Oitate(追立) is quite different from any other Chinese restaurants you find in Japan. Oitate boasts of using safe and natural ingredients in its menu, based on the Yakuzen concept. Yakuzen (Yaku: Medicine/ Therapy; Zen- Food), also known as Chinese food therapy is a common practice of healing with natural food ingredients. The concept of Yakuzen or Shiliao (食疗) in Mandarin is strongly rooted in the Chinese tradition. Even in my family, my Chinese Malaysian mum is a strong advocate of Yakuzen who believes that every food or ingredient has Yin or Yang property and the importance to eat accordingly to ensure the Qi (Energy) in the body is always in balance.
Oitate has 4 shops in Osaka and one in Kyoto. I had the chance to visit Oitate’s newest branch on the 7th Floor of Moriguchi’s Keihan Shopping Mall. Unlike the main restaurant which is a fancy Ryotei (also in Moriguchi), this restaurant is much smaller and focuses on noodles and various ala-carte menus. The menu here is also much affordable as it caters for shoppers to the mall. The shop is not that big and they have only counter seats. But you still get a somehow calm and grand feeling, a notch above other normal noodle shops. This is probably due to the reason that the interior design and concept are borrowed from its main Ryotei restaurant. From the restaurant, you can also have a good view outside through the big glass windows, giving you a spacious effect.
I ordered their chili prawn fried rice and Oitate Ramen. Even at the very reasonable price of 783 yen, the dish of fried rice was beautifully topped with three big chili prawns. The rice is fried to perfection and not too greasy. There is a common misconception that Yakuzen is distasteful from adding Chinese medicines or herbs into the dishes. In fact, on the contrary, Yakuzen cuisine is far from that and it is about eating food with ingredients from nature and striking a balance between all the different ingredients.
As for the ramen, the soup is made from dried bonito, shrimps and scallops, giving it a natural and sweet flavor. The bowl of noodle was garnished with goji berry (wolf berry) and kamaboko and since no artificial or chemical seasoning is used, it doesn't leave you with a weird aftertaste. You can also add small portions of fried rice or Takikomi gohan made with seasonal vegetables. Tea served here goes really well with the food and you can ask for refills.
The proprieter of Oitate is undoubtly a strong advocator of Yakuzen and he has even published books and magazines on this topic. With such quality at an affordable price, Oitate is one restaurant to go to if you are looking for healthy and delicious alternatives.