Translated by MATCHA
Saisai Canteen: Real Shanghai Cuisine
Written by MATCHA
Tokyo is full of delicious international food, and for anyone look for a little bit of Shanghai you can find it in Nakano at Saisei Canteen!
Tokyo is a city that has all kinds of international cuisines. If you come to Japan, besides Japanese cuisines, try some authentic international dishes as well.
Based on this idea, this time we would like to introduce a restaurant that serves authentic Shanghainese cuisine, "Saisai Canteen (蔡菜食堂)". We also recommend this place to Chinese tourists who become nostalgic of the taste of home.
Walk for 5 minutes from the South exit of Nakano JR station and you will find its signature red exterior.
In this tiny interior, 16 tables are lined up orderly. Unlike the Chinese restaurants you usually find in Japan, this one is very tidy and clean.
For those who are not good at reading Japanese menu, you can just ask the owner for recommendations. Try this Japanese phrase: "Osusume wa nan desuka? (オススメはなんですか？)"
Recommended Dish 1: Stir-Fried Liver and Chive
The dishes at Saisai Canteen are the kind of cuisines that are enjoyed by Shanghainese at home. In order to emphasis the taste of the ingredients, not much seasonings are used. It is the kind of cuisines that you won't get tired of no matter how many times you eat them.
Although it is not a fancy menu, it is still very tasty and even the Japanese feel like they are having the food at their home.
The above photo, Stir-Fried Liver and Chives (900yen), is a dish like this. It is a simple dish with just pig livers and chives, but its taste is fully manifested by the strong sauce. The livers used are really fresh, so it is a dish even for the people who are not good at the strong smell of livers.
Recommended Dish 2: Fried Rice with Roasted Pork and Lettuce
Fried Rice with Roasted Pork and Lettuce (800yen). The moment you stir your spoon, your appetite is stirred as well. The secret to this is the Japanese pepper.
The salty base with a tender seasonings, the twist of garlic - it is another dish that you will devour. The texture of this dish is also very impressive with the chewiness of the roasted pork and the crispiness of the lettuce.
Recommended Dish 3: Chicken Liver Pâté
Chicken Liver Pâté (700yen), a dish fitting as a starter. The strong taste of the chicken liver will spread from the tip of your tongue.
It is also perfect to have it with alcohol. In Saisai Canteen, there are all kinds of alcohols including beer, Chinese rice wine and table wines. Pick your favorite and enjoy your glass with your Chinese dinner.
Spread the Pâté on the toasted crispy baguette.
Recommended Dish 4: Vegetable Soup Dumplings
The tender "Vegetable Soup Dumplings"(3 pc/300 yen) that slide smoothly on your tongue. Bit on it; and feel the chewiness combined by vegetables and dried shrimps.
The taste is light but it is still very delicious. Do not forget about the soup, the spring onion will give you a tender aftertaste.
Recommended Dish 5: Almond Tofu-Jelly
Finish your meal with the dessert "Almond Tofu-Jelly" (250yen). The refreshing aroma of apricot will make you forget how full you already are.
Packed even on weekdays evenings, the place is popular with the locals as well. If you are coming with some friends, it is recommended to make a reservation first.
Saisai Canteen (蔡菜食堂)
Address：3-35-2 Nagano, Nagano-ku, Tokyo
Station：Nagano JR station of Chūō line
Access：5-min walk from Nagano JR station
Bonus Information: TERIYAKI, an App to Find Delicious Restaurant
"TERIYAKI", the App to find delicious restaurants
Price: Free/ 480yen per month
Distribution: iTunes Store , Google Play
*To find the app on the store, please search by the keyword "TERIYAKI"