Blog: Do as the Japanese do, not the Chinese

Customers dine in at the new Yoe’s Noodles in Bellevue.

The other day, I dined at a new Japanese ramen restaurant opened by Chinese Americans, Yoe’s Noodles at 1411 156th N.E., in Bellevue. In Hawaii, Koreans have owned some of the most famous Japanese restaurants.

If you want to start a new Asian restaurant during this slow economy, should you go Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Japanese, or Vietnamese?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Chinese food, but it is so competitive and labor intensive, and the price war is so steep that it is challenging for owners to make a profit. Profit margins for many Japanese dishes are much higher than for Chinese.

Japanese food is going up, not only in price, but in trends and styles. Authentic Japanese food is easier to cook than authentic Chinese food in terms of techniques and ingredients. It is also easier to operate a Japanese restaurant.

My advice for new restaurateurs, do modern Japanese food or fusion, not Vietnamese, not Korean, not Thai, and definitely not Chinese! ♦

3 Responses to “Blog: Do as the Japanese do, not the Chinese”

  1. I spent a whole year as an exchange student in Kyoto Japan, and I have to say I probably wouldnt have gotten by if it wasnt for a delicious dinner of udon a couple of times a week! There is even one shop where you can eat for free if you do 30 minutes of washing the dishes after, but I cant say I was ever that poor! Anyway, I found a load more tasty looking ideas at this udon recipe site.

  2. Grouchy Chef says:

    I am very disappointed with your article with the title of “ Do as the Japanese, not the Chinese”.
    I have also found your article being very discouraging, the content is full of prejudge.
    Here are my questions to you :-
    What do the Japanese do right as we Chinese do wrong?
    Have you ever run a restaurant before yourself? No matter a Chinese, or Japanese? Korean? Thai? India? Vietnamese?
    On what basis you compare the popularity between the authentic Chinese and Japanese foods?

    I simply say that your advice is a very bad one! If all others keep opening Japanese restaurants everywhere, where will you find a good place for your favorite Chinese food?

    I would much more appreciate it if you can point out to us how Chinese food can be improved to catch up with the “trends and styles”, or how can we deal with it in this “competitive” market in this “slow economy”, or how can we actually make changes in terms of “ingredients and techniques” that you mentioned!
    Your conclusion and suggestion for us not to open Chinese restaurant is like burying the heads in the sand.

    I love all Asian food, I would patronize those places that are clean, that offer menu with good value and good authenticity.

    I am planning to open a restaurant in the Chinatown/ID area in the near future. And it definitely will be Chinese, not Japanese!

    The Grouchy Chef 2


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