a table a little prior to the busy lunch hours.

SK Building 1F, 1-30-20 Hyakunincho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Then, "Tonchan Bekkan" comes after those above. Their Sangyopsal with an established reputation easily bring a lot of customers. You cannot avoid lining up to enter the restaurant. It is hard to get a reservation for a special private room called Lee Jun Ki's Room (one of the popular Korean actors), which is completely decorated by his items.

Seikodo Building 2F, 2-1-4 Hyakunicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Also, "Kanton no Omoide" is another popular restaurant. If you are looking for some authentic Shinokubo shops, this is it. There are about five other branches and are lively growing in the Korean town. The lunch menu is very reasonable, and their herbal Sangyopsal is outstanding. Reservation is recommended. They have also opened a caf? called Honey Caf? 82.

Furthermore, when it comes to the Korean foods, you should know Samgyetang (Korean ginseng soup with whole young chicken). The dish is rich in collagen and good for beauty and health as women love. In Korea, it is also a high price cuisine so it is relatively more expensive even in Shinokubo. However, at "Hanyang", you can enjoy the dish for only 780 yen including appetizer of Kakuteki, pickled radish and kimchee Tofu. You would also have to wait in the long line here as well.

You can also get frozen Samgyetang at the Seoul Market in the town whereas it sprang into fame after the Japanese comedian, Gekidan Hitori, introduced it. This quick instant food is more tasteful than other brands for some reason. I don't know why, but it is truly delicious.

When you explore the town, you can easily grab a quick snack like a sweet pancake called Hotock or sweet and spicy rice cake, Toppoki from food vendors. This is also another soul food from Korea.

Dakhanmari is an authentic local food where you can find only in Seoul. The word literally means "Whole Chicken" as it gets cooked in a pot. When it is served, you will need to chop the chicken by scissors and dip them in a special sauce called Tategi, mixture of chili peppers, garlic soy sauce, vinegar, and mustard. Available only in specific restaurants, whose special original broth made from the dish, is similar to the Japanese dish, Mizutaki. At the last part of cuisine, adding the Korean instant noodle is the best part.

"eco tejimaul Okubo main branch" is good out-of- the-way place. To tell the truth, I would not like to let anyone know about this place. The restaurant is very small, but you would feel like at home. They select premium ingredients and take time to serve the best food especially Dakhanmari. It is always better to make reservations. They also serve a variety of the Korean liquor, makgeolli.

1-16-5 Okubo Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 050-7302-2391

Shinokubo is growing day after day. Therefore, you always encounter something new and have fun whenever you visit. The recent Korean trend in Japan makes the town very crowded. In short, the Korean culture has become familiar to the Japanese people and our culture. I believe Korean cuisine will also become standardized in Japan.

Korean stores are very different from well-organized Japanese stores because each store sells items differently and has different characters and prices. Therefore, it is fun to find your favorite shops, restaurants, and foods. For days and nights, the stores in the Korean town keep changing. The recent trend created a new successful business style, which handsome clerks welcome customers in the store. Additionally, the unique cosmetic item, skin food, which is made from snail essence, made a big sale. Moreover, dozens of facial packs, which include extracts of pomegranate, potato, pearl and so on, are available here and there. At last, I never stop feeling fathomless energy and passion and will keep enrapture the heart of my Korean fever.

After all, the Korean cuisine is delicious and healthy to energize yourself. If you have a chance to visit Shinokubo, why not try something new? Although they look sloppy at first, unexpectedly it has so delicate flavors that you would like to definitely come back to eat them within a week. Korea Nomunomusaranhe! (Korea Craze!)

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