Best Pick

Best Japanese hidden gem eats in Wanchai
Date Published : 12 Jul 2017

Roaming around Wanchai and craving some Japanese eats? Here are some of our favourite hidden gems in Wanchai that doesn't break the wallet.Cat’s Eye
The Cat’s Eye is a dainty Ghibli-esque restaurant in the corner of Wanchai, but don’t be fooled by the nondescript location, this place is always packed during lunch hours and you’ll always have to wait for a seat. The head chef (from Japan) aimed to bring authentic Japanese-style comfort food to Hong Kong with a particular focus on quality demi-glace burgers. And that he did, the Cat's Eye is serving up some amazing demi-glace burgers, Japanese curry, omurice, and many other homelier Japanese options. You can choose from three different sauces from tomato, cream and curry over a perfectly fluffy omelette. They also have a demi-glaze option which we opt for. In our experience, their demi-glace burgers are the real superstars of the place. You’ll want to get there early before their burgers are sold out as they only make a few of them each serving time. G/F, 25 Swatow St, Wan Chai, 2891-8986; Jan Jan Kushikatsu
The kushikatsu is the Osaka ingenuity of poking whatever edible you can find on a stick and then deep frying it to golden. Don’t mistake it with tempura or an American corn dog, the kushikatsu has a little extra something to make it a tad fancier than the rest. A crispy and light breading, quality oil and an iconic soy-based sauce elevates kushikatsu from the rest. This original brand straight from Osaka, Jan Jan Kushikatsu with its cosy interior and welcoming izakaya spirit has been serving up authentic kushikatsu in Wanchai. Meat lovers will enjoy the beef & the chicken leg kushikatsu . But the vegetables are the best part in our opinion, we recommend the eggplant, cheese and lotus root. In true Osaka fashion, Jan Jan Kushikatsu doesn't allow double-dipping and provides pieces of cabbage for those who'd like to scoop a little more of the glorious sauce. These aren’t any healthier than any other deep fried things we know, but it's one of those Japanese foods that you crave between chugs of beer and rowdy conversations. There’s also non-fried options including their extensive grilled menu featuring many of the same meats and vegetables. We also recommend their authentic mains including their grilled pork belly meatball and green tea soba. 2nd Floor, 100 Queen 's Road East, Wan Chai, 2157 1408; Chao Chao Gyoza 
Another Japanese import, Chao Chao Gyoza has branches all over Japan, but this one in Wanchai is their first foreign venture. At HK$22 for 8 pieces of dumplings, Chao Chao Gyoza is no fancy affair. It’s Japanese fast food at its best, reminiscent of the colder and lonelier Tokyo nights when one craves the steamy meaty smell of gyoza. Apart from their original rectangular gyoza they also have more creative options, such as their cheese-filled gyozas and Osaka-style gyoza (takoyaki sauce, mayo, bonito), as well as their shake-shake gyoza which follows Mcdonald’s concept of shaking a bag of gyoza, in this case, with powdery seasoning that stick to the outside crisp. 31 Amoy St, Wan Chai, 2735 5360; Syukudo
Awarded as the best Japanese restaurant in Singapore, their tiny Hong Kong shop opened this year at one of Wanchai's many nondescript lunch streets. They serve up some poke-esque chirashi don: generous portions of sashimi cubes that are marinated in a sweet soy-based sauce and then served in a bowl of rice with fresh ikura and real wasabi (none of that slimy green sort). What makes this place great is their portions, for the prices, the quality and the portions are really generous. This place is also a great spot for ekiben-style lunches: Japanese curry, karaage, tonkatsu, all of Japanese comfort food served on those iconic black plastic bento containers. Their karaage is amazing, at HK$30 they give great portions of freshly double-fried karaage. 9, 3 Heard St, Wan Chai, 3706 5180; House [和食居 ]
While passing through the Wanchai alleyways you might have just passed this through. A tiny shop in a dark street behind Tai Yau Plaza you’ll find Washoku House. It’s written in Japanese so if you can’t read kanji, don’t expect to find it easily (use your GPS really). We have to say while the majority of things in the menu are passable and some are not very authentic, we recommend this place for their fabulous eel. Their eel rice has one of the most wonderful sauces (which they like to call 'secret sauce'), that along with their modest prices makes Washoku House absolutely worth going back again and again. G/F, Ka Yee Building, 119 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, 3481 9696; facebook.comFU-UNMARU
Okay, so this one isn’t as hidden, it's another Japanese import, a dipping ramen (tsukemen) hotspot on Johnston road that just opened this spring. You’ll find a line outside at lunch times, and with good reason, they serve some amazing dipping noodles with the most flavoursome of dipping broths. It’s nearly a stretch to call it a broth, with it so thick and umami we might as well call it a sauce or a stew, so much that the sauce clings to the noodles and coats it full of flavour with just one dip (doesn’t stop us from drowning our noodles though). You can choose to get up to 400g of noodles for free, with a choice of extra toppings. We really recommend trying their original that comes with two pieces of ridiculously large char siu pieces (juicy and delectably fatty-tender), marinated bamboo shoots and half an onsen egg. While those two charsiu pieces are very likely to keep you satisfied (and very full), we recommend you to try their delicious karaage and if you are really hungry, to add a bowl of flavoured seaweed rice into your leftover broth in the end. Shop B, G/F, W Square, 314 - 324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 3188 1472;

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