We follow a Japanese taxi driver’s recommendation and find a delicious eatery that’s easy on the eyes and the wallet.

Our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma has an acquaintance who works as a taxi driver, and this acquaintance gave him a special tip-off recently, telling him about a particular place in Yokohama where taxi drivers, who tend to finish their shifts very early in the morning, can eat a delicious meal right away.

Interest piqued, Masanuki made the trip to what he believed to be the nearest station to this nirvana of nourishment—Keikyu Higashi Kanagawa Station. Even this relatively close station required a twenty-minute walk on Masanuki’s part, at which point he caught sight of a shopping plaza. No, wait, not a shopping plaza.

▼ A wholesale retailer’s market for businesses!

As it turns out, Kanagawa Station is actually a tiny bit closer to the eatery in question. The directions that Masanuki received had come from a taxi driver, after all, who tended to just…drive to the place in question and then use one of the paid parking spaces nearby. Masanuki conceded that it’s probably much more convenient to visit this place if you’re driving a car.

There are some places within the plaza that are open even to the regular, non-retailer masses. However, as the streets around and through the market are always busy with forklifts and trucks and the like, you should take extra care when visiting outside of the designated days for regular citizens. You don’t want to bother people or get in the way of their work! And neither did Masanuki, so he made sure to check the map thoroughly.

The map instructed Masanuki to enter the premises, take the left-most route and walk down the slope past the produce buildings…

And there it was! The diner, Takeya Shokudo!

It looked like a very classic diner, and as such, it was very easy to envision it as a popular haunt for veteran taxi drivers. It actually took a huge amount of courage to walk into such an obvious local haunt, but crossing the threshold was very, very worth it.

Masanuki ordered his acquaintance’s recommended dish, the “two-color” rice bowl. Soon enough, his tray arrived…

▼ That’s a pretty huge bowl!

This order cost Masanuki just 1,000 yen (US$9.13) and what a feast awaited him! This was more tuna than anyone could possibly ask for. Tuna, the main meat of the dish, was served up in glorious chunks of fatty to medium-fat cuts, then vivid red cuts of flesh alongside the orangey negitoro (tuna mashed up with spring onion)… This was a veritable celebration of tuna in both its colors! And for so cheap, too!

It practically speaks for itself, but the platter was delicious. The cuts of tuna were dense, glistening with fat, and contained a hint of sweetness to offset their intense flavor.

▼ Meanwhile, the negitoro was flavored gently with sesame and garlic notes.

This kind of freshness, quantity, and flavor is the sort that you can only purchase right here at the market source, Masanuki thought. No wonder taxi drivers love it here so much! This is the kind of dish that powers you up and enables you to tackle another tough day of work!

▼ As Masanuki ate, plenty of other regulars drifted in and out to order the same thing. It’s clearly a favorite staple among the workers.

The diner is open until noon, but please note that it takes a long time to walk to the site from the station. However, that will help build up your appetite for all the delicious fatty tuna you’ll get to eat, so make sure to visit if you’re in the area!

Restaurant information
Takeya Shokudo / 竹家食堂
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ku, Yamanouchi-cho 1-1-1
Hours: 5 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Closed Sunday, holidays, and on days when the market is closed (primarily Wednesday)
Phone: 045-461-6888

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