Tsukiji Gyoza and Ramen at Home

Tsukiji Gyoza

Tsukiji Gyoza

In the outer market of Tsukiji is a great little shop selling gyoza wrappers and ramen noodles called Dai-Ni Tsukiji Seimenjo. It is a tiny stall and for us, are some of the best gyoza wrappers in Tokyo. If you are looking to make ramen at home, then get your freshly made noodles here.

Tsukiji Gyoza at Home

Tsukiji Gyoza at Home

Dai-Ni Tsukiji Seimenjo 第二築地製麺所

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-7 中央区築地4-9-7


Tenfufan’s Bottomless Bowl of Dumplings 天府舫

Suigyoza at Tenfufan

Suigyoza at Tenfufan

The heat and humidity is starting to become unbearable in Tokyo. One way to survive is to eat hot and spicy food as it induces sweat which helps cool you down. I was meeting a Japanese girlfriend for lunch in Shinjuku and we agreed on Shisen cuisine. Tenfufan in Nishi-Shinjuku has been on my radar for a while because it has an all-you-can-eat suigyōza (boiled dumplings) offer with its set lunch, a bargain as most lunches are under 1,000 JPY.

An online website (not the restaurant’s) said the restaurant opened at 11 a.m. We showed up at 11:15 a.m. and were surprised to see a sign on the outside of the shop that said lunch starts at 11:30 a.m. I pushed open the door and the kind owner said that they do not open until 11:30 a.m. but as it was so hot outside that we could be seated early. A pot of iced tea and two cups were set on the table and we started to peruse the menu.

The owner said that all set lunches come with the boiled dumplings. He pointed to a small table set off to the side and said that once service starts the dumplings would be there. “Self-service” he added. There is something about growing up in America, at least in the Midwest, that inspires me at a buffet to dig into as much as I can. I was so surprised to see the tables of salarymen near us taking only a few dumplings and not going back for seconds. I stopped after my second visit, but I am sure that had I gone with an American we would have gone back for thirds. The dumplings are stuffed with meat, the skins seem to be made from scratch, and the spicy dipping sauce hits the spot. Don’t bother with the soy-seasoned eggs that are also on the buffet.

Shirunashi Tantanmen at Tenfufan

Shirunashi Tantanmen at Tenfufan

The shiru-nashi tan tan men is one of their signature dishes, along with the suigyōza. Shiru-nashi means without soup. Underneath the ramen noodles were some peanuts and a hot sauce that comes and catches you by surprise after the fact. It’s not too spicy and is rich in umami. The side dishes included a bland fried rice, an unmemorable egg-drop soup, and some bean sprouts with carrots. But who cares when the dumplings and ramen were exactly what we had come for, spicy, delicious, and rich in umami.

Shortly before noon the shop was filled. Mostly salarymen who must be working in the area as the shop is on a side street. When we left there was a line out the door. 80% of the diners were having either this dish or the mabo dofu. This meal came to 880 JPY, including the dumplings. I will be back.

Tenfufan 天府舫

Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 7-4-9


Suito Pozu Gyoza


Gyōza is to me the perfect dumpling. Pork and cabbage stuffed into a wrapper then cooked until the crust is crispy while the filling remains juicy. I’ve started many mornings with gyōza for breakfast. While many restaurants serve gyōza as a side dish, it’s nice to know there are some places where it’s the main dish. Suito Pozu has been serving gyōza since 1955.suito2

I love how these are wrapped. It’s how I do it when I am in a rush to get dinner on the table. Leave two ends open and just seal it shut. You just need to be careful when cooking it, but the final results are still delicious.suito3It’s a popular restaurant and very small, only 24 seats. There was a line of about five people just before it opened for lunch recently. After the doors opened it was full within about ten minutes.

Service is fast and it’s a quick meal. It’s a good thing that it was a fast meal as the air-conditioner is on the fritz and it was very hot in the restaurant. No garlic in the gyōza if you come during the workday. The only thing I didn’t like was that it doesn’t have rayū chili oil, but only chili powder. I’d like to come back in the evening when the gyōza is also steamed.

Suito Pozu

Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jimbocho 1-13-2


closed Monday and Sunday

Restaurants in Ginza on Sunday

The Ginza district is a popular destination on Sundays for shoppers and browsers. I love Ginza’s restaurants, but surprisingly, many are closed on Sundays, notably the restaurants that rely on Tsukiji Market for fresh seafood. Here is my shortlist of restaurants that are open on Sundays in Ginza.

If all else fails, then head to one of the department stores like Mitsukoshi or Matsuya and check out their restaurant floors.

Bairin tonkatsu

Bairin tonkatsu

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin (Ginza 7-8-1)

Ginza Rangetsu for sukiyaki or shabu-shabu (Ginza 3-5-8)

Tenryu Gyoza (Ginza 2-6-1)

Ukaitei for teppanyaki (Ginza 5-15-8)

Pyon Pyon Sha for reimen (Ginza 3-2-15 11F)

Other blogs on Ginza:

Ginza Cheap Eats 1/2

Ginza Cheap Eats 2/2

Ginza Eats

Cheap Eats in Ginza – 1/2

This article first appeared in Metropolis magazine on May 13, 2010. Some of my favorite cheap eats in Ginza.

With shops like Forever 21 and H&M recently opening on Ginza’s main drag, the neighborhood is beginning to shed its reputation as a jet-setter’s playground. Yet budget-conscious diners have long known that the area is home to excellent inexpensive restaurants. Here are some favorites that will leave some yen in your wallet to splurge on a bit of fast fashion.

Tenryu Gyoza

Tenryu Gyoza

This popular Chinese restaurant, renowned for its jumbo gyoza, often has a line outside at lunch. Neon lights over the door and a red sign on the sidewalk designate the entrance just off of Chuo Dori, along with a display case of plastic versions of the popular dishes. The gyoza set menu (¥1,020) comes with six thick-skinned, chewy dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables served with a bowl of rice. Notably, no garlic is used in the gyoza, which means Tenryu could serve as an off-price date destination. Other popular dishes are chahan (¥920), yakisoba (¥920), shrimp in a sweet and hot chili sauce (¥2,100), sweet-and-sour pork (¥1,900), and more. The gyoza are so popular that they’re even sold to go, omiyage-style.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 2-6-1 中央区銀座2-6-1

Tel: 03-3561-3543

Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-9pm, Sun & hols 11:30am-8pm

Scorpione Stazione

Scorpione Stazione

Located between Yurakucho station and the area’s large Muji store is Scorpione Stazione, popular for its selection of pastas and its large portions. On a recent lunch visit we had a hard time choosing, so tempting were the options, in particular the pastas with seasonal seafood. The lunch set includes bread and olive oil, a serviceable salad, a generous helping of pasta, and coffee or tea. Service is professional, albeit rushed, and during our visit the pasta was a bit overcooked—but, at ¥1,000 with everything included, we weren’t about to complain. Scorpione Stazione is the ideal spot if you’re on a lunch break, but if you hope to linger, let the staff know to bring your drinks after you’re finished; our espressos arrived while we were still eating. This is a large restaurant with about 100 seats, and at nighttime the prices rise to more standard levels.

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 3-8-3 千代田区丸の内3-8-3

Tel: 03-5219-1610

Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-1am, Sun 11:30am-10pm. Lunch until 2pm.


Pyon Pyon Sha Ginza Una

Pyon Pyon Sha Ginza Una

Located near the Sony building and the Sukiyabashi crossing, Ginza Una is the local branch of the Iwate-based Pyon Pyon Sha restaurant chain. The signature dish is the regional Morioka specialty of reimen, a bowl of spicy, cold noodles. A similar Korean dish uses noodles made from buckwheat, but the Morioka variety is made from potato and wheat flour. Ginza Una’s reimen (just ¥1,100 as part of a lunch set) comes with kimchi, beef, hard-boiled egg, cucumbers and watermelon, with a broth made from both beef and chicken. If you’ve never had this dish before, this is a fantastic place to try it, especially in the heat of summer. The menu includes other popular Korean dishes, like the spicy tofu soup known as chige (¥800) and the popular hot-stone rice bowl bibimbap (¥1,000); Iwate beef is the base for hearty meat dishes like gyumeishi and bulgogi. In the evening, Ginza Una offers reasonably priced set menus with an all-you-can-drink option.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-2-15, Ginza Glasse 11F   中央区銀座3-2-15 Ginza Glasse 11F

Tel: 03-3535-3020

Open Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun & hols 11am-10pm


Click for Cheap Eats part 2 of 2. Click for other Ginza Eats.