A little while ago you would only find certain types of people visiting this place. You know the ones; calloused hands and coke bottle glasses dashing from car to entrance in a desperate attempt not to be detected*. Then some time later, the same ones exit again with both pants and newly acquired bag bulging.
But honestly, how long would you expect a DVD porn shop to last on the M1 when there isn’t even a discrete back door for secluded entry. The shop just stood out there proudly on the highway like Dirk Diggler’s todger. How many times has little Miki or Yuki sitting in the back of mother’s car on the way back from cram school call out “Hey mum, look that’s daddy’s car” in gleeful recognition as the mother fights off the boiling stroke inducing rage from her own recognition.
However, some months ago things changed. The shop was gutted and a heavy duty spermacide was sprayed on the walls and floors and then Seiko-En was conceived.
Hand’s down,Seiko-En has the best Chinese food I have found in Japan. You would think that Japan, being so close to China, would have exceptional Chinese restaurant’s on every other street but Chinese or Taiwanese restaurants, particularly good ones, are hard to find.
Seiko En’s décor is spartan and uninspiring almost as a proclamation of regained virginity. Nevertheless the meals elicit the same sort of feelings as the DVD’s might have done in the shops previous existence. Besides, this time around you can bring the wife and kiddies, and enjoy it all together.
For our first meal at Seiko-En my wife and I sidestepped the traditional sets and went straight for a selection of dishes. To start things off I ordered a spicy beef dish with, oh so tender flesh, bedded in beans, carrots, bamboo shoots and button mushrooms with a delicate broth and soy reduction. Every flavor had room to move and greet the taste buds.
Our waitress next laid down a prawn and cashew dish with a wonderful aroma of garlic and ginger. We were not expecting what before us. What we were expecting were maybe four over cooked prawn with the same amount of cashew nuts buried in a bed of vegetables ala Japanese style. What we received was a mass of prawns and cashew nuts in an ample but subdued bed of vegetables. The prawns were cooked to perfection for this classic dish with the garlic never threatening to overpower the delicate flavour of the prawns.
Moments later and the waitress presented us with spiced pork meat balls in sweet and sour sauce. None of that cloyingly sweet fluorescent construction worker’s vest colour rubbish on this plate; this was another deliciously well presented dish done to text book perfection.
Finally, the fried rice arrived. Light and moist with a surprising little side of egg drop soup. This became an excellent palate cleanser between indulgent spoonfuls of everything else.
Everything was done right, from the ample portions to the crunch of the vegetables. The staff were smiling, friendly and calm. Calm being a contrast to the average deer in the headlights, glazed eyed brain washed cult member look you get from the average overworked izukaiya waiter. It was refreshing.
If you do go for the dish option then you find that prices range from around 500yen to 1000yen per dish depending on what you want. But if you go for the equally tasty looking sets then prices are around 900yen per set. The best part for the ignorant foreigner is that we have a photo of every dish and set on the menu.
Maybe it’s the lingering pheromones from the previous occupants but I walked out of Seiko-En lustfully sated with another bulge, but this time several inches higher than my crotch.
*While yes I do have calloused hands and coke bottle glasses I maintain that I have never visited these types of establishments…recently.
Stlye: Chinese Restaurant
English menu: no sorry
Picture menu: Each dish comes with a clear picture and a little chili indicator for heat.
Gaijin friendly: Yes. Very friendly happy staff.
Cost: Sets are around 9oo yen