The One With Dai Mon Yokocho – Localised Japanese Fare

Restaurant owners in Hong Kong are well known to be exceptionally skilled in transforming foreign cuisine to the local taste buds. This is not to say local diners are not a discerning bunch; but the vast majority of Hong Kongers are more than happy to settle for food and drinks which have been, well, watered down, or tampered with to make it taste less foreign.

That is also not to say such localised food is not great. My experience at Dai Mon Yokocho was a testament that despite the interfering hands of the local chefs, the Japanese food served was delicious through strayed far from the real land-of-the-rising-sun’s food. The diners were decidedly local, so were the kitchen staff. I was there one rainy night and was “lucky” to be seated in plain view of the Cantonese-speaking chefs and cooks.

Dai Mon Yokocho

The food? Well! Let’s get down to business.

Hand-made Udon In Spicy Satay Soup With Premium Beef & Pork Cartilage (HK$69)

Dai Mon Yokocho

My choice, and definitely a good one. There was a page of udon in satay broth, another set of options in tomato broth, and yet another page for “spicy” broth… in satay and tomato variety. I reckoned all they did was to sprinkle some liberal amount of sliced cili padi (bird’s eye chilli), and it worked. The satay broth was fragrant with a strong peanut taste, the way I like it, and the udon were smooth and chewy. I can’t comment much about the beef and pork, except that when served with the whole combination plus spring onions and corns, it worked like a charm. My friend took a couple mouthfuls and reckoned it was better than his choice!

Jikogu Hand-made Udon With Grilled Chicken (HK$68)

Dai Mon Yokocho

Which was this. The grilled chicken is all time favorite, so I’ll take his words that it was delicious. What didn’t work for me was the tomato broth it was in. It was just too thick and sweet for me; I suspect they even added ketchup for good measure! Oh my! That was a disastrous combination. I think I have had something similar in Vietnamese restaurants before, but the strong sweet taste was balanced with lots of onions. I reckon you shall request the same if you are not a fan of tomato broth.

Hard Boiled Eggs & Fried Meat Dumplings (HK$8 as add-ons)

Dai Mon Yokocho

These add-ons are pretty good! I was told that the right way to eat these half hard-boiled eggs were to gobble it up in one go. I begged to differ, so had mine the way I like it – slowly. I am not sure why the eggs looked the way it did, can anyone enlighten me? Meat dumplings were nothing to shout about, though I must say the skin was a tad too thick for my liking.

Japanese Sesame Salad (HK$38)

Dai Mon Yokocho

Oooooo. I love the sesame sweet sauce. It was delicious beyond description, and definitely a refreshing side to the meal. Regardless of the huge portion of green salad served, I reckon the sauce itself will go well with almost everything.

Homemade Fried Oysters (HK$38)

Dai Mon Yokocho

I have had huge oysters which were succulent, juicy and full of that tangy seafood taste. These were like that, only miniaturised. I reckon at that price it was good value, but definitely not as main to your dinner, please. Best eaten piping hot, dipped into plenty of mayonnaise.

Dai Mon Yokocho

Verdict? One of those many Japanese joints dedicated to the local taste buds. Certainly a good option if you want to eat your way into the local culture.

Dai Mon Yokocho
G/F, Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
2394 4335

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