Japanese Food in Shanghai: Kogumaya

In my never ending quest to eat as much Japanese food as possible, my wife and I went to Kogumaya in Shanghai on a Wednesday night for dinner.

There were only two of us so we got seats at the counter.

On the way to the counter we passed by lots of small rooms filled with middle-aged Japanese men sitting on the floor excitedly talking and drinking. The other customers seemed to all be Japanese, which is always a good sign if finding good Japanese food is your goal.

From the counter we could see some of the famed Japanese style baked clay plates that Kogumaya prides itself on, and we could also see the young Chinese staff doing the preliminary preparations for the food. Apparently the main chef is Japanese, but we never saw him as he was always back in the kitchen. Regardless of who was preparing the food though, it was all delicious.

The first dish that came was the kakiage. It’s a little different than tempura because it is fried up with many different things together, while tempura should only have one item fried at a time. This kakiage was unique because it was seafood, shisou, and salted. It was great, crispy and light. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.


Next we had the tatsutage. Tatsuage is basically like karage (Japanese fried chicken) but the flour-base stuff is different somehow. I don’t cook, so I don’t know… it was also awesome.

If you cannot read or speak Japanese or Chinese I have no idea how you would order at this place other than pointing at other peoples food, which would be tough considering that everyone is in a private room. All the wait staff are native Chinese speakers and speak fluent in Japanese. To maintain the ambience of the place they even make an effort to speak Japanese to each other constantly when communicating orders.

Kogumaya's Menu

They had some reasonable course options, one costing 400 RMB a person. Not bad.

We also got the Kansai-style Oden. It came with yuzukosho, basically yuzu fruit and uh, pepper, I think. It’s the green one in the picture, and it’s awesome. I have had yuzukosho on many occasions in Japan, and this was just the same quality. The yellow stuff is simply tougarashi, the spicy Japanese mustard.


We also ordered the kamataki gohan, which is basically rice prepared in a giant-ish metal pot. Quality rice. Proof again that not all rice is created equal. If there are only two of you and you order this be prepared to take leftovers home though – it’s a lot of rice.

The tofu was what my wife really came for. She had heard from a particularly gourmet Japanese lady friend that it was amazing. It was indeed very good. This tofu was creamy, cool, and sweet. Very tasty. I would recommend this to all of my western friends who don’t really see the point of tofu.

In terms of price, it’s sort of expensive for China standards, but if you’re used to Japanese prices it’s not bad at all. There were only two of us, and I ordered an Asahi beer and an atsukan (180ml) of warm sake, and it cost us about 500 RMB total. We had plenty to eat – too much even. I guess a regular meal there would run about 350RMB per person.

Good stuff. Go check it out if you’re in Shanghai and want Japanese food.


105 Chengdu Nan Lu,
near Changle Lu

View Larger Map

Chinese review site.

Scars Borough

This music recommendation must be the most personal one I have ever done… Here’s the story.

So a long time ago in Japan I met a French dude. We became friends, time passed, I moved to Osaka and he was still in Tokyo, and we didn’t see each other so often anymore. Then a few years ago I was randomly back in Tokyo and we ended up seeing each other again at a big dinner party. He had a new girlfriend named Kyoko. She was this really tough looking Japanese girl. I remember she looked sort of metal and punk. Pretty hardcore. Anyway, apparently she was in a band.

Years passed…

Just about a week ago I had some friends in from Tokyo visiting and we got to talking about all of our peeps who were still in Japan. It turns out that my French friend and Kyoko are still together, and her band is doing live shows in Japan quite frequently and they have a few CDs out! My friends brought me their newest album as a gift. I’m liking it!

The band is called Scars Borough and they’re pretty awesome. Check out some of their videos:

Band Talk.


More Japanese music! And yeah so, I uh, had dinner once with the lead singer of Scars Borough. Yeah, I’m awesome. (hehe.)

Related Links:

Scars Borough Official Website

Bright Siren by androp

If you’re into Japanese rock and… camera flashes… you’ll probably find this to be pretty interesting. This is the video for the song Bright Siren by a Japanese band called androp.

They used 250 cameras to set this up. Pretty impressive in terms of scale!

Fun stuff. If you check their official website you can even add your own light message to the end of the video! Yippie!

Official website for androp Bright Siren.

Japanese slang: Bacchiguu

Time to learn some 90s Japanese slang!!!


I can hardly even remember why I wanted to blog about this phrase…

Ah yes, I do remember now. So I’m slowly working my way through Devil Survivor, a sweet strategy RPG for DS, and there is one character that says this phrase over and over again.

Bacchiguu. It's ばっちり + Good.


The rough translation of this phrase is, “very good.”

Now, to be honest, this is not “cool” Japanese slang. In fact, it’s a little lame and outdated. Using it will be sure to score you a few laughs the first time around, and maybe even the second time too… But if you live in Kansai you might just earn yourself a slap upside the head for using this phrase. Consider yourself warned.

Let’s learn the phrase, and the background!

This phrase is a combination of two words. The first is ばっちり. The second word is “good,” which becomes グッド (guddo) in Katakana.

ばっちり is a legit Japanese word that means something is “perfect” or just “great.”

Here are some other words that may help you out when talking about バッチグー with your Japanese friends.

死語 (shigo) a dead word.
合成語 (gouseigo) a compound word.
ふるっ! (huru!!!) a way to strongly emphasize that something is OLD and 古い (hurui).
もういいから! (mou ii kara!) “OK OK, would you please quit saying that already!?”

I read on some Japanese blog that the character from this old cartoon called BONOBONO says バッチグー a lot…
Watch it for yourself though.


Related Posts:

Unbelievable! Old School Japanese Slang