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Number of Japanese restaurants abroad triples in last decade to 187,000

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Don’t think I’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant outside Japan that’s better than what we have inside Japan.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Completely overrated cuisine. Most of these aren't Japanese run, but run by Koreans, Chinese others looking to cash in on the obsession people seem to have about this country nowadays.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

Doesn't matter which nationality they are if they are able to prepare Japanese cuisine. My daughter and I were in California where we found a restaurant in a tiny town run by a Korean family that put up perfectly good Japanese food.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

And how many of these ‘authentic’ establishments are owned and operated by the real deal, not culture appropriating imitators?

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Don’t think I’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant outside Japan that’s better than what we have inside Japan.

Indeed. Recently, I went to Wagamama and was bitterly disappointed.

Ordered "ramen" on a dreary cold British afternoon and I tell you, all the ingredients were at different temperatures, resulting in an overpriced tepid mix of whatnot. Never again.

We should have gone for Balmoral Chicken instead.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Number of Japanese restaurants abroad triples in last decade to 187,000

While restaurant in Japan have just little growth, no more than 10% over last decade, that beforepandemic then hit by pandemic, now hit by inflation.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/659761/japan-consumer-foodservice-sales/

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

A few comments talking about cultural appropriation here in a country that sells ramen which originated in China, Castella cakes from Portugal, Okonomiyaki that beats a striking resemblance to bubble and squeak, sushi that originated along the Mekong Delta, gyoza (again) from China - I could go on. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing. But don’t criticise something as ‘appropriating’ another culture when we’re all guilty of it if you look back far enough.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

A few comments talking about cultural appropriation here in a country that sells ramen which originated in China, Castella cakes from Portugal, Okonomiyaki that beats a striking resemblance to bubble and squeak, sushi that originated along the Mekong Delta, gyoza (again) from China

In fact no Japanese people really needed to prepare and eat Japanese cuisine.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Someone didn’t read the earlier comments!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Small local restaurants and even chains like Saizeriya can be pretty low quality.

In Japan, it's very much dependent on what you pay. Which is one of the many things I like. Take 懐石料理 for example. Japan does it best.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

There are plenty of low-quality restaurants in Japan. Look at how bad it can get in certain places like restaurants ski fields and highway rest areas food.

It is low quality for a reason, meals from those restaurants wasn't prepared by actual Chef, just another part time that willing to do that. Especially their market just people who passed by, and also people that doesn't have any choice to eat.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

When out of the country I wouldn't think to eat Japanese food. Why would I? That would be like Brits going on vacation to Spain and eating fish and chips.

It would be impossible to say every Japanese restaurant in the country is better than those in other countries.

There are good Japanese restaurants in other countries and like in Japan there are not-so-good ones.

Kaisaki is the height of Japanese cuisine but it does not come cheap.

Kaisaki is available in other countries.

https://www.roketsu.co.uk/

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Shunryū Suzuki

Small local restaurants and even chains like Saizeriya can be pretty low quality.

Sorry, I don’t really consider Saizeriya’s typical menu items (e.g., spaghetti with meat sauce, pizza with sausage, fried shrimp, chicken salad, Hamburg steak) to be “Japanese food.”

2 ( +6 / -4 )

There are good Japanese restaurants in other countries

How would you know if "When out of the country I wouldn't think to eat Japanese food. Why would I?"

BTW What is かいさき? You mention it twice.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

In Japan, there are also many good non-Japanese restaurants. Chain restaurants are what they are.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The Kaiseki cuisine usually needs a reservation one or two days beforehand.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The Kaiseki cuisine usually needs a reservation one or two days beforehand.

That depends on the かいせき you mean?

Ambience is key for 和食. Most over-seas places don't have the je ne sais quoi, the ingredients or the chef to prepare it to the standard I have come to expect.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Robert de Niro and Nobu sushi restaurant in New York. Nobu and Nobu Fifty-Seven. High prices.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

And how many of these ‘authentic’ establishments are owned and operated by the real deal, not culture appropriating imitators?

LOL @ "culture appropriating".

I suppose you'd also say only Italians can own restaurants and cook Italian cuisine for them to be the "real deal". I've had some great pizzas and pasta in Japan and other places with no Italian chef in the kitchen and it was delicious. Perhaps a purist would label it "cultural appropriation" - but nobody actually cares if it is well made and tasty food.

I say good on the spread of Japanese and all other cuisine around the world.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

sushi restaurant in New York. Nobu and Nobu Fifty-Seven. High prices.

If you can afford to go to those places, you could afford to fly into Japan for the real stuff.

Unless you lack the language skills. ;^))

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

In Japan, there are also many good non-Japanese restaurants. Chain restaurants are what they are

I don’t any, South Korea on the other hand does and they do it very well. The Japanese don’t, they’re better at their own food, but now foreign foods, but that’s just my opinion and the results of seeing so many foreign chains close down whereas in South Korea they expand.

Robert de Niro and Nobu sushi restaurant in New York. Nobu and Nobu Fifty-Seven. High prices.

Nobu Fifty-Seven. Went there twice, great place, seriously!!

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Japan and other places with no Italian chef in the kitchen and it was delicious. 

Indeed. I like the fact that more often than not, the master chef of the house has been trained in the home country of the cuisine they specialise in.

That does not seem to have been the case with my recent Wagamama experience.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

bass4funk

there are Indian restaurants owned by Indians with Indian chefs. There are Italian restaurants owned by Italians with Italian chefs. There are Korean and Vietnamese Napali and many others.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sushi is the No. 1 cuisine.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

This article reminded me of that japanese show not too long ago a 'reputed' japanese chef would go abroad just to visit and bash Japanese restaurants abroad Gordon Ramsay style, forcing the owner to swap the yummiest original ramen/sushis (avocado, cream cheese, chocolate) etc. adapted to the local taste for the 100% "authentic" japanese one, a drop or two of shoyu, no mouth watering condiments, nothing, just enjoy the natural "umami".

I always wondered why they dont make this kind of show with actual restaurants in Japan, beats me, probably all those people on tv are right and 100% of all food in all restaurants in Japan are "oishiiii" "umai" and "yasui".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's not bad; the 魚 needs to be cut right and the しやり needs careful preparation and attention. Then the わさび.!. Also, over-seas handling of raw fish might be tricky, leaving one with the Delhi Belly... I'll eat my sushi here thank you very much.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Sushi is the most popular cuisine among Japanese people.

"The concept of sushi was likely introduced to Japan in the ninth century and became popular there as Buddhism spread. The Buddhist dietary practice of abstaining from meat meant that many Japanese people turned to fish as a dietary staple."

Ramen comes in second.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Shunryū Suzuki

[Saizeriya is] still a Japanese restaurant with Japanese dishes AND non-Japanese dishes.

The food is created and made by Japanese people.

First, Saizeriya’s grand menu comprises mostly dishes (as I listed above) that would be considered “Western.”

Second, Saizeriya’s staff is likely to contain some non-Japanese these days, so I would not naturally assume, as you do, that “the food is made by Japanese people.”

And third, I would not necessarily consider warming a frozen item to be “cooking.”

We do agree that Saizeriya may not serve exemplary food. I just don’t consider its menu items to be representative of Japanese food.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Truth be told, pretty much all sushi buffet I've been in those cheap U$9~20 steak houses (Golden Corral, etc.) tasted a 100x better than anything you could ever get in Japan, even if you fork out like ¥20,000 in Ginza, there is just no comparison, those places just leave you hungry and with 0 after-taste.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Just a heads up for cheapskates, the restaurant chain Ten'ya mentioned in the story is cheapest widely available place to eat "ten zaru", which is cold soba with tempura on the side. A classic dish for those who know.

Ten'ya mostly does ten-don, tempura on rice, and their tempura is really good, better than many soba places. The noodles aren't anywhere near as good, but for 850 yen or whatever you can't complain. At a soba joint here in Nagano, ten zaru is typically 1600 to 1800.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course. It’s all money. Let’s just look at Ramen. Here 500 yen. In Singaoore 2500 to 3000 yen. Of course Japanese businesses are going overseas. Just like many business moving overseas for richer pastures.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

てんや does a good 天丼. I never had 天ぷら outside Japan, but I imagine it could be ok, if the fundamental principles are followed. No air fryer allowed, and the right oil used.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Asiaman7

Don’t think I’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant outside Japan that’s better than what we have inside Japan.

Surprisingly, the Kura Sushi in Cupertino California is quite a bit better than the Kura Sushi locations near me. I was kinda shocked at that.

I've also eaten at a number of Japanese restaurants in both CA and NY that were similar in quality and flavor to ones in Japan.

Unfortunately, many Japanese restaurants in the US are owned and operated by Koreans, and sometimes Chinese. The giveaway is usually the sauce-covered sushi rolls with silly names. Those are never as good as in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I like sushi and Kaiseki for special occasions but my favorite will always be fresh crispy tempura and soba noodles. “Itadakimasu”.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When it comes to steak I prefer Japanese beef and sometimes wagyu and french fries. For ribs, Tony Roma's is my go-to-place.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Elvis is here

てんや does a good 天丼. I never had 天ぷら outside Japan, but I imagine it could be ok if the fundamental principles are followed. No air fryer allowed, and the right oil used.

You would never use your built-in air fryer then. What is the right oil? You bought olive oil in bulk. Sesame oil is the best taste. Do you use an electric fryer or your IH?

Many house fires start from people making tempura. Needs full attention.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think many people could make sushi but the important item is how fresh is the local fish. Needs sticky white rice which is not always available in other countries.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some foods travel well, others can only best be appreciated in the home country. Hence, Chinese and Italian foods can be splendid in other countries, but French and Japanese foods are best in France and Japan.

That's not to say there are no good French or Japanese restaurants, there are. But having eaten in France and Japan, the two best cuisines in the world, I'd say dine in such restaurants at home for nostalgia, but go there is you really want the best each country has to offer.

It's just my opinion, and I eat at Japanese and French restaurants here (I am really not a food snob) and enjoy them. But when I was there France and Japan, I found bliss - sheer bliss - in eating. Food for thought.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Recipes travel not foods. All the foods needed to make French food are available in the UK and all EU countries. Italian food is equally good.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Recipes travel not foods

Pizza in Napoli, made with the produce of the land from Mt Vesuvius cannot be properly reproduced overseas.

Same with Scotch, Guinness and even the humble baked beans to name a few things you might know. Made out of country with none traditional ingredients lends to an imitation.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Neapolitan pizzas are made from wheat grown elsewhere. Even the tomatoes and olives used for the sauce are not grown in Naples which is a city.

Baked beans can be made at home. Haricot Beans and tomato sauce.

I have pizza many times in Naples. I also had the same in many places in Italy. The wood fire is what is important.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All the foods needed to make French food are available in the UK and all EU countries. Italian food is equally good.

Not since Brexit

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Even the wood used in the Naples pizza ovens needs to be brought into the city. Big discussion in Italy about whether wood-burning pizza ovens are environmentally correct.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

French, Italian, and Japanese foods are available in the UK. The amount of Japanese foods has increased and can now be found in local food stores. Some even have sushi bars.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I was surprised to learn you can buy Natto in the UK.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Though there are some Japanese chain restaurants where I live in San Francisco bay area California USA, we also do have family run Japanese restaurants too which I enjoy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hawaii has good Japanese restaurants.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Lava pizza is very popular in Naples. The most popular is Neapolitan pizza called marinara topped with tomatoes, oregano, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and occasionally fresh basil.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sakurasuki: "In fact no Japanese people really needed to prepare and eat Japanese cuisine."

I agree about the preparation part. I see many restaurants with all Japanese staff making what I feel to be good Italian, Mexican and other foods, so why can't it work the other way around?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

oyatoi: "And how many of these ‘authentic’ establishments are owned and operated by the real deal, not culture appropriating imitators?"

Being born somewhere doesn't mean you can make a more authentic meal from that region than someone from anywhere else, my friend. Granted, a lot of overseas "Japanese" restaurants are Westernized versions of the food (aside from maybe the overpriced crap with Michelin tire company stars), or else fusion restaurants of Japanese/Korean/Chinese dishes owned by a Korean and serving food that may be Japanese served with Basmati rice, but still... For example, I cook Japanese food better than most Japanese I know. That's not a flex, it's fact. It is no less authentic because I am foreign born, nor would it be if I went home and opened a Japanese shop there.

There's a Chinese restaurant in my town called "Waki", named after the chef who owns and runs it. He lived and trained in Taiwan and makes excellent Taiwanese/Chinese food. You saying he's not legit and the food not authentic because he is not Taiwanese or Chinese? I believe you deserve a good Will Smith to the face if you think so.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Shunryū Suzuki

wallace

I was surprised to learn you can buy Natto in the UK.

> You should travel a bit more.

I lived in London for 25 years before moving to Japan. I was able to buy Japanese foods from the 1970s in organic shops and a couple of Japanese suppliers. There was also a major wholesaler down in the west country. I also had many Japanese friends, some were my students. Their families sent food parcels which they gave to me because they wanted to eat Western foods, which was true of most of the Japanese I knew.

The numbers of Japanese food stores have increased and other local food stores sell Japanese foods. A very close relative works in Waitrose in Arsenal. There they have Japanese food and a sushi bar. But no natto. Natto is a very recent addition. My relative eats it but can't buy it so easily.

Natto is mostly available from Japanese stores and restaurants.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japanese restaurant, Japanese food but chefs are Koreans or Chinese. Kitchen helpers and Cleaners are SouthEast Asians.

Now slowly table has turned around esp in Europe. Those SouthEast Asians cleaners have become sushi chefs, Korean/Japanese students are waitresses and the owner is rich Indian but the restaurant and food are still Japanese or Korean.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People arguing about whether Japanese food is actually Japanese or not seem to forget something:

The level of SERVICE!

Nothing beats Japanese service in Japanese restaurants in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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