Way back when I was planning to first come to Japan – we’re talking 1989 for those who need the dirty details – I assumed that there would be a wide selection of Chinese and Korean food available. Like Mexican food in the US, right? I mean, all these countries are right next to each other.
I was wrong.
Sure, there were Korean and Chinese restaurants, but not in any great abundance. Worse, though, was that they were all completely “Japanisized.” Even in a place like Nagasaki’s Chinatown, where there were countless Chinese restaurants, they all had the same general menu of “Chinese style” Japanese dishes. Forget Sichuan cuisine, it wasn’t happening.
The same with Korean food, which I love. It was all modified to suit (at that time) fairly bland Japanese taste preferences. Most Japanese didn’t like spicy foods, and a good number didn’t even like garlic! So you got some bland version of Korea barbecue, with nori and with maybe one sweet tasting and mild kimchi – not the wide variety of pickles that were served in Korea. And this was in Kyushu, where you could practically swim to Korea.
Thankfully, things have changed since I first arrived. Now there are Chinese restaurants everywhere, and Korean restaurants in abundance. The only problem is that Korean barbecue can still be expensive, and it is still a hit and miss opportunity with regards to getting authentic Korea or Japanisized Korean.
Luckily, a place called Don Mai (豚舞, which translates to pork and dancing) solves both problems. Concentrating on pork dished, the taste is authentic, as is the atmosphere. It has that rustic Korean atmosphere, and none of the hushed tones so common to Japanese restaurants. They have a very reasonably priced 90-minute all you can eat at 2500 yen as of the time of this post. Another 1500 yen adds all you can drink.
It’s simply my new favorite Korean place in town, and highly recommended.
福岡市中央区清川2-6-21 Fukuoka City, Chuoku, Kyokawa 2-6-21
Open evenings only
More pictures can be seen at this website (in Japanese).