Being one of the most densely populated and consumer-centric cities in the world makes Tokyo a food haven. No matter where you are or at whatever price point, there’s almost always something to satisfy, be it a restaurant, take away kiosk or even food from the convenience store – you don’t have to look too hard for something to fill you up.
That being said, we are kind of impartial to the variety of working-class culinary delights to be found in the Eastern part of Tokyo. We roped in East side native Katsu-san of Japanese streetwear label Winiche to take us to some of his regular spots.
The first stop after convening at Asakusa station was Nyū Ōshō (New King), an off-the- beaten-path restaurant that is famous for it’s juicy minced-meat cutlet. The secret is in the mixture of beef and pork that gives this breadcrumbed beauty it’s signature taste. Also recommended is the thick sliced sashimi.
The second place after that was Nyū Saion (Green Onion) Asakusa, which specialises in Pork Liver Don – succulent and juicy pork liver atop a rather huge portion of rice (warning: East side usually serves things up bigger). We knew we had to save some space for other eats and went without the rice, but the liver and side serving of gyoza was really good regardless.
Talking about rice, the third stop was Onigiri Asakusa Yadoroku, which was established in 1954 and is currently the oldest Onigiri (Rice Ball) shop in Tokyo. They’ve been featured in the Michelin 2019 Tokyo Guide and they’re usually sold out by night, but we were lucky and they were still serving when we were hunting around for late night eats. No pre- packed fusion here as everything is traditional style. The Onigiris start from 280yen and are handmade right in front of you with warm rice and fresh fillings. We asked Ōba-chan what is good, and her reply – “everything!” We certainly aren’t going to dispute that claim!
Our stomachs were exploding but we needed a place to chill out, so we checked into Lodge Akaishi and it felt like we were stepping into a time-warp. This old-school kissaten that opens til 4am still has the arcade game tables from back in day whilst the decor is equally as “vintage”.
Katsu-san explained to us as a kid he would look forward to eating at such places as there would be set meals for children that came with really cool toys ala McDonald’s Happy Meals. So every time he eats the classic “Napolitan” Spaghetti or Katsu Sandwich, it brings him back to those times. Natsukashii (nostalgic) ne!
If you’re around Asakusa in the early hours be sure to pop in for some Napolitan, far from authentic Italian cuisine, this simple tomato sauce heavy version is one of those dishes that the Japanese have made their own.
Stay tuned for future food hunts from us and our forever hungry homies and feel free to drop some comments on what else you would like food tips on.
Nyū Ōshō, 5 Chome−21−7, Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan. Closed on Mondays, check Google Maps link for opening timings.
Nyū Saion, 4 Chome-35-1, Asakusa, Taito City. Tokyo 111-0032, Japan. Closed on Tuesdays and Saturdays, check link Google Maps for opening timings.
Onigiri Asakusa Yadoroku, 3 Chome-9-10, Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan. Open Daily, check Google Maps link for opening timings.
Lodge Akaishi, 3 Chome-8-4, Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan. Closed on Mondays, check link Google Maps for opening timings.