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The two main Chinese food chains in Japan!

Prologue to a series:  My new project for the next six months will be branding this site and making it a resource for travelers and researchers on Japan.   Firstly, the internet is flooded with information on life over here.   Many of the sites/blogs explore the dynamics between foreigner and native from a linguistic and cultural points of view, to racism and how that makes any sense...  There is no racism, just whiney little foreigners.  

The two main Chinese food chains in Japan you need to concern yourself with when visiting Japan.

Bamiyans and Oshos

I have frequented both of these establishments so often, I have earned mayorships for both chains via Foursquare, which I have held for at least six months.    I have eaten Chinese food in China, at least on three occasions; once in the southern provinces, and others in Hong Kong.   And I still find the ethnic Chinese cuisine to be horrible on the palate.

In Japan, Chinese food is made with a Japanese taste, so I guess you could call it Japanese Chinese food.     I am not trying to burnish my credentials as a culinary geek, but what I do want to emphasize is a simpletons approach to dining.  I love simple, fast, and good.    And when I want decent Chinese food, I run to these two restaurants.

Yes, that’s right, Bamiyan, a chain restaurant in Japan serving Chinese cuisine, which offer just well known popular Chinese food dishes right here in the land of green tea and hot spas.

 But why write about it ? 

Well, for starters, according to Dancyu, a very well known food magazine in Japan, hails this restaurant as the best Chinese food you can get for the yen.  This restaurant is graded according to taste, timely service, and atmosphere.    Do I agree with Dancyu?    Basically, yes.    I’ve been to China a few times and have eaten at highly recommended places.    I’ve even been to HK, and that was before England gave it back.   Food from both of these countries left my stomach with ghastly gastrointestinal memories of which I won’t talk about here.    

I’m not China bashing, I just don’t think Chinese food in China can rival Chinese food in Japan – call me subjective, but don't call me ignorant because to each his own.   I know Chinese food in L.A. is quite delectable.  I know that for a fact because I’m overweight and I have a strong addiction to MSG’s and trans fatty foods with high carbohydrates.    At least we can thank the Japanese for inventing MSG, so I’m not blaming Chinese chefs entirely. 

Food is food, right…? At any rate, I love Bamiyans.  I recommend it highly for those who want something Simple and decent.    Bamiyans will give you timely service, the food  will taste decent.    If you are into portion sizes and are expecting a huge spread of food, then Bamiyans is not the place.   Portion sizes here are small and most dishes are under 600 kcal!   That should be a good gauge for those who want to be calorie conscious.   

Another good thing about Bamiyans is they offer take out service in some locations. You can call from home and have your food delivered to your doorstep.   If course you’ll need to have some understanding of the language, but if you want to eat something that’s affordable and satisfying then Bamiyan - it ! 

Oh, and remember, this is not Bamiyans the Buddha.

Some dishes to note: Fried rice, chicken karaage, noodles.    Those would high blood pressure may want to stick with the chicken and nuts or vegetable dishes.   

Next up is Osho!   

Osho is most famous for its gyoza , pot stickers.   I do not agree that their gyoza is  good.   Bamiyan's gyoza is much better and juicier.    Where Osho wins is their  relatively cheap prices.   They also sell Wakame Soup, which is one of the cheapest items on the menu whereas Bamiyans doesn't.    Wakame soup lowers blood pressure for people with high blood pressure.    Another area where Osho wins is it's Tenshinhan set menu: fried egg over rice with six gyoza and tulip chicken - diabetics nightmare.   Not that I am a diabetic, but this stuff is starchy, good, and very satisfying.     Good Chinese food is starchy, salty, and oily!   Take me to heaven.    

Another area where Osho wins is the freshness in its vegetable.   Big crunchy onions, carrots, and bell peppers.

There's a water jug on every table so you can drink to your hearts content.    This dish is called shrimp mixed with veggies;  Onions and bell pepper.    Pure bliss.    

The biggest difference between the two chains is that Bamiyans has a buzzer on every table, plus there's a drink bar with juice and coffee on offer.   There's also a tea bar with assorted teas that you can enjoy, as much as you like.     Oshos you need to scream for service, and there's no drink bar.   Oshos is also very noisy, but so is Bamiyans.      

Are there better Chinese places to eat?   SURE!   There are tons of amazing Chinese restaurants in Japan, but for the convenience and accessibility, you cannot go wrong with these two chains.   

End of Story


  1. We are lucky to have both Bamiyan and Osho in my area. Probably visit Osho a lot more as enjoy the food and it is very reasonable for a good meal. Bamiyan is more like a family restaurant that serves Chinese food. Now, that is not a bad thing and the food is good quality and reasonably priced.


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