Menu in: Japanese
Noodles ¥750-¥970; dim sum ¥420-¥980; desserts ¥350-¥390
Snag one of the spacious booths
Dan dan noodles; shrimp crepe; mushi-dori with sesame sauce
Xiaolongbao soup dumplings
Queens East B1F, 2-3-2 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama
Nearest station: Minatomirai or Sakuragicho
Open daily 11am-10pm
The menu at Koya is fairly limited—but don’t let that put you off. This newly opened “Hong Kong dining” spot offers just a smattering of noodle dishes, a handful of dumplings and a few desserts. Yet each dish is so well-executed, so interestingly seasoned and so attractively presented that Koya has already become one of our favorite restaurants in the Yokohama waterfront area.
The specialties of the house are spicy Chinese dan dan noodles, known locally as tantanmen. You can order them with or without broth, and seasoned with either sesame or with the distinctively aromatic spice known as Sichuan pepper. After several visits, we still can’t decide on our favorite. The sesame noodles in broth have a wonderfully nutty flavor—not just from the sesame, but because of the cashew nuts that the chefs add to the recipe. The two soup-less varieties feature springy noodles made with chili peppers, and a wonderful balance of seasoned ground beef, scallions and spices. Thankfully, Koya offers half-size versions so you can try two noodle recipes for the price of one.
As wonderful as the dan dan dishes are, our favorite item is the steamed shrimp “crepe.” Drizzled with a tare of soy sauce, sugar and black vinegar, this rectangular dumpling consists of an eggy skin enfolding crunchy shrimp. We can’t get enough. The only letdowns were the housemade xiaolongbao soup dumplings (¥100 for three when ordered with a lunch set), which are surprisingly flavorless.
Although Koya is located in a dowdy food-court setting in the Queen’s East shopping center, its interior positively sparkles. The staff is all-female, including the busy chefs who can be glimpsed in the semi-open kitchen. Though it’s only been open since July, Koya has already attracted a devoted legion of followers. Including us.