The set lunch (Teishoku) >>Find Teishoku, Yoshoku RestaurantsSo today you're eating alone. Maybe it seems a little unusual? But, in Japan it's a pretty normal thing to do. Since you're alone, there's not really much point in going to a sit-down restaurant, but a shop for set lunches is perfect. They're cheap and tasty, and always have plenty of food.
A typical lunch set consists of rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, and then one main dish. That's a set lunch. Set lunches are widely beloved as the busy person's ally, and are eaten by everyone from students to businessmen: anyone who wants a good meal but doesn't have a lot of time to waste getting it.
Sunny's recommendationAll lunch sets usually range between 600 and 1,000 yen.
Shogayaki (pork ginger)
Yaki sakana (grilled fish)
Wafu steak (japnese style)
Yasai itame (veg and pork)
Additionally, many shops offer daily specials, which change every day, thereby adding the spice of variety to your day.
- Most izakaya offer lunch sets at low prices during the day, so make sure to check out your favorite izakaya in the afternoon too.
- There are also well-known chain stores just for set lunches. Otoya and Ohachi both have picture menus, so even those of you without much Japanese to your name can order without having to worry about just what you'll be having for lunch.
Western food (Yoshoku) >>Find Teishoku, Yoshoku Restaurants"Western foods" are those foods that have their origins in the West and became popular with the Japanese after the Meiji Restoration. For example, have you heard of a dish called "omu-rice"? Omu-rice, short for "omelet rice," as the name hints at, is a dish making use of that distinctively Western dish, the omelet. Inside the plain omelet shell is fried rice seasoned with ketchup (another “Western” food), which is where the rest of the name comes from. How about ‘hamgurg'? Have you heard of this Japanese dish? But unlike in English, hamburg is not short of ‘hamburger;' instead this dish most closely resembles a meatloaf. Hamburg is usually served as a set with rice, soup and salad. You could also have bread in place of the rice if you prefer.
To the Japanese mind, the hallmark of "Western food" lies in alternating the different foods rather than eating the hamburg, then the rice, then the salad, and then finally the soup in turn separately. Of course, that's not a set rule or anything; it's just the general idea of what makes something "Western food" and not "Japanese food" or "Chinese food" even if it doesn't look like your idea of "Western food."
Where to eatIf you're talking Western food, places like Rengatei in Ginza are pretty famous. There's also Tsubame Grill, which is one of the oldest Western restaurants in Japan. Many family restaurants like Denny's Royal Host, and Jonathan's have a lot of Western food on their menus. It's not all Western food, but they're still well-known as being Western restaurants. Family restaurants also tend to have reasonable prices, so they really are good places for you to go out with your whole family. In Tokyo, there are also lots of Western chain restaurants you're probably familiar with from home, but while you're in Japan, why not try Japan's take on “Western foods” and go for a place where you won't just be getting the same things you've always had.
Sunny's recommendationFor most Western restaurants, prices are usually about a thousand yen higher than your typical lunch set, ranging from around 1000 to 2000 yen.
Omu rice (omelet rice)
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