My very late lunch, or very early dinner (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Chao Dining, Shizuoka

Cheap and tasty Chinese food in Shizuoka City

My very late lunch, or very early dinner (Photo: Peter Sidell)
Peter Sidell   - 2 min read

Late one afternoon I was browsing the shops in Cenova shopping centre, but I'd had a very light lunch that day so was already feeling hungry again. On the fifth floor I found a sign outside one of the restaurants telling me their ¥1220 lunch menu was available until 5:00pm, a deal which seemed like it needed taking up. I checked with one of the staff, she confirmed that it was so, and I headed inside for a very early dinner.

It's very mellow inside, pleasing to the eye and ear, done out in understated earth tones with tasteful ornaments displayed like museum pieces. There are plants and screens around the tables, and soft, unobtrusive piano melodies by way of background music, all making for a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere in which to eat.

The "lunch" set I chose was the chicken stir-fry, which came with rice, soup, pickles and gyoza, little pork dumplings fried up together so that I needed to pry them apart with my chopsticks. The main dish was a little greasy, but tasty nonetheless, and was offset nicely by the crunch and sharpness of the pickles. The gyoza were good too, slightly chewy and full of flavour, and I also had a little bowl of fruit for dessert which rounded off the meal well.

The menu has no English, but a lot of pictures, possibly of every dish (I didn't check, of course). As well as the lunch sets there's a dim sum lunch buffet (¥2020 for men, ¥1800 for women, which would just make me want to eat more), while individual dim sum plates are between ¥250 and ¥800.

Other main dishes range from ¥800 to ¥1000, and include some non-Chinese selections: there are three kinds of pho (Vietnamese noodles), a handful of Thai dishes, chicken ratatouille,and an avocado, cheese and tomato bake. Desserts for ¥390 include mango pudding and coconut ice cream, and there's also a kid's plate for ¥730 if you're bringing your little ones.

Soft drinks and various Chinese teas cost ¥370, while stronger drinks go from ¥390 to ¥570, including jasmine or shikuwasa (Okinawan citrus) sours, or a variety of strong, sweet liqueurs, among them lychee, yuzu and plum.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.