The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

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Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I don't remember the name of the place, but I stopped at a local supposedly Japanese place to get some miso soup on the way home from shopping. So I walk in and notice that there are no Asians in the place. I asked if they served any miso soup, the cashier said they did. So I asked "What kind?". She didn't know. So I asked what color it was. She didn't know. I asked about allergy info. She didn't know. I asked if she could go check, she acted like it was a dreaded chore. She brought me the container and had me read it. It was in Japanese, and I only know 4 Kanji so it took me a while to figure out that it was red miso. Of course you'd think they would have known having made it before and all. I decided not to get the soup because I didn't know if there were any of my allergies in it. So I ask for some green tea, her response: "Huh??". They only carry iced black tea.

I left.

I ended up eating a curry at a friends Chinese restaurant. He's a local, and his wife was born in China.



Zero Aggression Principle

Bento-ing from: Manchester › UK
Joined: 25 Sep 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I'm a little disappointed in the racism in this thread - "If it's owned by non-Japanese it can't be any good" seems to be a common sentiment. Here in America, anyone can learn to cook anything these days. A white person who learned from a Japanese chef would do more authentic cuisine than a Japanese-American who banks on their looking Asian to throw together anything and call it "authentic". Around here, there's almost no Japanese people; most of the asians around here are Korean or Vietnamese - does that mean I shouldn't bother trying to go to any Asian places except Pho Vietnam and the one Korean sandwich shop?

"Stop having the boring tuna; stop having the boring life" - Vince Offer

Peter H. Coffin
Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame
yamikuronue wrote:

I'm a little disappointed in the racism in this thread - "If it's owned by non-Japanese it can't be any good" seems to be a common sentiment. Here in America, anyone can learn to cook anything these days.

While that's true, it's important to remember than "possible" is not the same as "likely". And, when you're hungry and looking for a place to eat, "likely" is a much more reliable way to bet. Further, what my standards for "good Japanese food" may be, they're likely to be MUCH looser than someone who grew up eating Japanese food in Japan, or even someone who grew up eating the food made by someone who grew up eating Japanese food in Japan. So I'm perfectly okay with the common assessment that "Japanese chef means more likely authentic and appropriate preparation".

Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I'm not a racist. Generally it is a bad sign when you go into a restaurant and no one of that ethnicity is either eating there or cooking. And the name of the restaurant is Kyoto, which is very generic. I wonder how many unaffiliated places have the same name?

Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

It's not racism it's just that I hate that they are selling me food labeled as "real" japanese food and it's not. I don't mind going to a restaurant that serves maki rolls, what i mind is that they sell them as the real flavor of japan when it's obviously not.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I agree with you. Their is a lot of racist comments here. I kind of feel offend when people make bad comments toward the asian races(excluding Japanese). For all those non-Japanese people who are making racists comments towards the other non-Japanese owned resturants saying that the food at the resturant isn't good because it not runned by Japanese people, remember that implies that your cooking must not be good because you're not Japanese either.....Oh yea, I also agree that Asian fusion cooking tastes bad too. It's like halfway asian and the rest something unidentible. O_o

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I personally don't mind eating at a non-Japanese owned restaurant serving Japanese food...I do give them a try (or a couple times). I judge on taste and price; the higher the price, the more I care about taste. But my experience has been that non-Japanese owned places in my city are not as good. There's a place across the street from my place that I really want to like, because it's so close. But I went there a few times and decided I'd rather drive somewhere else. It used to be good with previous owner...I guess I'll wait until ownership changes again before I go back.
At the end of the day, I see it like wine...if it tastes good to you, it's good wine. Even if it's fusion style.

By the way, even Thai restaurants are a similar case...being run by non-Thai "neighbors". But then again, if it tastes good then it's good. I tend to judge based on what I've eaten before.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

"I judge on taste and price; the higher the price, the more I care about taste..."

That isn't how great 5 star restaurants work, like anything in life its also about the experiences and setting, who you're with and what you like. When it comes to humans experiencing taste, it isn't about 6 taste sensations or texture, it is also about who you are with, where you are, the ambient temperature, the background noise, ad infinium. You can send a meal back at a 5 star restaurant if you're in a poor mood, and it is rather simplistic to simply base a restaurant on 'taste' That attitude is simplistic at best, I've seen children who were more open minded.

your statement is also illogical because some of the best tasting food one may have is from street vendors who are in a gutter surrounded by pigeons. Now how would you judge that?

Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I think you may be taking that comment the wrong way. Think about it more like this: If you are hungry you will be prepared to buy anything cheap to fill the gap, and if it tastes great that's a bonus and you'll make a point of returning. On the other hand, if you are paying lots of money for a meal you expect it to taste great. No amount of ambience will make me return to an expensive restaurant if the food isn't good. Wonderful food, however, can be worth putting up with not so good service and tatty surroundings even if it costs a lot.

Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

How is that statement closed minded? If I'm paying a ton of money for food, then it better be delicious. Regardless of how well I'm treated, how beautiful the restaurant is, or how comfy the seating is, if I'm paying a huge amount for the food it better be good. That's just logical. You send a meal back at a 5 star restaurant because you didn't like it, and since you're paying for it, you should get something you like. And the statement doesn't say anything about bad food being cheap. Cheap food can definitely be good, and that makes you really happy. But IF you are paying a lot of money, it better be good.


Onaka ga suiteiru!

Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

My family is not very supportive of my love of sushi so I don't have many negative experiences to speak of. However, I lived in Orlando, Florida for several months, and since it is a destination many people may go to, I thought I would mention a restaurant I had a good experience at.

It is called Seito and it is in Wintergarden (just a few minutes north on I4). If you were visiting Disney and wanted to try the teppanyaki in Epcot, I would recommend that you go to Seito instead. The Epcot restaurant is (not surprisingly) very expensive and they don't have very many options because of how many people they have to serve per hour. Seito on the other hand has many traditional sushi as well as many original-creation rolls, several of which are named after Disney movies and characters. My favorite was the Beauty and the Beast roll - salmon and eel! Another drawback is that they never bring out the characters in Japan anymore. They used to have Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy come out in silk kimono - very cute! It's funny to watch all the Japanese girls run to Epcot- France though, screaming in delight when Marie the Cat comes out!

My regular home is near the second largest mall in America, The Palisades Mall in southern New York. We have a restaurant there called "East", although I'm afraid it might suffer from mass-produced sushi-syndrome. I just like it because it has the fun conveyor belt and because my (very very large Hungarian) boyfriend and I can stuff ourselves for around $30 :D


Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I generally make my own sushi and sashimi at home where I can control all the variables. What if the other guy your chef is making sushi for orders trout sashimi and you make a point of only ordering salt water fish, and the chef forgets to clean his knives between fish? Do you really want parasites...?

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

speaking of terrible japanese restaurants, i found zen sushi ( in new jersey to be terrible. i ordered the chicken teriyaki lunch, and they'd managed to overcook it until it was rock-hard and barely edible. the shumai was overdone. and they burned the green tea! the entire stock of it. first, i thought it may have been a mistake, and ordered another cup of it.. only to find this one just as burned and disgusting. it smelled foul, and was completely undrinkable. the waitress wasn't particularly friendly, and in general i don't think i'd ever go back.

now yoshi sono ( is a lovely place. i used to go there almost every day for lunch until much of the staff knew me by heart. i do believe everything i've eaten there was not satisfactory if not delicious, and i'm sad that i no longer live closer.

Gustav L

Most Japanese restaurants in Stockholm are bearable but often quite expensive, spite the fact that shushi-places are everywhere.
I moved to a new area and decided to try out the local ones. On one street there where two shushi restaurants facing each other, one called "Genkai" and the other called "Helenes Sushi". Well, I naturally tried Genkai with high hopes and received a bland plate of mixed sushi on dry, warm rice. Not luke warm. Hot. A bit discourage I decided to try out "Helenes" and it was great, easily one of the best ones in Stockholm.

So, what's in a name? Not much obviously. Being in Sweden it's had to get good tuna, but the salmon is almost always excellent and cheep to.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I've been to wagamama twice, one time in copenhagen on vacation, for lunch. I had some absolutely superb miso soup which really is out there with some of the best ive ever eaten. I also had some really tasty noodle dish with chicken and some other things in it (no idea what it was called anymore, its been about 5 years or so)

Hence my excitement when we also got a wagamama here in groningen in the netherlands, I went there one time, and this was also the last time I visited.
They didn't have the same menu as the one in copenhagen, and the tasty noodles with chicken was nowhere to be found, so I ordered some kind of noodlesoup instead, wow what a disappointment, it tasted mostly like water and none of the food we had there was any good at all, I never went back there.

One place I do really like over here in the netherlands is "tiny tokyo" its actually a sushi take out which is on most big train stations here, but they also sell some other hot take away dishes. I absolutely -love- their food, its always extremely fresh, tastes absolutely great. not all that expensive either.
Sadly actual japanese restaurants over here at extremely expensive and as a student I cant afford to shell out 40 euro for one meal so until then im more or less stuck with my sushi take out and cooking out of recipebooks lol

Joined: 10 Aug 2010
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Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

Wasabi near Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, OK had Okay food in general, and not bad prices, weird decor (looked more like very fancy Medieval furniture, very heavy ornately carved wood chairs and dark burgundy velvet booths) but the rice was Mushy and bland. The sushi rice. Never going back.


My Dearest Friend, If You Don't Mind, I'd Like To Join You By Your Side, So We Can Gaze Into The Stars, And Sit Together, Now And Forever, For It's As Plain As Anyone Can See, We're Simply Meant To Be.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

Wow. I've eaten in a few London branches of Wagamama at various times, and I've always felt they were pretty reasonable. They're not fabulous, and don't even claim to be authentic, but they're cheap and cheerful.

I guess there's room for quite a lot of variation between branches of a chain, or even within the same branch from year to year as staff change. I'm surprised that it can vary so much, though, that some can consider the food inedible! Maybe I've just been lucky with my ordering - or perhaps I just have low standards!

I live in an area of West London which has a fairly large Japanese population, and we have several really good Japanese restaurants nearby. I would never put Wagamama in the same bracket as them. I think of Wagamama as more in line with fast food joints - and they're certainly way closer to real food than eating at McDonalds or Burger King!

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I'm in Belfast NI and the wagamama here is disappointing, with rather bland noodles containing burnt chicken, not crispy or overcooked, properly blackened to the point that i left most of the dish and all the chicken behind :( There is however a great place on Botanic Ave called Sakura, they have good quality sushi, quite nice sashimi and a great variety in the rest of the menu, never been to japan so can't vouch for how traditionally japanese the food is but its good tasty food at a reasonable price (for their lunch menu anyways, it gets more expensive in the evening)

Katherine Hunni
Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I live in Baltimore MD, USA (near the Inner Harbor). We went to an asian place (don't know if it was supposed to be Japanese/Chinese or what). It's called the Blu Bambu (located next to the Hard Rock Cafe and Aquarium) @621 E. Pratt St. #120. I can't imagine they have any return customers. They had a regular menu and then a "build your own stir fry" bar (which we thought was gonna be awesome). The menu items were over priced and not very good- small portions and didn't taste very good. Then when they cooked the stir fry, they just tossed it in a pan and let it simmer. Half the veggies were soggy and half were under cooked. Very disappointed. In the end we spent about 18 USD per person.

The only good part was that all my friends just ranted about how I could cook better Japanese than this place (I'm a white American girl who just dabbles in Japanese cuisine because I think it's yummy). And they all decided I had to cook one of my "wonderful" Japanese dinners LOL! A bit of a self-esteem booster LOL!

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I agree with you that these places should not be marketed as "Authentic", that is insulting. That said it happens the world over, Comparing the average UK Indian or Chinese takeaway with native food would be pretty naiive. For that matter, a plastic roast dinner in a pub chain, or the American take on the very simple meal of fish and chips doesn't do much for British food either.

That said, stopped off at Wagamama in Newcastle, and the food was tasty, fresh and well cooked. I went in with absolutely no expectation of it being anything remotely Japanese and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it tasted clean and fresh.

That said, noodle bars across Asia provide some yummy stuff, freshly cooked and costing a pittance and we are taken in by ridiculously over-priced mediocrity. I'd say just go home and get your wok out, exotic ingredients cost a small fortune too, so why not take the flavours that you like and experiment.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

I live in Jacksonville, NC. Trying to find decent Japanese food is pike trying to find someone who doesn't own a shotgun. If I'm really craving it I have to go to lowes food and eat supermarket sushi in shame. 45mins away is anxawesome place called Shoguns but I cant afford the gas to get there.

Re: The fake Japanese/Asian restaurant Hall of Shame

Ugh, we went to Fuji in Anderson, South Carolina and the sushi service was TERRIBLE! I love going there, and I love their hibachi, but when I asked what, specifically, was on their salmon roll, the girl looked at me like I was an idiot and said "Umm... salmon?" Really? I had NO clue lady! So I replied, "Well, yes, but just salmon and rice? As in nigiri? Because it's listed as a roll." Her reply? "Umm... I guess so."
No, just no. If you want your waitresses to take your sushi orders, then they ought to now about the sushi just as much as they know the hibachi menu.
Then we tried the new place, Tokyo Bay, and the sushi there was deplorable. I refused to eat some of their yellowtail sashimi simply because it DID NOT look safe for consumption. I've seen sushi-grade fish of many types, including yellowtail, and that was not sushi-grade. To make it worse, the actual sushi rolls were "Americanized" in every way. "Top Gun" roll was one of them. "Geisha" roll. I'm all for some creative naming, you can't just call it the "List-all-the-ingredients-in-order" roll. But there were NO names that actually made sense. Even their basic rolls had to have fancy names. Again, no, just no.

So I always go to our Thai Spice, which has a really great sushi chef. Every roll I've gotten has been fantastic (Assuming I usually liked the ingredients, that is. I'm not a big fan of cream cheese, so I would obviously dislike a roll with cream cheese in it.), and Thai or not, it's my preferred choice of sushi restaurant.

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