The port city of Kobe is lesser known than the nearby Osaka or Kyoto. But Kobe has plenty to offer – it happens to be home to one of Japan’s biggest Chinatowns. Kobe Chinatown, locally “Nankin-machi”, is jam-packed with restaurants and street stalls selling mouthwatering Chinese food.
In Kobe Chinatown, here are some must eats!
Fried Dumpling University
Go before opening to avoid a line
If you’re craving quality gyoza (fried dumplings), go to Gyoza Daigaku, which literally means Gyoza University.
They’re that confident in their gyoza. Prepare to be thoroughly educated.
Tall glass of beer & 14 gyoza
Their gyoza are cooked to perfection. The soft side of the gyoza beautifully contrasts with the crispy side while the ground pork and nira make them delightfully juicy on the inside.
1 person’s portion includes 7 gyoza. But if you’re just 1 person, you’ve got to order for at least 2 people (14 gyoza).
It’s simple and efficient when you arrive. The worker will ask how many there are in your party, how many gyoza you want, and whether you want garlic (ninniku) or not.
Gyoza Daigaku is a wonderfully tiny shop. The gyoza wraps are made at a counter right by the register, which is right next to the kitchen. If you sit at the counter, you get to see all the action in the kitchen.
Make sure to arrive a bit earlier before opening. I was there at 4:55 pm (opening at 5 pm) and was third in line.
Gyoza Daigaku is a Kobe Chinatown institution.
Amazing Steamed Pork Buns without the wait
Don’t leave Kobe Chinatown without some nikuman (steamed pork buns). Restaurant Roushouki is famous for nikuman but the line there is insane. Pro tip – Shikohroh has just as good nikuman without the crazy wait time.
Shikohroh is slightly tucked away but is still right across from Motomachi station.
They’re not stingy at Shikohroh. The pork in their nikuman is plentiful and tender. You can top off your nikuman with bulldog sauce (a sweet BBQ sauce often used for tonkatsu), or soy sauce.
As a full-on Chinese restaurant, they’ve got much more on offer. This would include old school ramen, dumpling ramen, chicken rice, chukadon, and more.
Snacks on the go
Also make sure to sample as much food as you can from the many street stalls.
Some items I recommended include xiaolongbao, Peking duck wrap, variations of nikuman, shrimp gyoza, and dan dan noodles.
Peking Duck Wrap
I feel like with street food it’s best to follow your nose. But some places with a line might be worth checking out.
Ebi Dango: Fried Shrimp Balls
Hopefully you’ll eat up a storm when at Kobe Chinatown.