Yayoi Ken - The Amazing Authentic Japanese Set Meal Restaurant
FOOD

Yayoi Ken - The Amazing Authentic Japanese Set Meal Restaurant

2018.01.03

Known in Japanese as ‘ichiju sansai’, a set meal consisting of soup, rice, and three other dishes, these traditional dishes are an Intangible Cultural Asset that can best be enjoyed at the Yayoi Ken restaurant chain.

Translated byRichard Perkins

Written by OnoYasuhiro

Traditional Japanese style meals have been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Property of Japan by UNESCO, and as such, have garnered attention worldwide. Today we'd like to introduce you to Yayoi Ken, a restaurant chain where you can fully enjoy authentic Japanese style meals.

The Basics of Japanese Style Set Meals

Karaage Teishoku

Photo courtesy of: Yayoi Ken

A set meal served in Japan is said to consist of a bowl of rice as the staple dish with miso or other kinds of soup, pickled vegetables, and a main dish featuring either a meat or fish. This sort of meal is often prepared at home, but can be found at many popular restaurants as well.

The ‘ichiju sansai’ style of set meal in Japan is the basis of the Yayoi Ken menu. ‘Ichiju sansai’ indicates traditional Japanese food that consists of rice with soup along with three other dishes, a main dish and 2 side dishes. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that eating this style of meal is the secret to longevity, seeing as with this meal you enjoy balanced portions of highly nutritious foods.

Yayoi Ken

Now let's take a look at the restaurant itself.

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Pictured above is a red logo that Yayoi Ken is famous for.

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And here you can see plastic models of the dishes available at Yayoi Ken on display out front of their Ryogoku location.

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Ordering is easy. Go to the ticket-vending machine and select the dish or dishes that appeal to you from their touch panel. These are usually 6 buttons on the screen:

Red: the standard menu
Orange: meals served in bowls, grilled foods
Yellow: the limited edition menu
Green: meals served in bowls, udon noodles
Light blue: breakfast menu
Blue: small bowls, beer

Depending on the location, there may also be a ‘children’s’ button as well.

After paying and picking up your ticket and change, enter the restaurant and feel free to sit at any seat you’d like. The staff will come along to check your ticket and bring some water.

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After giving the staff your ticket, you'll have a short wait before your meal is brought out. Here you can see their 'miso eggplant and roasted fish set meal' (840 yen). The main dish is miso eggplant made with a special sauce, which is served along with a refreshingly flavored salt baked salmon. This meal comes with tofu, miso soup, and rice too - a healthy and filling example of an ichuju sansai set.

Two Points to Take Note of at Yayoi Ken

Yayoi Ken is a restaurant that serves Japanese style food and set meals at low prices. But what’s appealing about this restaurant isn’t just the items on the menu and the low prices.

Help Yourself to Extra Helpings of Rice

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Pictured above is a rice cooker full of rice set out in the seating area of Yayoi Ken. One of the most attractive aspects to dining at Yayoi Ken is that you can help yourself to additional helpings of rice, depending on which type of set you purchase. The additional rice is self-serve, so you can help yourself to as small or as large a portion as you’d like. While we’re on the subject, to the right of the rice cooker is a pot full of hot tea. You can also help yourself to as much of this tea as you’d like.

Pickled Vegetables on the Table

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Pictured above are the all-you-can-eat pickled vegetables placed on the tables. Even though these pickled vegetables are all-you-can-eat, you should probably try only a little at first - they have quite a strong saltiness about them! With just these pickled vegetables you’ll finish of a bowl of rice with ease. These pickles are only available at Yayoi Ken, so they are a must try item when you visit.

Three Recommendations for Set Meals

Lastly, the Japanese author would like to share with you three highly recommended dishes at Yayoi Ken, based on their own personal favorites.

1. Shogayaki Teishoku - Ginger Pork Set Meal (580 Yen)

Shogayaki Teishoku

Photo courtesy of: Yayoi Ken

Shogayaki, or ginger fried pork, is a very popular standard meal in Japan, and at Yayoi Ken, it comes in a very cost effective, large portioned meal.

2. Saba no Misoni Teishoku - Miso Grilled Mackerel Set (590 Yen)

Saba No Misoni Teishoku

Photo courtesy of: Yayoi Ken

Another very traditional Japanese dish, saba no misoni might make your mouth pucker at first, as the sour-sweetness of the miso has thoroughly soaked into the fresh mackerel.

3. Chicken Nanban & Ebi Fry Teishoku - Fried Chicken & Shrimp Set (930 Yen)

Chicken Nanban & Ebi Fly Teishoku

Photo courtesy of: Yayoi Ken

With this set meal you can enjoy fried chicken prepared in a spicy vinegar sauce and crispy fried shrimp with a refreshing tartar sauce. This is a superb and filling meal, so if you feel like treating yourself to something a little luxurious, this Western style set meal born in Japan is perfect.

Have you gotten hungry looking at all these amazing dishes? For an inexpensive and delicious Japanese set meal, go down to your local Yayoi Ken!
**There are Yayoi Ken restaurants all across Japan, see their official website for the one nearest you.

Information

Yayoi Ken Ryogoku
Address: Tokyo, Sumida, Ryogoku 3-22-11
Hours: 8:00 - 24:00
Closed: Never
Credit Cards: Accepted
Menus/Information in Other Languages: None
Nearest Station: JR Ryogoku Station
Access: 2 minute walk from JR Ryogoku Station
Phone: 03-5625-4620
Website: http://www.yayoiken.com/en/

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