Lion Hanten is a Chinese restaurant that is extremely popular in Tenma, one of the most hotly contested restaurant districts in Osaka. Originally, it was located near Ryokuchi Park in Toyonaka under the name “Lion King,” but in December 2009, it moved to its current location north of the Tenma Market. It has been 14 years since the restaurant took its current name and began operating in Tenma. During that time, it has firmly captured the stomachs of Osaka businessmen and has now been selected multiple times as one of the 100 best Chinese restaurants in the West of Chinese cuisine in the “Tabelog”.
I visited the restaurant around 7:30 p.m. on a weekday night to try the fried rice with crab meat and sauce, a “specialty” on the menu at the popular Chinese restaurant Lion Chinese Restaurant. I had an image of this restaurant as a “machi-chuka” style restaurant, but when I actually went there, it was a little different from my image…
Lion Hanten is more like a Chinese-style pub than a machi-chuka (traditional Chinese restaurant)…
When I actually went to the restaurant, my impression of Lion Hanten was more like a Chinese-style pub than a machi-chuka (traditional Chinese-style restaurant). The interior of the restaurant is a bit dimly lit, and there are 27 seats in total, including 5 counter seats. When I visited the restaurant, almost all the customers were businessmen, and some were having a small party.
In fact, looking at the menu, I got the impression that there was quite a wide variety of alcoholic beverages on the menu. Starting with draft beer, whiskey, cocktails, Shaoxing wine, makgeolli, and even wine…all reasonably priced starting at 400 yen per glass, I can understand why people would want to use it for a party. It would be perfect if they offered an all-you-can-drink course! That would be perfect.
On the other hand, I am not sure if it is a good idea to bring small children, especially in the evening. If you are planning to bring your children here for dinner, you might want to go to “Souryukyo”, which is located just around the corner.
Fried rice with crab meat and starchy sauce: How was it really?
Let me introduce the specialty menu item I ordered at Lion Hanten: Fried rice with crab meat and starchy sauce (price: 900 yen including tax). Click here for the picture…
It is hard to see because the starchy sauce is cloudy with egg white, but the crab meat is quite firm. The “crab meat included” sign is true. Some other restaurants claim to have “crab meat in the sauce,” but they only put a little bit of crab meat in the sauce, but I have no complaints about the amount of crab meat in the sauce.
The fried rice is well broken up until each grain of rice is dry, and when you put the part that is not covered with starchy sauce in your mouth, the rice crumbles and the stimulation of pepper and spicy aroma spreads in your mouth and nose. The fried rice by itself is quite stimulating, so those who don’t like spicy food should be careful…
The starchy sauce on the fried rice is soft and fluffy thanks to the effect of egg white. The texture of the egg white, which is blended into the bean paste, is very clear. On the other hand, perhaps because of the texture of the egg white, there is no feeling of the bean paste penetrating into the space between the rice grains as in the fried rice with starchy sauce at Kagurazaka Fried Rice Restaurant. On the plate, the fried rice and the bean paste are completely separated, and you need to operate your own mixing to enjoy the marriage of the bean paste and the fried rice.
And the flavor of the bean paste…it is a bit too much umami seasoning. I would like to add that I am not denying the existence of umami seasoning. I am just saying that umami seasoning is used “too much”. In fact, the flavor of the umami seasoning was so strong that I could hardly taste the crab flavor. I think it would be better to use more common ingredients with this strong-flavored red bean paste, instead of ingredients that give the impression of luxury, such as crab.
One more thing to mention is that the volume of this dish is a little bit small. I think it would be difficult to fill the stomach of an adult male with just one plate of this dish. In that sense, I think it would be better to think of drinking as the main course when using Lion Hanten. For me personally, I would feel most comfortable using a dish or two or three while drinking…
Examples of other food items on Lion Hanten’s menu (prices include tax)
- Mabo-Tofu 900 yen (rice extra 150 yen)
- Sichuan Tantanmen (noodle soup) 900 yen
- Gomoku Ankake Soba Noodles 900 yen
- Black Vinegar Subuta 900 yen
- Szechuan specialty Yodare Chicken 900 yen
- Shrimp in chili sauce 1,000 yen
- Stir-fried organic Chinese vegetables with salt 1,200 yen
Set menus are also available during weekday lunch hours… Access to Lion Hanten is a 3-minute walk from the nearest station, Tenma Station on the Osaka Kanjo Line.
This is the kind of Lion Hanten, but they also offer a set meal menu during weekday lunch hours. However, when I visited the restaurant, there was a sign that read something like this…
From the reviews on Google, it seems that the set meal menu has a pretty good reputation. It is hoped that the restaurant will reopen soon. If I can get there during lunch time, I’d like to try the mapo tofu this time… If you notice the reopening of the set meal menu, could you let us know in the comments section below that they are reopening for weekday lunches?
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Check here for store data…
Lion Hanten out of 5
Address: 1F Suki Yanen Tenma Building, 7-7 Ikeda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, 530-0033, Japan
Phone number: 06-7650-2153 (Reservations accepted)
Business hours: Lunch 11:00-13:30, Dinner 17:00-21:00
Closed: No regular holidays
Parking: No parking
Credit card payment: Accepted
It is a 4-minute walk from Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchome Station on the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji Line.