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When thinking of sushi, most people also think of the sea, but the signature item at this restaurant is a mountain-like bowl of delicious tuna.

Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market may get more attention, but there’s plenty of delicious seafood to be found in Kanagawa, Tokyo’s prefectural neighbor to the south. Most of Kanagawa’s major cities are port towns, including its capital, Yokohama, which is where we went in search of what we’d heard was a massive helping of negitoro, grated tuna with green onion.

If you’re a sushi restaurant regular, you’ve probably had negitoro in bite-sized portions wrapped in seaweed. While that’s definitely a satisfying way to enjoy the dish, they do things a little differently at Bam Bam Bancho, located near Bashamichi Station.

▼ The restaurant displays its hometown pride with a storefront in the blue and white of Yokohama’s professional baseball team, the Baystars

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In Japanese, the word “bancho” originally referred to the leader of, if not quite a gang, at least a group of rough-around-the-edges youths. In broader usage, though, it sometimes gets applied to people with an almost aggressive level of passion and pride in what they do. There’s no arguing that the restaurant’s most popular item, the Negitoro Bancho Bowl, is an over-the-top expression of love for negitoro, and when we say over-the-top, we mean that literally, as the heaping helping of grated tuna towers over the rim of the bowl.

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The Negitoro Bancho Bowl is available in two varieties. The First Generation is seasoned with soy sauce, the standard condiment used with negitoro. Alternatively, the Second Generation is sprinkled with salt. While there is an option to have both in the same bowl, we decided that for our first visit to Bam Bam Bancho, we’d go with the restaurant’s original version and opted for the First Generation. You can order the Negitoro Bancho Bowl a la carte for the extremely reasonable price of 850 yen (US$7.60), but we decided to splurge on the 1,000-yen lunch set, which includes miso soup and a couple of side orders.

As we waited, we sat back and listened as the chef talked with his staff in the kitchen. Thanks to his clear, friendly voice that wouldn’t be out of place in show business, we felt our mood getting progressively better, and the smile on our face only got bigger when the server brought our food to us.

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Sitting on the tray were two different vegetable dishes, a slice of grilled fish, and a steaming bowl of miso soup. Oh, and also a mountain of negitoro.

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As we dug in, we tasted not only soy and onion, but also garlic and ginger, plus some sesame oil and a little gochujang chili paste. It was so delicious that the Negitoro Bancho Bowl impressed out taste buds as much as it did our eyes.

▼ At the very bottom of that there’s also some rice.

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The craziest thing, though, is that this isn’t even the biggest negitoro bowl on the menu; it’s just the regular size. There’s also the large, which is one and a half times the size of the normal for 1,050 yen (1,200 yen with miso soup) and the Marine Tower Negitoro Bancho Bowl, named after one of Yokohama’s portside observation towers, which is double the regular size and costs 1,500 yen.

So really, Bam Bam Bancho can satisfy any appetite, and if you’re going, we’d recommend a light breakfast that day.

Restaurant information
Bam Bam Bancho / バンバン番長
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Naka-ku, Bentendori 3-39, Lions Mansion Kannai Dai 2, 2nd floor
神奈川県横浜市中区弁天通3-39 ライオンズマンション関内第2 2F
Open 11:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-midnight
Closed Mondays (open Mondays if there’s a baseball game at Yokohama Stadium that day)

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