Yokohama Chinatown: Lunch and a Stroll

 Earlier this summer, I spent the day in Yokohama walking through a couple neighborhoods. My morning started with a little shopping and an art gallery, from where I headed over to Chinatown.
 Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Japan, though these days most of the establishments cater to tourists. San Francisco's Chinatown has plenty of tourist shops and restaurants as well, but it still mainly functions as a Chinese neighborhood.
 There are a few Chinese temples in town, and plenty of side streets to explore.
 There are some authentic Chinese or Asian markets, with imported foods. But there are lots of restaurants catering to Japanese visitors.
 And lots of souvenir shops. Some shops have souvenirs like snacks, keychains, and kitschy trinkets, while others are more authentic.
 Those temples sure are beautiful...
 Authentic goods include clothing - note the stereotypical Chinese dresses in the left-hand photo - and imported liquor and beer. I bought a bottle of Chinese liquor or liqueur here, but I don't know anything about it. I might have to open it and do a taste test some time!
 You can't come to Chinatown in Yokohama and not eat. It just makes your visit pointless. If you have a sweet tooth, these sesame-covered balls filled with red bean paste and another sweet paste are pretty common.
 A few stalls were selling these fried snacks that I thought were really tasty.
 The most common food in Chinatown is the dumpling. There are dozens of locations from actual stores to small stalls selling these on the weekend. The cheapest full-size ones start at 350 yen, but these can be full light meals on their own.

There are dozens of varieties of fillings, though as you can see, most stores don't have English signage. The models on display will help you, and you can always ask the shop clerks, though they don't always have great English either. But...
 Most people plan on having a full sit-down meal at a Chinese restaurant. Food is tailored to the Japanese palate, so it isn't really spicy. Several stores have all-you-can-eat options, but the $8 buffet from America doesn't exist here. Maybe it does... but I haven't found it. I wouldn't mind heading to some cheap buffets for lunch some time!

Expect all-you-can-eat plans to run about $20. Most don't have buffets, instead cooking the food to order. This will slow you down unless you keep ordering food quickly. And these are good options for families and groups who will enjoy sharing the dishes, so you can get a wide variety of food.

I did an all-you-can-eat in Chinatown once, with friends. There are plenty of "usual" dishes, plus lots of dim-sum. Note that some restaurants have received really bad reviews due to service or food quality. Do your research before you go and have a few options (with good maps) in mind. I wish I could help you in this area...
You can read my previous post about Chinatown here, Most tourists to Yokohama will spend some time in Chinatown, and for most people it should be on your itinerary for lunch or dinner! As you might be able to tell from the photos, the district is quiet on the weekdays, and quite busy on weekends. Some stores and restaurants close on a weekday or have reduced hours during the week but there's still plenty to experience and less crowds to fight.

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