Kakouken 華光軒 is an old Chinese restaurant very well hidden in a tiny alley behind Bic Camera. If you come from Okayama Station, the electronic store is located across the street on your left.
It’s such a tight space, that’s it’s virtually impossible to get a good shot of the restaurant.
Kakouken is a busy place and will only seat about 12 customers. I took a long look at the menu, but realized quickly that everybody was pretty much eating jajamen じゃじゃめん which is noodles topped with spicy pork. Expect to wait.
The jajamen at Kakouken is 800 yen.
From what I understood, Kakouken has been in business for 70 years and the current chef has been behind the wok for 46 years with his wife.
Watching this man cook was an incredible pleasure. Sitting at the counter is a lesson in cooking mastery.
You feel that this man has dialed in the perfect way to make the most delicious jajamen in this well lived in kitchen. He spoke a little bit of English and told me that his bigger wok was over 50 years old.
There is something beautiful in a 50 years cooking ware. The jajamen comes in different level of spiciness, I opted for 2.5 because the lady before me had ordered 2.5. Everything at Kakouken is cooked to order, so you might have to wait if there are lots of people ordering multiple dishes.
The result was a great bowl of jajamen which was spicy and complex. I forgot to take a picture the mixed results.
A woman ordered level 4 after I came in and it’s was really spicy. The chef gave me a taste.
I ordered gyoza which were prepared by the wife. The gyoza were open on the side.
Great gyoza with a good garlic kick.
Kakouken is an amazing restaurant and I wonder of the owner will pass the torch to the younger generation? If you venture down some dark alleys in Japan, you can sometime find some unique food.
Walk straight from the entrance of the shopping arcade, if you come from the station, just look for the first alley on the right hand side.
1 Chome-1-11 Ekimaechō, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken