Shin-Okubo: Tokyo’s Korea Town
My friend Valerie and I hit the Shinjuku adjacent area of Shin-Okubo for some much-craved Korean fare. Even though I used to complain about Korean food being too spicy for my taste while living in Korea, I miss it a lot and need my regular dose, as it became part of my lifestyle for that year.
Thankfully Tokyo has a rather sizable Korea Town, which is located a few minutes away from the infamous Kabukicho near Shinjuku station. I think the most interesting part of the night was walking through hordes of hosts getting ready for the night and the love hotel-lined streets… but let’s move on to the food part.
We feasted on the typical Korean BBQ, which features strips of grilled pork that are meant to be wrapped into lettuce leaves and topped with vegetables and chili paste. We also shared kimchijeon, a pancake filled with kimchi and spring onion, possibly my favourite Korean dish. What I miss most about Korean food are the various side dishes that come along, banchan, and sampling a little bit of everything for a pleasurable and balanced meal.
Shin-Okubo is also filled to the brim with everything exuding Korean pop culture, from shops to restaurants and cafés, to street signs all in hangul. It’s a very lively neighbourhood, with the same street food stalls and grilled meat aromas so typically found everywhere in Korea. I’m always quite nostalgic of my days living in Seoul, but I’m lucky it’s so easily accessible from where I live now.