One thing I was most looking forward to on this trip to Japan was to finally visit the Chinese restaurant my uncle owns in Tokyo called, “Minfi （明輝）.” The name of the restaurant loosely translates to “shines brightly” which, I found out, is also the name of the uncle’s younger brother.
My uncle, Meisei Sou （曽明星） (well, he’s actually my father’s cousin so he’s not really my “uncle” but I just refer to him as such because I can’t figure out what our official relationship is) is quite known in Japan’s culinary scene, most famous for beating Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba in 1995 in the original Iron Chef series with his now famous avocado shark fin soup.
But what’s more delicious than the artistic and exquisite Chinese dishes he serve (if it were possible) is the chef himself, who, despite his fame, is one of the most humble and charming individuals one would ever come across. There is no question as to why and how he earned the success he enjoys today.
Please enjoy the pictures of the beautiful French-inspired but authentically Chinese dishes I had the privilege of devouring. I’m not even going to bother explaining the flavor because no words will do the justice! (And please forgive for my lack of knowlege in Chinese cuisine … I don’t really know the real name of many of the dishes!)
Perhaps the most famous dish here, the avocado shark fin soup
Crab au gratin
Scallop with tarako sauce, with tomato and potato at the bottom
Soft shell crab
Shrimp with chili sauce
Beef filet stif fry
Hot pot rice with vegetable
Fluffy eggs with ankake
(By the way, do you think it’s okay to develop a total crush on your uncle without having to move to Alabama?!?)
WOO HOO! It’s THE BEST restaurant in the world, people!
Not only he beat the Iron Chef on the very first season – he serves to the Japanese Emperor on Sundays which is the highest honor. You now have to be a celeb or family (wink wink!) to get a table there! I’m so glad you finally made it. This is one of my main reasons for visiting Japan so often. If you think the photos look good, they taste 200% better!
Thanks Hirono for documenting it. I have pictures of their framed collaged photos with Kaga and Emperor if you want to add it here 🙂
P.S. I have a huge crush and respect for him too! He’s such a sweet, wonderful person on top of all the cooking magic!
Hi Saori. I’m so glad that I finally had the chance to check the restaurant out and meet Uncle Meisei. Just tasting the food was worth the trip to Japan (it was better than anything I’d ever tasted)! I had a chance to talk to him a lot during the night, and I pretty much picked his brain about what it’s like to be a chef. He is such an incredible person. It seems like none of the fame has gotten to his head. He’s so humble. His mother and wife were both so lovely too. I really had a wonderful time that night and can’t wait to go back!
Right on! Hopefully next time, we can enjoy it together!
P.S. I think his son is in the kitchen too. It’s almost my dream to work there 🙂 Can you just imagine!!!
P.S.S. They sometime have this small “itokuchi” ramen in a small cup… they rotate the dish now and then (besides the signature ones like avocado soup, fried crab & shrimp with chili sauce) and it’s always a nice surprise!
Dad was telling me about that ramen and how delicious it was! OMG, I want to try that next time!!!
No wonder that you love cooking and eating.
Do you have Chinese blood too? If so you have triple culture background. It’s cooler than just Japanese and American!
Yeah, I think it’s in my genes to love cooking and eating. I just wish I can cook as well as my uncle!
Yes, I’m quarter Taiwanese and the rest Japanese, but the Taiwanese part of my heritage was virtually lost when my grandfather immigrated to Japan years and years ago. Uncle Meisei and his family is pretty much the only link I have to that part of my background, which is really unfortunate. I wish I knew more of my distant relatives, the culture and the language! (Maybe there are more amazing chefs in the family 🙂 )