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Japanese Izakaya Restaurant "Sekai no Yamachan" Opens 1st Overseas Location in HK

Japanese Izakaya Restaurant

Chicken wings from Sekai no Yamachan

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S.Y. Food Co., Ltd., the company based in Shinsakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Japan run by Sekai no Yamachan, the izakaya restaurant from Nagoya, Japan famed for its chicken wings, had its grand opening for Sekai no Yamachan Tsim Sha Tsui on April 14. The restaurant, located at B/F, Cameron Centre, 57-59 Chatham Road South, T.S.T, Kowloon (Tel: 2723-9038), is at the intersection of Chatham Road South and Cameron Road.

The half-man, half-chicken Sekai no Yamachan character graces the restaurant's big signboard. Inside is a basement floor with seating for 93, laid out to accommodate groups of diners, with most of the tables being large enough for four people.

The menu offers around 80 different dishes. Listed on the menu board outside are some of the same standard fare as in Japan, like "dreamy chicken wings" (HK$48) and "miso kushikatsu" (HK$48), along with sashimi and sushi that caters to Hong Kongers' tastes. Other dishes include familiar Nagoya food like "miso stewed udon" (HK$88) and "tontonyaki" (HK$108).

At the time of the opening, company founder and current chairman Shigeo Yamamoto said, "At first I never thought we'd open a branch overseas." The company started out 31 years ago with a 13-square-meter diner with 13 seats, and now it has 70 locations across Japan. Except for a few franchise restaurants all the establishments are directly operated. The company was not very interested in expanding overseas due to the difficulties of offering the same flavors and prices outside Japan, but Mr. Yamamoto says his thinking changed when he came to check out Hong Kong last October. Experiencing the hardships involved in opening more restaurants in Japan over the past three to four years, he says he began to feel a desire to "start doing business among the lively people of Hong Kong in order to protect Yamachan."

The company's plan is to "first make the initial restaurant a success," and then "possible add multiple additional locations if the circumstances are favorable." Mr. Yamamoto also said the attitude of the company's employees could play a role in determining how it expands overseas. "Some of our staff want to go to America, so we might do that if some of them step forward."

Business hours at the Tsim Sha Tsui location are 5:00 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.

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