- 2 min read

Good value Chinese food at Uloncha

There are several Chinese restaurants on national route 179 through Hojo, but only one is worth mentioning. Uloncha (Ulong Tea) is an unassuming neighborhood Chinese restaurant, but the food is delicious and excellent value.

The method of preparation is slightly adjusted to Japanese taste, but it’s still satisfyingly Chinese. The fried rice contains a rich mixture of juicy shrimp, roast pork, egg, carrot and other good things, with an aromatic seasoning. This is chahan as it should be, but rarely is in other establishments. We usually order two, because we’re always hungry for more. The chahan is accompanied by a clear soup with egg or seasonal vegetable. Another favorite is the sweet and sour pork with a colorful variety of peppers, pineapple and bamboo shoots. The pork is always lean and sweet. We also like the fried chicken with cashew nuts and crispy lettuce in bean sauce, and the mabo dofu. The mabo dofu is not for the faint of heart however. It’s the real thing – a fiery dish with dark red chili that numbs the lips and makes you break out in a healthy and delightful sweat.

Small Chinese restaurants in Japan tend to serve rather greasy food, with less than perfect ingredients. Not so Uloncha. The master wields his wok with uncommon skill so that the various meats, vegetables and spices appear cooked to perfection with their colors unaffected by the heat, and not a drop of extra fat. At Uloncha, the shrimp in chili sauce has the plumpest, pinkest shrimp you’ll find anywhere.

Most of the menu consists of dishes priced at about 700 yen, and we usually choose from this range. A very satisfying meal comes to about 1,500 yen per person. However, there are more pricey options such as the braised abalone in cream. Uloncha is available for parties, where these more expensive dishes would be more appropriate. Dinner ends with a cup of jasmine tea, and for children a piece of melon or some other nice fruit, included in the very modest price.

The only downside to Uloncha is that they permit smoking, and the restaurant is small enough that one smoker can pollute the air for everyone else. Otherwise, it’s a haven for the hungry looking for tasty good value.

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