Since it opened in 2017, the memorably named Hobo Shinjuku Norengai, run by Tokyo restaurant group Spice Works, has been a favourite spot for Tokyoites looking to get a modern meal in old fashioned surroundings. Now it has expanded its list of restaurants by converting a neighbouring warehouse into an extended yokocho (food alley) featuring seven new restaurants.
Despite being located right outside Yoyogi Station, the name Hobo Shinjuku Norengai means ‘almost Shinjuku alleyway’, as it’s only a five-minute walk to Shinjuku. This massive complex might be overwhelming for first-timers, so we’ve rounded up some of the best new restaurants to check out when you visit.
Showa-style izakaya Newstore serves classic Japanese homestyle meals like omurice and ramen, plus Chinese cuisine like mapo tofu, shumai steamed dumplings and fried rice. All the drinks here are served in a ‘mega jug’ – that’s roughly double the size of a standard glass. While a highball will do the job, we recommend ordering Newstore’s special mixed-juice chuhai.
One of Shin-Okubo’s most popular Korean restaurants, Hongdae Pocha, has also made it here with traditional South Korean dishes like yangnyeon sweet and sour fried chicken, samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), dak-galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) and more. There are also plenty of bottles of makgeolli and soju to wash it down with, too.
If you’re looking for something different, Butaniku Yoshoku Club Iroha offers spare ribs slathered in your choice of barbecue, yangnyeom (sweet and sour) or plack pepper seasoning. Fries also come in different flavours like truffle, spicy, and cheese curry. Don’t forget to check out the dessert menu which has some unusual savoury-sweet treats like baked banana with prosciutto and an affogato with deep fried gnocchi.
Last but not least, you can enjoy a luxurious platter of sashimi from Umidori, filled with a range tuna from fatty to lean (¥4,389), grilled mackerel (¥869) and sushi rolls with fillings like salmon mayo (¥869) and scallop butter (¥979). While seafood is the main star of this restaurant, there are also a few notable meat dishes like the chicken wing karaage (¥759) and chicken potato salad (¥649).
Visit the Hobo Shinjuku Norengai website for more information.
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