Ginza Aster opens in Tokyo in 1926, willing to offer a fine Chinese cooking adjusted to the Japanese taste. Ninety years and some generations later, the small restaurant is still to be find in Ginza, but not so tiny anymore. Ginza Aster now owns tens of branches within Tokyo area, every one offering a gourmet Chinese cooking. And even including recipes from before the People’s Republic, that contemporary Chinese chefs are coming to learn back.
Japan is definitely a gourmet paradise. Tokyo by itself owns more than 200 Michelin’s star rated restaurant, including 53 French ones. Gourmet restaurants are available regarding any kind of cooking. And for lunch time, many of them are affordable. Back in 2015, we already enjoyed a star-rated restaurant in Roppongi for less than 3000 yens. And gourmet Ginza Aster is of the same kind. Perfect for a luxurious dinner, and at the same time not so expensive for lunch.
When we had the chance to be invited there, we realized that introducing a Chinese restaurant with such historic background in Japan was coherent for Nippon100. Even if the place is not one of the landscapes we are following, it is an unexpected sight of Japan. And something that many travelers do not take the chance to experience in Japan. The country is of course great because of Japanese food, but is also perfect to approach every kind of cooking.
More than that, Ginza Aster history almost reaches a century. The restaurant celebrated its 90th birthday last year. Open in Tokyo one year before the Chinese civil war, it was able to preserve recipes from before the People’s Republic, along with a peculiar atmosphere. This heritage is great enough that contemporary Chinese chefs are regularly coming to Ginza Aster to learn these precious ancient recipes.
And these recipes have also been adjusted to Japanese taste and habits. Offering an unique fusion cuisine, nowhere else to be found.
More than that each Ginza Aster restaurant is filled with Chinese antiques. We have been to the Ginza it-chome one for lunch. Which is a convenient way to discover its gourmet cooking thanks to the seasonal 3500 yens lunch set (4158 yens including taxes), offering a succession of many dishes.
We began with the appetizers: catfish, duck confit, nuts in aspic and shrimp. Those were really Japanese in the way they were served but with an original taste. A soup and two main dishes to share followed: crab with a spicy vegetable mix and steam-cooked fish. Again, fine cooking with an unusual Chinese taste. Along with that, Aurélie opted for the white rice while I tried the five rices porridge.
Before we reached the dessert, we were served another pork dish, consisting of pork meat rolled in a cabbage leaf and with a creamy azuki and lentils seasoning. Without forgetting the pickles, not so common in China but part of an Japanese meal.
Ginza Aster was a wonderful yummy experience. The restaurant definitely allows one to realize how interesting Tokyo can be for foodies!
How to get there?
Today, Ginza Aster is more than a tiny address on luxurious Ginza it-chome. More than 30 branches are to be found everywhere in Tokyo (still including the Ginza original one). A restaurant is thus closed to Shinjuku station and another one to Shibuya’s. Lunch is definitely more affordable.