Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Move Over Yoshinoya! Our Chikara Meshi Experience in Tokyo

Yoshinoya who? Here's how we randomly found out about this awesome budget "fast" restaurant in Tokyo.

After checking in, we unpacked and decided to have a random quick meal around the area. Strolling for less than ten minutes around Shinjuku, we spotted Chikara Meshi from afar without knowing what food they serve, thanks to its bright orange signage. 

We agreed we couldn't go wrong with rice bowls. Nice welcome banner, Chikara.

We spotted the interiors to be Yoshinoya-style, so we went ahead and started ordering. Yoshinoya was our place-to-go if we couldn't decide where to have quick meals.

This guy's gonna be taking your orders upon entering.

We couldn't figure it out at first, so we had to call on one of the servers to assist us. Apparently, cash should be inserted first before selecting the orders.

It's always fun to order through these machines. That's why Nikko would usually take charge of the ordering.

The machine would then eject tickets like these, for you to give to the servers. Meal options were quite cheap. For the beef bowl with miso soup, small size is 290 円 or approximately Php 120! The big size is at 440 円 while the jumbo is at 540 円. 

People come and go quicker than you can you can spell Chikara Meshi. The place quickly filled up a while after we settled in.

Add-on salad bowls are pre-prepped and chilled in this tabletop unit.

Since no english descriptions were available, we relied on the turo-turo (picture / dish pointing) style.

Salad dressings, soy sauce, chili powder and other condiments are present to liven the dishes to your preference.

Chikara Meshi stands for "Power Food", newest to the chained store business and following the footsteps of Yoshinoya, Matsuya and Sukiya. For their core product, they use the special grilling oven found behind where this staff is standing.

I had the standard Grilled Gyudon with miso soup, and added a bowl of curry sauce for fun (on top of it being my favorite spice).
Big Sized Grilled Beef Bowl [440 円 or Php 183]
Add Curry [100 円 or Php 42]
Check out this mouth-watering photo of the serving. Mmmm. It's Yakiniku in a jiffy!

I ate a few bites of it as is, and loved the aromatic smell of the tender grilled meat. It was perfect without needing the help of any add-on condiments. 

Here comes the curry. Being one of the most popular dishes in Japan, almost all establishments we passed by served curry in one way or form. The sauce was spicy, flavourful, richer and different from the Philippine and Thai curry versions we're used to. I had my fair share of curry meals during our trip to Japan last year, and promised to lessen it this time. I just couldn't help myself.

They're good with slightly varying the meal then calling it another meal. This one here is the same standard grilled beef rice bowl sprinkled with spring onions and garlic bits.

While this one has white radish or Daikon on top.

This one has the grilled beef nestled on top of cabbage and onions.

Since we did it turo-turo, for sure there would be some misses. This Chicken Karaage dumped with mayo was boring for Nikko.

And here's more of it as side dish.

Chikara Meshi has expanded to 100 outlets within the span of one and a half year. Impressive! The outlet we went for was across Yodabashi, near our hotel Keio Plaza.
Yodabashi Camera on Your Left
Shinjuku Post Office is a good landmark as well.

Here's sharing this guy's experience with Chikara Meshi.

You can get the specific shop addresses here:

Shinjuku Branches are as follows:

Shinjuku Nishiguchi
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-14-19
Sanko Building 1F 5:00 3:00

Shinjuku Nishiguchi first store
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-15-3
1F Omunikusubiru 5:00 3:00

Shinjuku West Exit 3 shop
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-4-5
Nishi-Oakville 1F 9:00 to 23:30

Shinjuku West Exit 4 shop
Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-5-12
New Central Building 1F 5:00 3:00

Shinjuku east exit second shop
Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 1-17-2
Toya building 1F 5:00 3:00

Shinjuku 5-chome
Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 5-18-13
Yaesu Building 1F

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