Matsuya, Shinjuku

Oct 14 2002

Matsuya is a chain of gyuudon(“beef bowl”) restaurants in Japan. It’s the closest thing I can think of to “Japanese fast food”. There are a few key factors that make Matsuya one of my main sources of nutrition: 1. **Food:** You get a lot of food, and it is tasty. You can go with the standard gyuudon (a bowl of rice with strips of beef and onions on top) and miso soup, or you can opt for the curry. If you’re especially hungry, there are bigger sets with salad and raw eggs in little dishes and such. It’s all, as they say, good. Also, Matsuya offers kimchi, unlike other gyuudon shops. Dumping the kimchi on top of the gyuudon makes for an especially delicious meal. There are also pitchers of water on the table so you don’t have to keep asking for more. 2. **Price:** You can fill up for 290 yen. As of 6/30/2002, that comes to US$2.42. In expensive-as-heck Tokyo, that’s a downright miracle. 3. **Service:** Your order is placed by buying tickets out of a vending machine. This means your order will never get messed up. The folks that work there are friendly, and their “irasshaimase!”s and “arigatou gozaimashita!”s and “mata goriyou kudasaimase!”s sound pretty genuine. 4. **Convenience:** The speed is nice; you can walk in, order, eat, and leave in a matter of 15 minutes. There are Matsuyas pretty much everywhere, and they are easy to spot by their bright yellow signage and distinctive circular logo. Finally, and this is a big one, every Matsuya I know of is open 24 hours. This means that when it’s the middle of the night and you need a hearty meal, your two options are Matsuya and Origin Bentou. I’ll get to Origin in another post; that’s a whole other story.