Paris: Asian travel guide - where to eat and what to see
The French capital is a city that does not need any particular preamble: a city overflowing with history, art and haute cuisine. Every time you return there you will find it fascinating, complex and full of surprises. Perhaps it is not the city of love as it is often said, but certainly Paris must be visited and discovered continuously over time.
Destination of countless ethnic groups, Paris has always been a kaleidoscope of cultures and of course cuisines: it is indeed possible to really eat a little bit of everything, so much so that, in my opinion, in recent years traditional French cuisine has been a bit set aside. in favor of a search for exoticism. If on the one hand there are restaurants that have made the history of the cuisine of this city (Lapérouse, Fouquet's, Le Train Bleu and Maxim's among my favorites), on the other hand they have developed over the years into real urban centers where you can enjoy a excellent Asian cuisine: first of all Rue Sainte-Anne. It is also no coincidence that Paris was for many years the most important center in Europe for otaku culture, hosting the Japan Expo (the convention on Japanese mass culture).
I am linked to Paris because many years ago I approached Asian cuisine in a serious and systematic way: here I ate for the first time in a real Japanese restaurant (my first sushi ever, by the way) in a time when there were no social networks and I photographed the dishes with a disposable film camera! For this reason, some of the photographs you will see in this compilation are of poor quality. But there is nothing to complain about the sincerity of the judgment (I assure you). Many tried restaurants have closed over time, so you will only find those I am sure are still open.
So, here the guide to Paris on where to eat Asian food and what to see.
Here my guide to Paris.
Parisian store of the legendary Japanese Lolita fashion brand Angelic Pretty. Simply adorable and unmissable if you too, like me, adored this trend from the early 2000s. The brand's main boutique is located in Harajuku district, in Tokyo.
Korean food shop in the heart of Rue Sainte-Anne where you can buy many Korean niche products (some containers and bottles are nothing short of gigantic!), from spices to ready-made sauces, tins, snacks and above all many qualities of tea and instant coffee (if you are passionate about it, this is your paradise!). There is also a small showcase dedicated to fresh food, with ready-to-use homemade garlic and condiments.
Fancy shop selling fine Japanese items, perfect for both yourself and as a gift.
Here you can find kimonos and yukata (complete with all accessories), kokeshi dolls, bento boxes equipped in both wood and lacquer, elegant items for the home (such as the beautiful boxes covered in gold leaf) and tools for the ceremony of the you.
Junkudo is a beautiful Japanese bookstore just a stone's throw from Rue Sainte-Anne. Arranged on two floors, Junkudo offers the possibility of purchasing manuals for the study of the language, novels, manga and fiction both in Japanese and translated into French, artbooks, stationery items and small souvenirs.
Whether you love to read or not, Junkudo is a fascinating destination.
Large Japanese food and spice shop opened in Paris since 1972.
If you want to find products for cooking, fresh or ready-made, and even niche products (there are in fact exclusive articles from local companies), this is definitely the right place. There is also a great selection of vegetables and mushrooms, as well as sweet snacks and sake.
They often don't have bags, so be well equipped before shopping.
This is certainly the best-stocked Korean grocery store in Rue Sainte-Anne area.
All kinds of products are on sale here (noodles, sauces, snacks, drinks, etc.), but what makes this shop really interesting is the cool part where you can buy homemade condiments to marinate or season meat and your favorite dishes, the kits with vegetables and meat already cut and cleaned for traditional dishes, doshirak and bento box and, even, the meat already cut and marinated ready for cooking! And speaking of fresh meat, there is also a butcher's department here (where in addition to beef and ribs, you will also find Wagyu meat).
Housed in a 17th-century mansion in the Marais, Ogata is an elegant Japanese space, almost a temple, which includes an art gallery, an area where you can buy household items, a boutique where you can buy tea and wagashi sweets exclusive, a tea room where you can participate in the ceremony (by reservation only) and the Michelin starred restaurant.
WHERE TO EAT
It is a French-Japanese bakery and pastry shop located in the heart of Rue Sainte-Anne.
Aki offers some of the best desserts in this style in the city at very popular prices: éclaire and matcha muffins, classic melonpan or with whipped cream and strawberries, mochi in different types, cheesecake, tiramisu, beignet with azuki, crossaint and pain au chocolat but also numerous qualities of bread.
Along the display window and outside it is possible to sit down to have something quickly, perhaps sipping hot green tea or matcha latte.
It is also possible to buy bento boxes (meat or fish) and onigiri.
A few steps from Aki Boulanger is Mochi Mochi Aki, a small space that sells a selection of products from the previous one (both sweet and savory) but exclusively in take away version.
Anyone who has been to Japan knows that eating ramen is a quick experience and that it takes place in a very often spartan environment, certainly not in an elegant or upscale restaurant. Dosanko Larmen follows exactly this type of approach: the small and noisy environment, with an open kitchen that is not exactly immaculate, will make you feel like you are in one of the many Japanese ramen-ya.
The name refers to the inhabitants of Hokkaido, which is why on the menu you will find four types of broth typical of the icy island of Japan: white miso, red miso, soy or salt and butter. Once you have decided on the base, you can also choose the quantity of noodles (the price variation is very small). Each serving is sold as a set: in addition to the steaming soup you will also have a serving of gyoza. In addition, there are also donburi on the menu.
At Dosanko Larmen you can eat at the counter or in a small room, where everyone is a bit stuck together. The price is absolutely competitive, for being in Paris. A further note of merit? The chashu is really great.
Very popular restaurant specializing in Japanese hot dishes largely revisited in a Sino-Korean key. Here you can enjoy good donburi, curry rice, ramen and noodles. Among the options available, I recommend the lunch menu, very affordable, which includes a ramen of your choice and a side.
I tried kimchi ramen (very tasty and not overly spicy), shoyu ramen (very similar to Chinese meat broth, as well as in presentation), gyoza (good and abundant) and vegetable korokke.
Kook Il Kwan
This Korean restaurant is a meeting point between traditional cuisine and modernity: it has a welcoming, young and atmospheric environment (played on shades of black) and a more or less classic menu.
Each dish is plentiful, tasty and incredibly fresh: bibimbap with beef tartare is succulent, as is the bbq bacon to be cooked on the plate directly at the table. A further note of merit goes to the abundant and varied banchans, a real delight.
I recommend this restaurant for both lunch and dinner, as a couple or in the company of friends: you will not be disappointed!
This is one of the best tried Korean restaurants in Paris.
The environment is very simple and has all the aspect of a family-run tavern. Frequented by Koreans and groups of Parisians, Guibine is the ideal place to spend a nice evening in company eating excellent traditional food. After all, the dishes on the menu invite you to share, as evidenced by the numerous bbq proposals - their workhorse. The fried jeons and mandu are also excellent.
If you are looking for a real Korean restaurant then you have found the place for you. The prices are in line with the standards of the capital.
Famous for being the first Japanese restaurant to open in Paris (on the menu you can read that it opened its doors in 1958, thus confirming itself as the oldest Japanese restaurant in Europe), Takara is especially popular for sukiyaki - whose recipe is never remained unchanged over the years.
The restaurant is characterized by a warm atmosphere (thanks to the wood and red rice paper), with the wait staff dressed in a traditional way. The menu is rather concise, after all, here we come expressly for the house dish, which is served directly to the table so that the diners can cook it themselves.
Takara's sukiyaki is good, the sauce in which it is cooked is very delicate (I expect a stronger taste) and the quantity is medium - accompany it all with a bowl of rice if you take only this course, otherwise you will probably not be satisfied with the everything.
The rest of the menu includes sushi, sashimi and some hot dishes such as grilled squid (very good and to be enjoyed perhaps as an appetizer while sipping a beer).
Compared to the other restaurants in the neighborhood, the prices here are much higher, evidently justified by the historical value of the restaurant. The service lacks several inattention - which I honestly wouldn't have expected from a venue of this caliber.
Ultimately, Takara is an elegant traditional restaurant, suitable for a romantic dinner.
In the neighborhood of Rue Sainte-Anne stands Tomo, a tea room and patisserie "Paris-Kyoto". The pastry chefs Romain Gaia and Takanori Murata have in fact merged the classic heritage of French and Japanese pastry in a sublime interpretation of these two realities. All desserts are freshly prepared with organic French products.
Although Tomo presents itself as a certain destination for dorayaki (from the most traditional to the most refined and refined), here it is possible to taste wagashi in various variations.
Among the proposals tasted I indicate the baba with Japanese whiskey (black sugar, chantilly with mascarpone and vanilla and Nikka whiskey) and the matcha daifuku (white chocolate ganache and organic green tea, azuki beans): both sublime!
As for drinking, there are obviously numerous proposals for hot or cold teas of the highest quality (such as those from Kagoshima and served in a teapot), infusions, Japanese-style filtered coffees and homemade hot chocolates - I recommend the soba one, with a toasted and slightly smoky aroma. For the matcha I indicate the quality of Uji "dans un jardin".
For an afternoon break, to relax in a welcoming and not too formal environment, Tomo is a destination not to be missed for anything in the world!
Fun fact: a recipe book of Tomo's desserts has also been published.
Historical Japanese pastry shop (one of the oldest among the traditional ones) which first appeared in the Rising Sun during the first half of the XXVI century. In Japan there are two, one in Kyoto and one in Tokyo, while the "boutique-salon de thé" in Paris opened its doors in 1980.
Toraya is an elegant space not far from the Louvre, a place where you can immerse yourself in a refined atmosphere to enjoy wagashi sweets of the highest quality and workmanship - their creation denotes an incomparable historical research and raw materials. There are also some exclusive proposals.
Traditional sweets are tied to the seasons and holidays, which is why they change continuously throughout the year. To drink, tea and infusions of great value.
For matcha lovers this place, located in République area, is an essential destination! The environment is relaxing, young and cozy, characterized by neutral colors, and the menu is obviously all focused on matcha tea, both to drink (classic, latte version, frappè, affogato and many other proposals, hot or cold) and as a sweet accompaniment (cookies, ice cream, cakes, mochi).
In addition, it is possible to have breakfast or a quick lunch here. There is no shortage of coffees, hot or cold teas, juices and centrifuges.
Next to the room there is an area dedicated to the sale of high quality products for cooking, such as soy sauce, miso, drinks, condiments and sauces.
Small Japanese restaurant on two floors in the heart of Rue Sainte-Anne of the Kintaro group - which includes many other restaurants in the area, some of which are mentioned in this article.
The environment is minimal and refined, a perfect place for a quality raw fish meal: among the tested sets, chirashi sushi (tasty and fresh) and mixed sushi (consisting of nigiri and maki).
If you want to take a lunch break eating something traditional without weighing yourself down too much, and without even spending big bucks, You is perfect. It is usually very crowded, so if you want to have your meal at the counter in front of the sushi chefs then make a reservation.
In addition to the aforementioned realities and restaurants, in Paris there are several shops expressly devoted to otaku and which therefore sell action figures, gachapon and many other items dedicated to anime, manga, comics, films and TV series.