food

Tokyo gets a taste of authentic British fish & chips

20 Comments
By Chris Betros

For years, British entertainment executive Dan Chuter has been coming to Japan, managing solo violinist Diana Yukawa ... and for years, he has wondered why he couldn’t find an authentic British fish & chips shop in Japan.

So he decided to do something about it, and with two Japanese partners, he recently opened Malins just opposite Tokyo Midtown. Malins takes its name from Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe who is believed to have opened the first fish & chips shop in London in 1860. Today, there are an estimated 8,500 fish & chips shops in the UK.

Chuter says the dream to open a fish and chips store in Tokyo goes back about seven years. “I was fascinated with Japanese interest in British things. Japanese friends always mentioned how they enjoyed fish & chips, but I noticed there were no real fish & chips shops here. There were pubs where they served French fries and fish deep frozen with batter before it is fried, but that’s not what we think of as fish & chips in Britain.”

Last autumn, Chuter and his two Japanese business partners -- Ryuhei Takizawa and Shingo Kanaoya – decided to go for it. “They came to London for research, to eat a lot and learn about the fish & chips culture. We were driving around, buying samples from all the best fish & chips shops in London.”

The next task was to find a location in Tokyo. Timing was perfect as a site opposite Tokyo Midtown became available. “The initial plan was to send everything from the UK,” Chuter says. “The fryer range was made in Japan but modified to get more depth, and the chipping and rumbling machines (that peel potatoes) came from the UK.” Chef/fryer advisors came from the UK and Malins opened its doors on July 20. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9 a.m.

So what makes Malins better? “The difference is in the taste which is sensational because we do everything fresh,” Chuter says. “We peel and chip the potatoes on site, nothing added. We get cod from a national heritage site Hokkaido, absolutely top quality and battered on site using our own batter mix. We can deliver on volume at a high standard, up to 60 portions in 30 minutes.”

Chuter says one of the challenges is educating Japanese consumers about real British fish & chips culture. “They have different views on what eating fish and chips is all about. Some think it is just a snack. Some think it is just fries. Here, they tend not to take it home to eat.” Business so far has been fairly consistent throughout the day, even early in the morning, Chuter says. “Some customers actually come in for breakfast. One guy came in every day for a week. He loves the battered sausage.”

Marketing has been mainly through word of mouth. So far the customer split has been 50% foreign (mainly British people and Australians) and 50% Japanese. “I think that when Japanese see British people eating here really endorses it,” says Chuter.

Future additions to the menu include pies and English beer. Chuter and his partners also have their sights set on a restaurant. “This store is meant to be takeaway because we don’t have much seating. However, we are aware that a restaurant is more the market, so we are seriously thinking about that next.”

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


20 Comments
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"The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9 a.m."

My kind of hours.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Open one in Osaka or Kobe. I'll keep you in business.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My prayers have been answered!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I make my own, once a week, large cod and Liverpool style chips. My wife loves it! But not served in newspaper?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I tried this new place the other day. Not too bad. Chips were fantastic. Fish could have done with a bit more batter- and was a little bit oily overall. All up a 7/10 score from me. Hope they improve the oiliness. As I work just across the road, I will definitely go there just to get some chips!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wooooooohooooooooooooo!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@japal4649

Thanks for the review, I'll try this place soon!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We were driving around, buying samples from all the best fish & chips shops in London.

Sounds like my dream job! Good luck, Malins!

Fish and chips used to be a Saturday night staple in my household, I guess to give my mother a break and the rest of us something to look forward to all week! I was always sent out to buy it from the local chippie up the road - oddly enough, it was run by Greek immigrants, and the other place in town was run by a Chinese family, but they were both great. I well remember the sensation of running home with a big warm bundle wrapped up in newspaper, hugging it close to my chest. And then the ceremonial unwrapping at the kitchen table with the whole family gathered round. Dad always got the biggest piece of fish! And sometimes I claimed I couldn't finish mine, so that I could give it to him. He looked so happy, and that made me happy too.

We only had ketchup. We weren't fancy, we didn't muck around with vinegar and tartar sauce or whatever.

I can't bring myself to eat fish and chips in Japan, no matter how nice. It's not the same without family. But Zichi, one day will you make it for me?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I've never had a decent "fish and chips" in London. But I will give it a go. Although authentic would be wrapped in newspaper and deep-fried in lard and not to be eaten in the shop.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Also tried it out last week and thought it was pretty good. I walk past it a couple of times a week and it seems to be getting busier. Hope it is a success!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Which newspaper does it come wrapped in? and does it have an alleyway down the back that you can put that newspaper to good use once done with the fish 'n chips?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I've never had a decent "fish and chips" in London. But I will give it a go. Although authentic would be wrapped in newspaper and deep-fried in lard and not to be eaten in the shop.

You're better off going to one of the seaside towns. My hometown in Devon and the surrounding towns have some outstanding chippys where you can get some amazing fish & chips to eat while enjoying the sunset over the sea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

English health food.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

dokachin,

The fish and chips was wrapped in newspaper and then fried in lard?

Surely not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

O M G there is a god.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't wait to try this out.

Hope the portion of cod is more generous than the HUB interpretation of fish and chips.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It all sounds good. My wife won't eat it though: not enough vegetables, she claims. Do they have mushy peas, I wonder, to give me some ammunition in the debate?

Anyway, she is away this week so I can cook it myself without getting any disdainful looks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scrote

not enough vegetables

Not enough vegetables?

According a Ministry of Health Inspector at a school in North Carolina where Jamie Oliver was trying to get them to give the children a more balanced die:

"There's plenty of vegetables. Got lots French Fries in it. Potatoes is vegetables!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not as good as mine!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For years, British entertainment executive Dan Chuter has been coming to Japan... and for years, he has wondered why he couldn’t find an authentic British fish & chips shop in Japan.

I think fish and chips are the least this bloke needs to worry about.

Now, if only I could get a descent chop suey the next time I'm in Tiajuana...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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