I have received a few emails and messages asking about what eating out in Japan is like. I have talked about some of the more traditional places in my previous posts but now I want to share with you is some of my favorite places.
Finding American food is nearly impossible in Japan. It may look or taste similar but it isn’t quite what you may remember from the states. One of the things I was missing was a good old all American hamburger. If you remember from my post about the onsen, the hamburgers at most places taste more like meatloaf than hamburgers. I’m not complaining because they are yummy but it does make me miss my old comfort foods. Thankfully Charrleen introduced us to Grand Chief Burger. Grand Chief Burger makes American style burgers and fries that actually taste spot on! The fries are even greasy!!!
I would come here just from the food but the I love the atmosphere. It is so quirky it reminds me of someplace I would see back home in Chapel Hill/ Carrboro. What’s so quirky about this place? The restaurant is a teepee with a chandelier.
Grand Chief Burger has accidentally become a tradition to go to the day before Jeremy leaves for a few days. If you are in Iwakuni and want to try it out, go out route 2 towards Hiroshima. Once you pass the fish place (you can’t miss the 10 foot fish sign) on your right, slow down because Grand Chief burger is around the curve and on the left. It’s in a gas station parking lot and really easy to miss.
Another comfort food I love is pizza. We have a Pizza Hut at Crossroads on base but it doesn’t taste right and is really over priced. When we are craving pizza we found a tiny place off base called Pizzeria Da Hachi. They hand make personal pizzas and bake them in an amazing pizza oven. It is so much fun to watch them make the pizza. It is so fresh tasting and has the greasy yumminess you expect in good pizza. To get there from base go straight through Four Corners, take a right at Three Corners, go over the bridge and take the first real right you can. Pizzeria Da Hachi is about a block down on the right. There is parking across the street.
A nice mix of Japanese meets American is Gunny Young’s place. I don’t remember what the Japanese name is but everyone (even the cab drivers) know this as Gunny Young’s place. Gunny Young is the owner along with Japanese wife. This is Gunny Young’s second tour in Iwakuni. He is also a bartender at the bowling alley on base twice a week. His place is a yakiniku restaurant down by Yellow Brick Road. Most yakiniku places use grills that use propane gas to keep the flame going. At Gunny Young’s place they use pots with large coals. I feel like it gives the food a completely different taste and I prefer it over the gas grills.
Gunny Young’s place offers an all you can eat yakiniku option that also includes all you can drink alcoholic drinks. The meat platters are huge and the drinks are strong. The drinks taste like the ones my sister and dad would make. You have 2 hours to eat and drink. I know this seems like a long time but this is the norm for places like this in Japan. Meals like these a designed to make you spend time with the people you came with and actually be social. The cost for this is interesting. It’s ¥3,800 ($33) for women and ¥4,000 ($35) for men. Yes, its a little pricey but the first platter you get is $150 worth of meat. We save this for special events typically. They also have a a la carte menu.
This last place I want to share with you isn’t a restaurant. It’s a Yatai food truck! On the weekends this food truck parks in front of MaxValu. You place your order of various foods on a stick before you go grocery shopping. While you shop, he cooks your food. You pick it up on your way out. He offers a variety of food like chicken, chicken skin, squid, liver, beef, pork, and sometimes it will have onions mixed in on the stick. They are quite delicious. I really like to order the liver.
Well, now that I have told you about some of my favorite places, I think I need to go fix me something to eat. Writing this post has made me very hungry.