Shinjuku Kabukicho is the largest red light district in Japan and there are many adult shops and host clubs. In the center of Kabukicho, there is a Shanghai restaurant calles “Shanghai Xiaochi” located in a dingy alley.
From the era of postwar Japan, different mafia groups from across Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China have fought endlessly in Kabukicho. In 1994, there was a famous murder case, known as the “Seiryuto case.” A Beijing mafia group hit a Shanghai mafia group in a Chinese restaurant and two people were killed. Shanghai Xiaochi is located near where the case happened.
On the southwest side of the Shinjuku Ward Office Street intersection, there are dubious and dim alleys, called “Omoide no nukemichi” which means “memories of the loophole.” Things like snack pubs and mysterious shops are concentrated in these narrow alleys. When you take one step in, you feel like you are walking in Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
In Shinjuku, there were several places called “blue lines” where prostitution had been carried out secretly after WWII. One of them is the famous “Shinjuku Golden Gai”, but here is also said to have been a “blue line”.
Shanghai Xiaochi is found when you pass through the alley where cookware is casually placed. Despite how cramped the store is, you can actually find more than 600 items on the menu.
This particular dish is shredded tofu. It is made with a number of seasonings, which make the dish quite delicious.
This dish is a stew of beef gristle and cow penis. What you see in the picture being lifted with chopsticks is the penis of cattle. The texture of the penis is just like gelatin since it has been completely braised.
The above dish is one made from pigeon. Here in Japan, pigeon is a symbol of peace and the Japanese do not eat them. Yet Chinese people can eat anything. The head and the beak is strangely realistic.
This restaurant has been pictured in the movie “Fuyajo” also known as “Sleepless Town” that was directed by Chi-Ngai Lee and starring Takeshi Kaneshiro.
It costs between 4-5000 yen when you eat and drink normally. Other than the penis of cattle and the pigeon, there are also other strange foods like frogs, snakes, brain of pigs, and scorpions. You should muster up the courage to experience such a nice, unique restaurant in the center of Kabukicho and I hope you enjoy it.
[How to go] a 10 minute walk from the East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station
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