Kyoto has its own traditions and history not only in Japanese cuisine but also in Chinese cuisine, and the restaurant introduced here is one that has been operating for many years in keeping with this tradition. It is a hidden gem of Kyoto-style Chinese cuisine, tucked away in a residential area where ordinary tourists rarely find it….
Beijing Cuisine Seikatei｜A long-established Chinese restaurant in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City that has been in business for over 30 years near Ginkakuji Temple
Seikatei is a Beijing restaurant opened in 1982 near Ginkakuji Temple in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, by the previous owner who had worked at the famous “Seikyo-tei” restaurant in Gion. The predecessor was very particular about not putting hot sauce in the restaurant, and as a result, “gyoza with sesame”, which was created through trial and error, has become a specialty of the restaurant.
Seikatei also has relatively high-end dishes using shark’s fin and crab, but the majority of the menu is popular Chinese food that can be had for less than 1,000 yen per dish. The portions are small, so those who want to eat with gusto may find the food lacking, but for those who want to take their time and enjoy the adult pleasures of visiting alone and ordering a variety of dishes, this is the perfect place to go.
Lightly vinegared shrimp and kikurage: Seikatei’s recommended menu with the crunchy texture of kurage.
Now, let me introduce the dishes. First, we ordered “lightly vinegared shrimp and kikurage” for 900 yen as an appetizer….
When it was brought in front of me, I was first surprised at the quantity. The jellyfish were piled high on a long, horizontal plate. Climbing between them from both sides were small shrimp, kikurage mushrooms, chicken meat, and cucumbers… This was clearly too much for an appetizer for one person to eat.
Nevertheless, the texture of the cold, crunchy jellyfish was irresistible, and the chopsticks kept on reaching for the plate. The seasoning is really light, with just a hint of sourness from the vinegar and sweetness from the sugar. The sauce has a very mild taste.
Fried Kashiwa (chicken): A classic Chinese dish where you can enjoy two tastes at the same time: the meat of the chicken breast and the meat of the thigh.
The next dish is “Kashiwa no Karaage” (fried chicken) 600 yen…
“Kashiwa” means chicken…in other words, fried chicken. There are about 10 pieces of fried chicken, each about the size of a quail egg. The bite-sized pieces are easy to eat, even for women. Inside the crispy batter, there are two variations: light meat and juicy thigh meat, so you will not get bored until the very end. The seasoning is modest, so please eat them with the salt provided at the table.
Comparison of sesame-filled dumplings: Both sui-gyoza and yaki-gyoza are savory with roasted sesame kneaded into the skin.
Here are two kinds of sesame-added gyoza, a specialty of Seikatei. First, the sui-gyoza, served first, from 550 yen for 6 pieces…
You can see in the picture that white sesame seeds are kneaded into the skin of the gyoza. When you put the gyoza in your mouth, it suddenly pops out of the softly boiled skin, and the sesame flavor spreads softly.
The gyoza bean paste is made without garlic or other strongly aromatic ingredients, and runs along the Chinese line unique to Kyoto. Although there is an accent of sesame, the overall flavor is light and refreshing. If you find it a bit lacking, try it with the special vinegar and soy sauce that is served along with it (it also has a mild and elegant taste).
Another plate of yaki-gyoza (grilled dumplings), 650 yen for 8 pieces…
The ingredients are exactly the same as those of the sui-gyoza, but the skin is stretched thin so that the filling can be seen through the skin. The grilled skin enhances the aroma of the sesame seeds, and the garlic removal does not make the gyoza lack any impact.
The owner of the restaurant offered us some hot sauce, saying, “As you like it…”. In the days of the predecessor, it was the policy not to have raayu in the restaurant, but it seems that the second generation has started to have it in the restaurant in response to customer requests. I did not use it, but I think the savory sesame flavor and raayu make a great combination.
Gomoku Yakimeshi: Crispy bamboo shoots on a bed of rice is a perfect accent!
Finally, I ordered Gomoku Yakimeshi (fried rice) for 550 yen…
Since it is from the Kansai region, it is not “fried rice” but “Yakimeshi”. In addition to the egg, there are five other ingredients: green peas, fried pork, bamboo shoots, and carrots.
The overall seasoning is light at Seikatei, and this fried rice is also very light. The rice is light and each grain is properly separated and does not feel greasy at all. It even gives the impression of being similar to takikomi gohan, not stir-fried rice.
The bamboo shoots scattered in the rice accentuate the texture of the rice, and when your teeth hit the bamboo shoots buried in the soft rice, the crunchy texture is a fresh stimulus that revitalizes your lazy brain, which has become accustomed to the texture of the rice. Like the spring rolls at Kyoto Chinese Hamamura, I think the use of bamboo shoots in light-flavored Kyoto-style Chinese cuisine is worthy of special mention.
There is no parking lot, so please be careful when coming by car. To get to Peking Cuisine Seikatei, take Kyoto City Bus No. 17 (bound for Ginkakuji or Kinrin Shako) from Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line, and get off at the Jodoji bus stop.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant…
Address: 39-4 Jodoji-banba-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone number: 075-751-7833 (➿0120-054-037)
Business hours: 17:00-22:30 LO
Closed: Every Monday and the 3rd Tuesday of the month
For those coming by car…the restaurant does not have a parking lot, but there are several coin-operated parking lots in the area. Please refer to the restaurant’s website for more information.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious Chinese food in Kyoto, please stop by this article…