How to Tell a Real Japanese Restaurant

Posted on September 16, 2006 

How to Tell a Real Japanese Restaurant

What I’m about to tell you may be very specific to New York, but there has been a trend among Chinese and Korean restaurateurs to open Japanese restaurants without paying any respect to the art of Japanese cuisine. This is obviously done solely to take advantage of the bigger profit margin associated with Japanese cuisine. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Chinese or Korean people. And, I respect their cuisines just as much as I respect Japanese cuisine. I’m also aware of the frustration Koreans have about the Japanese people making Kimchi that does not meet the Korean standard. My problem is that I just don’t like people who disrespect the cultures of others, and do nothing but to exploit them.

Not all Chinese or Korean owned Japanese restaurants are bad. For instance, Jeollado in the East Village which serves both Japanese and Korean cuisines. To me, they are an exception to my definition of “exploitation” because the sushi they serve is good and original in their own ways, though it may not meet the standards of Japanese sushi connoisseurs. Unfortunately the vast majority of Chinese and Korean owned Japanese restaurants are exploitative.

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