Renka [蓮華] is a fantastic little homestyle Chinese food family restaurant in the Yokogawa station area to the North of Hiroshima city.
This place has been a popular addition to this small neighborhood for the last 15 years. Popping in for lunch showed me why they have such a loyal following – high quality food at reasonable prices and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Renka opened 15 years ago by a family who originally from Northern China. Their most popular dishes are Chahan rice, Ramen, Gyoza dumplings which are steamed and fried, as well as Sweet and Sour meat and seafood dishes like Ebi-Chili Shrimp in Chili sauce.
The lunch sets are an exceptional bargain at ¥680 for the daily special or yakisoba set of fried noodles, rice, soup and fruit. I paid a little extra for the lunch set to try one of their specialties, shrimp in chili sauce. The dish was delicious as the shrimp was served piping hot, the shrimp fried in batter and then dripping in a great sweet, spicy red sauce on a bed of fresh lettuce leaves. It is possible to get a refill of rice in the set, but with the egg drop soup, rice, large main dish, fruit and green tea, there was no need for more.
When asked about special diets, the staff said it would not be a problem to have dishes made without meat or fish or MSG. The main dishes for dinner start at ¥500 for vegetable dishes (some accompanied by meat), fried meats, sweet & sour meat and vegetable dishes, Ramen, rice dishes as well as gyoza, salads, desserts and more. Alcoholic drinks start at ¥400 and sodas, tea from ¥200. Kept bottles of whiskey (Snack bar style for frequent customers) are also available for the regular night-time drinking crowd.
Party reservations for groups of 3 or more can be made and courses created to suit you from ¥2,000 per person for the recommended set. Add ¥1,500 to have a nomihodai/all-you-can-drink deal attached to the set.
No English speaker or English menu available, but there are illustrative pictures on the menu outside the entrance and the staff are easy to communicate with, even in basic Japanese.
Cross over the main road from Yokogawa station and turn right after the Matsumoto Gakki music stop, 1 block down on the right side (opposite an old style Kissaten coffee shop) is Renka.