I wasn't keen about another meal of bad Chinese, but gave in as he seemed so excited. My apprehension deepened when we got to the neighbourhood and parked in a game center - walking between rows of pachinko machines to get back out to the street. I was about ready to turn around and leave when we walked into the restaurant. It was full of older drunk men - the restaurant featured course menus and all-you-can drink sets.
When we walked in a middle-aged woman bustled up to us and then dashed to the back of the restaurant and began clearing off a table in a frenzy. Given the half-drunk glasses of pop and piles of pokemon cards I guessed it was normally where the woman's son sat while his parents worked (a glimpse into the kitchen proved there was a single middle-aged man hard at work).
We ordered our usual - mapo tofu, boiled dumplings, and chicken with cashew nuts. The mapo tofu came out first - in a bowl that would have looked at home in a kitchen just about anywhere. And the contents? Tasted Luke a home cooked meal too. A GOOD home cooked meal. I took one bite and looked at U with a big grin. It was good. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just good (non-Japanese-ized) Chinese food. The chicken with cashews was similarly good, and the dumplings had a meaty skin that screamed hand-made.
Definitely not the place to have a fancy meal, and MILES away from the uber fancy hotel top Chinese restaurants so common here, but finally we had food somewhere for a good Chinese meal.
All of the groups of drunken men had staggered off by the time we finished and the son had reappeared and looked rather annoyed to find his piles of pokemon cards disturbed. The waitress gave us a big smile when she came to gather our plates, however, and I thanked her for such a delicious meal, commenting that we had been having trouble finding good Chinese. She positively beamed at me, and called through to her husband in the kitchen, relaying my comment in rapid-fire Chinese. He poked his head out through the curtain and nodded at me with a smile.
We went back to the game centre and U beat me in a game of table hockey before we, and our very satisfied tummies, headed home.