Osaka Underground Chinatown | To eat

Osaka residents don’t have to go all the way to Kobe to eat Chinese. Osaka is known throughout Japan as the national cuisine, but the wide variety of authentic foreign dishes available go largely unnoticed. Run by immigrants and serving the diaspora, there are many notable Chinese restaurants around the city of Osaka, many of which are located in or near the iconic Dotonbori-Shinsaibashi area. Whether you love spice, are vegetarian, or just need something hot and salty to soothe your soul, these three authentic options have something for you.

大東北 Da Dong Bei

Da Dong Bei, or Great Northeast is, as its name suggests, a restaurant serving northeastern Chinese cuisine. Rice is a big part of Chinese culinary culture, but a northern diet is heavy on dough-based carbs. These doughy options are available in Da Dong Bei: green onion pancakes, stuffed with meat lao po bing pastries and dumplings are favorites. The basicwhich is a sweet potato covered in a hard sugar coating and is similar to Japanese daigaku-imocould work perfectly as a side dish or as a dessert.

The restaurant is close to the bustling Dotonbori area and nestled between other Chinese restaurants. It’s hard not to feel at home here, the interior decoration is refined with long tables reminiscent of a dining room. Workers chat with each other as they serve customers. There is an almost imperceptible hum of refrigerators placed in the dining room, creating a soft white noise. In a way, Da Dong Bei provides a sense of belonging even to beginners.


Nihonbashi 4-2-20, Naniwa-ku, Osaka City

朋友雑穀食府 Pengyou Zagu Shifu

Pengyou, which means “friend” in Mandarin Chinese, offers an experience that lives up to its name. The dishes served here are classics that have been comforting to many, playing a supporting role in people’s lives just as friends do. Notable dishes served here include thinly sliced ​​pickled potatoes, fried tomatoes, and eggs and pig’s ears with cucumber. While these options are reason enough to schedule return visits, Pengyou offers much more. Huiguorou, or “twice-cooked pork” is a must for pork belly lovers. The specialty noodle dish, biangbiangmian Where yaodaimian originates from Shaanxi province located in central China. To combat freezing winters, these noodles are thick and spicy, which is perfect for vegetarian diners looking for authentic meals.

Located on a side street, this narrow restaurant would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the glowing red lanterns cascading along the entrance. If the lanterns weren’t obvious enough, the cartoon of a girl holding a large bowl of biangbiangmian which is printed on the awning should definitely catch your eye. The restaurant has its regulars who often infuse the intimate space with joviality and warmth. Unlike Da Dong Bei above, Pengyou’s lively energy is due to its compact size, and it is recommended for anyone who enjoys the feeling of a communal dining experience.


2- 6-16, Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, Osaka City

中華料理店 龍麺坊 Ryu Men Bo

Ryu Men Bo may not be a restaurant in itself, however, its proximity to Tennoji and the quality of the food make it a great alternative to comparable dining options. The little shop has a selection of Chinese favourites, but their Peking Duck is what attracts their customers. In fact, Canopy claims the dish as its specialty. Choose the amount of duck and Ryu Men Bo can supply you with all the essentials – julienned cucumber and spring onion, sweet bean sauce (tian mian jiang) and thin steamed pancakes (chun bing) for packaging. Ryu Men Bo is perfect for those who prefer not to eat at a restaurant but still want crispy, salty duck from a top-notch store.

Calling ahead is recommended. The shop is mainly take-out. Paying in cash is acceptable, but like many Chinese companies, it is also possible to use WeChat. Due to Ryu Men Bo’s size, expect to wait outside. Although there are no suitable places to enjoy Pekin duck in the immediate vicinity, Tennoji Park (home to the famous Tennoji Zoo as well as the Osaka Museum of Fine Arts) is within walking distance. .


3-1-31 Shimoji, Naniwa-ku, Osaka City

Rest assured that although there may be many unfamiliar names appearing on the menus, most dishes will have a photo next to them. Each of these three restaurants is located near other Chinese businesses as part of gradually expanding enclaves. Visiting any of these places, you will also quickly discover Chinese supermarkets, convenience stores, as well as KTVs and other restaurants focusing on regional cuisines – an underground layer of Osaka not to be missed.

Freeda S. Scott