Cheap cafe food in Tennoji
Japan's cheap food.
In Japan, there are many, many places you can go to find food. But where to get cheap food? Is there cheap food? Is there good, cheap food?
Well, yes and no. You certainly can find good, cheap food, but not necessarily a lot of good, cheap food. Certainly, there are many types of ramen that you can find in the local convenience stores, which I will cover another time. But if you want something fresh, good, and cheap, you will probably have to settle for the fact that you won't get as much as you may be used to back in other countries. There are exceptions of course, curry being one of them, but even that will set you back about 600 yen without drinks.
Yes, I'm talking something for cheaper than 600 yen (or 6 US dollars)
That said, let's start with cafes.
What kinds of cafes?
So what kind of cafe serves cheap food? In Japan, there are plenty to choose from. Specifically, look for the hole-in-the-wall places. This particular place that my friend and I went to was right across from Q's Mall, in Tennoji, on the second floor above a bakery store. It was really easy to miss and the only reason we went was because we saw a sign next to the stairwell stating that there was a cafe on the second floor!
Either way, most won't be hard to find. Just check the side streets, and you'll stumble onto one soon enough. Check their menus. Many will have their go-to food outside or pasted on the window.
This particular place had sets ranging from 200 yen to 1200 yen. In the picture above, you can see that 200 yen won't get you much, but it can help in a pinch. That particular set includes an egg, toast, and a bit of jelly.
Speaking of eggs, for those who care, they are all organic. The eggs are taste amazing, and have a deep golden, orange color that i have not seen in the U.S. They are also served in many different ways.
The sandwich sets
Above, you can see the very delicious sandwich set that I had bought. The white bread was toasted and very, very soft. I enjoyed that part of the sandwich immensely. It's not often you come across toasted bread that is still soft, including the crust!
The cheese was a standard mozzarella that coated the top of the sandwich, with a bit inside as well. As for filling, it was a tasty combination of several foods: tomato, pork, and potato, along with some type of white sauce that was mayonnaise based.
All in all, the sandwich was good, warm, and filling.
Sandwich with bacon and...?
This next sandwich, which my friend bought and swapped a piece with me, had bacon (or rather, Japan's version of bacon) on it. Inside was a cabbage and sauce mix, of which I believe the sauce was some sort of mayonnaise base. Surprisingly, the cabbage and sauce mixed very well with the bacon and cheese.
My friend and I both ordered our sandwich sets with drinks. The sandwich set by itself comes with yoghurt and a small amount of chips. It was one of their more expensive options coming in at about 800 yen. For another 150 yen, you can get a cup of coffee or tea, but my friend and I decided to opt for lattes. Those cost 250 yen.
The lattes were good for what you pay for. They were weak in caffeine and flavor, but the milk was good and it was warm, and served in a large cup. For 250 yen you cannot complain; certainly cheaper than a cup from the local Starbucks.
As shown above, there are similar choices of cheap cafe food throughout Japan. Some cafes may have their own little specialties, especially if they are privately owned. In fact, most of the small places will always have their own variants of the standard cafe fair. Never go into a cafe in Japan thinking you will be ordering just another sandwich, unless you go to one of the larger chains such as Royal Host.
What kind of cafes have you stumbled across in Japan? What did you end up ordering? Was it cheap? Tell me your experiences in the comments section!