Yokohama’s history is a fascinating culmination of international influence and local culinary achievements, and the restaurant scene is an embodiment of that. From the rich Chinese dishes of Yokohama’s Chinatown, to the sweet treats located along the popular Yokohama Bay, there’s no shortage of places to sample the diversity of Yokohama.
Nikuman in Chukagai
Yokohama’s Chukagai, also known as China Town is one one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and the biggest in Aisa, making it a must visit foodie destination. Lining the streets is an endless array of colorful, budget-friendly and high-end dining establishments and countless food stands. If the selection gets a little too overwhelming, or you just don’t know where to begin, start with nikuman. Nikuman is the Japanese name for Chinese baozi (bao), a fist-sized doughy dumpling bun typically filled with ground pork, or beef. It’s an excellent handy, hearty snack for on the go. You can usually find nikuman on most restaurant menus, but if you’re just looking for a snack there are plenty of dumpling stalls scattered around the area, Edosei is a recommended nikuman hotspot.
Pudding a la Mode at New Hotel Grand
Yokohama has a knack for taking international flavors and making them their own, and the pudding a la mode at New Hotel Grand is one such example. A mix of European-inspired sweets and the undeniably Japanese art of picture-perfect food presentation, this is New Hotel Grand’s signature dessert. The hotel was founded in the 1920s, a time when Yokohama was in the flux of international influence. Pudding a la mode was the creation of the hotel’s French chef S. Weil who incorporated French-style cooking with Japanese produce to create something truly special. If you want to taste Yokohama’s history, for 1,050 yen you can visit the hotel’s Coffee House The Cafe for a serve of this fruit, custard and pudding dish that looks almost too good to eat.
Sanma men at Gyokusentei
Yokohama is known as one of the country’s premier hubs for ramen. The city’s Chinese history, Japanese pride, and international influence have produced one of the most diverse ramen scenes in the world, and sanma men is all that history in one single bowl. A textual and flavourful combination of crispy bean shoots, cabbage, various stir-fried vegetables, noodles, and salty miso broth it’s the ultimate comfort food. If you want to try the original and the best sanma men, head to Gyokusentei, a three-generation Chinese restaurant in the Naka Ward of Yokohama which is said to be the founding home of the dish.
Yokohama Ramen at Yokohamaiekeira-Menkachidokiya
For something that looks a little more like your standard ramen offerings, try Yokohama ramen from Yokohamaiekeira-Menkachidokiya. It’s a no-fuss classic ramen restaurant that offers an authentic local Japanese ramen experience. The Kanto region of Japan, of which Yokohama is a part is most well known for its shoyu (soy sauce based) ramen, a style that’s a little lighter than its tonkotsu pork broths based bowls, but no less flavourful, making it an excellent lunchtime option.
Zo No Parks Soft cream
One of the sweetest ways to enjoy the culinary delights of Yokohama is by paying a visit to Zo-No-Hana (Elephant Trunk) Terrace in Minatomirai for a Zo No Parks soft cream. Situated just underneath a grassy plateau looking out onto the water, Zo No Hana Park is a family-friendly hangout that was built in commemoration of the port’s 150th anniversary in 2009. The soft cream is a dedication to the terrace’s elephant obsession, and definitely the park cafe’s most popular menu item. There’s plenty of seating indoors, but for the ultimate Yokohama port experience, climb the grassy rooftop to enjoy the treat with a view of the city.