FOREIGN RESTAURANT PORN: Shoryuken Kyobashi (Osaka) Would Gel In Japantown

January 5, 2013.

by Andrew Morrison | Foreign Restaurant Porn is a new Scout column that looks at a covet-worthy restaurant (from parts afar) and uses it to plug a hole – geographically or conceptually – in Vancouver’s own restaurant landscape. This week we examine a slick and woody ramen joint in Japan called Shoryuken Kyobashi…

What it is: Shoryuken Kyobashi | Casual | Designed by Ietsugu Ohara of Stile Space Industrial Arts+ (photos by Hirokazu Matsuoka)

Where it is: Osaka, Japan.

Where we wish it was: Pretty much any of the vacant addresses in Japantown (maybe even Fat Dragon).

Why we wish it was there: Several reasons. For starters, the DTES doesn’t have any quality ramen except for the tasty bowl that recently appeared at Harvest on Union. It’s fine stuff, as we’ve noted before, but they don’t have a liquor license, and no one yells at you when you walk in. Also, Harvest doesn’t offer any of the ancillary bits like gyoza, karaage, edamame, et cetera. But culinary considerations aside, how fascinating would it be to see Japantown (aka “Little Tokyo”) have a little renaissance of its own launched by a kickass noodle joint? Such a development wouldn’t be without some serious weirdness, of course. Indeed, if the shops in the Little Ginza area off Robson and the bustling, youth-filled izakayas of the West End ever came back – attracted, no doubt, by changing demographics, significantly cheaper rents, and perhaps even a zionist-like sense of “return”- then this section of the DTES would see a kind of gentrification that would make the recent ascension of Gastown feel like a slow ride up a broken escalator. Can you imagine the shit storm of controversy if Hidekazu Tojo moved his internationally acclaimed sushi restaurant from West Broadway to a property looking onto Oppenheimer Park or if Masa Shiroki took his amazing Sake shop from Granville Island to Main & Powell? I mean, what would be the response from DTES champions like Ivan Drury and Wendy Pederson? I ask because there would be some truly bizarre optics going on. We’d see the formerly dispossessed supplanting the presently dispossessed, a situation that is not without tragic historical precedence (albeit on larger, national scales) but one that would change the DTES conversation massively. To Japanese-Canadians, it would be about time, as it was exactly 70 years (almost to the day) that the shameful internment of Japanese Canadians began during World War II. The consequential cultural rape of their neighbourhood and resulting Japanese-Canadian diaspora are sagas still bereft of closure (despite apologies). Any move toward the restoration of Japantown would bring things full circle. That it would be heralded in by good, cheap noodles and beer in a pretty room would merely be a tasty bonus.

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