The word “hideaway” is often used to introduce restaurants and cafes, but am I the only one who has felt uncomfortable with the fact that “hideaway” is used by many restaurants to build their brand? In most cases, when I visit a restaurant after searching for it on the Internet, I find that it is either an ordinary izakaya or a high-class restaurant with a deliberately small number of seats… In my experience, I can hardly remember a restaurant that was truly a “hidoké” when it was described on the Internet as a “hidoké.
In my experience, I can hardly remember any restaurant that was really a hideout even though it was described as a “hideout” on the Internet. One of the few places that I would recognize as a “hideout” is Zento Yo Yo, which I would like to introduce here. It is not only a hideout, but also one of the few places in Osaka that offers Chinese morning meals….
You won’t find it if you walk around normally…that’s the real “hiding place”. If you are not careful, you will surely pass by Zento Yo Yo!
The Chinese restaurant introduced here, Zento Yo Yo, is located on the southeast side of Tenma Station on the JR Loop Line, in an area with a slightly downtown atmosphere. There are several low-rise, aged, multi-tenant buildings lined up in a row, and at around 7:30 in the morning, in the middle of the commuter rush hour, there was not a lot of pedestrian traffic, even though the area is near the station. It is so quiet that it even feels like it is trying to keep people away.
I searched for Zento Yo Yo in such an area, relying on Google Maps. I looked at the map and wandered from side to side. I was sure it should be somewhere around here…” Despite my careful search, I easily passed the restaurant the first time I looked for it.
Why did I pass it by? It is because the store has almost completely blended in and assimilated into its surroundings. See the image below…
This is the entrance to Zento Yo Yo. This is really the only thing that indicates the presence of the store. Moreover, the door is located a bit back from the street, so if you walk in from the right side of this image, you will not be able to see anything, including the sign… Unless you are very careful, you will probably miss the store. This is a “hideout” in the true sense of the word. It is totally different from other self-proclaimed “hideout” restaurants in the area.
A small restaurant with only seven counter seats run by a single female owner…yet it is a “well-known” restaurant with a “reserved seat” sign from morning!
Upon entering Zento Yo Yo, you will feel at home in a simple yet clean space that is quite different from the exterior. There are only seven counter seats in the long, narrow space in the back. The kitchen is small enough for one person to walk in, and the owner, a woman, does all the cooking, serving, and accounting by herself.
There were about three customers that day, including myself. Both the owner and the customers were spending their time quietly listening to the background music. It is a slightly unusual restaurant, but the two counter seats at the far end of the restaurant had a “Reserved Seats” sign on them from the morning. The fact that there are customers who come early in the morning with reservations is the best proof that this restaurant has what it takes to be good at what it does, don’t you think?
Three breakfast menus offered at Zento Yo Yo until 10:30 a.m.: All are very affordable at only one coin!
Zento Yo Yo serves Chinese-style breakfast from opening time until 10:30 in the morning. Here are the main menu items…
There are three types of menu items of interest: Chinese porridge, soup soba, and mapo doufu. In addition to these, several dim sum items such as char siu pork, steamed shrimp dumplings, and yaki-sai are also available. Surprisingly, all of these dishes are priced at less than 500 yen (including tax), a very low price for a single coin. In addition, one of four toppings can be added to Chinese porridge and soup soba for free. This is a great way to stop by on the way to work and have breakfast! This is a great way to get a breakfast fix on the way to work.
Let us introduce you to the three breakfast dishes offered at Zento Yo Yo in order. They are all hearty and will give you the energy you need to get a good start at work in the morning.
Morning Chinese porridge (price 400 yen)
First up is the morning staple of Chinese cuisine, the morning Chinese porridge. For the free topping, I was a bit torn between the hot spring egg and the steamed chicken, but I still chose the steamed chicken to give it a Chinese congee-like atmosphere.
Unlike Japanese congee, Chinese porridge is cooked until the rice grains crumble and blossom. The broth from the dried scallops thickens, giving you the sensation that you are drinking a nourishing rice soup. The fragrance of the dried scallops in your mouth and the heat from the congee warms you up from the inside as it passes down your throat and settles in your stomach.
Eating this congee on a cold winter morning must be irresistible. Since it is not too stressful on the body, you can enjoy it even on a morning after a sickness or hangover.
Morning Soup Soba (price 500 yen)
Next up is the Morning Soup Soba. Shrimp is selected as a free topping.
Look at that. It was only 500 yen, but it came out in a regular bowl of ramen. It made me wonder if I could eat this much in the morning. On the contrary, I even feel a little guilty that I can only eat this in the morning.
And the key to the taste? The chicken broth is just as it looks, and the broth soaks into your sleeping body…but that’s not all. The noodles, which were boiled a little hard to the point of remaining chewy, also had the aroma of sesame seeds… Perhaps the noodles were mixed with sesame oil? And if you add ginger as a condiment, the flavor of the soup changes a bit more… It’s really like, “I only paid 500 yen, but am I allowed to enjoy it this much?” I really feel like, “I only paid 500 yen, but am I allowed to enjoy it so much?
Morning Bean Curd with Bean Paste (price: 400 yen)
And finally, the last one is “Bean-curd soup with hot bean paste” in the morning. Unlike the other two items, this is a stimulating breakfast. However, it does not come with rice as a stand-alone item, but must be ordered separately with white rice (price: 200 yen plus tax).
The flavor is a little sweet miso with a hint of beetroot sauce, with a slight delay before the spiciness of the sansho (Japanese pepper) arrives. As one might expect from a breakfast dish, it is not the same as the spicy hot bean curd served with Chinese restaurant Oil. The volume of this dish is about the same as a lunch at Sawada Hanten for only 400 yen, and with a large portion of tofu, it is a satisfying breakfast.
The only disappointment was the white rice. I guess it was just bad luck that day, but the rice was a little soggy. Also, the 200 yen rice seemed expensive when compared to the extremely low price of the main dish, which was less than one coin…oh, I’m sorry. That’s a bit extravagant, isn’t it?
The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner! To get to Zento Yo Yo, just a 2-minute walk from the nearest station, Tenma Station on the JR Loop Line.
Of course, Zento Yo Yo is open for lunch and dinner. Unlike the breakfast menu, the dishes are all reasonably priced, and you can even order half-size portions so that you can enjoy a variety of dishes by yourself or with your partner.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the restaurant is not so well known yet, so if you tell your acquaintances about it as a “special place you don’t really want to tell them about,” they will probably be very pleased. However, please note that the restaurant closes at 8:00 p.m., which is quite early…
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Restaurant data is here…
Zento Yo Yo Out of 5.
Address: 4-2-23 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Phone number: 06-6948-6959
Business hours: 7:00-20:00 (reservations required after 15:00)
Parking: No parking
Credit card payment: Not accepted (PayPay is supported)
It is a 3-minute walk from Ogimachi Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Sakaisuji Line and a 9-minute walk from Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchome Station.予約する
P.S. If you are looking for delicious Chinese food in Osaka, please stop by this article…