Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
Champon is undoubtedly one of the most famous things to come out of Nagasaki.
There are innumerable champon shops across the city, but I’d like to introduce one to you that I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl.
It’s called Suzuya in the former Chinese Settlement near Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown. People in the know go to Suzuya for their champon
Now, it’s not a Chinese food restaurant. Around Nagasaki, a champon-ya is synonymous with a local cafeteria. Actually, from long ago and up to my parents’ generation, there were so many champon shops around that the people of Nagasaki simply called local cafeterias “champon-ya”.
Not only does Suzuya have delicious champon, but the location is also excellent!
When people think of where foreigners lived in Nagasaki during the period of national isolation, most people think “Dejima”. The former Chinese settlement was essentially the Chinese version of Dejima.
During the Edo period, the Chinese were forced to live all in the same place, despite being able to live wherever they liked up until then.
There are four unique temples and the remains of an old-style market that brings to mind images of times past. The whole area exudes a nostalgic feeling and has a unique charm.
To introduce the former Chinese settlement, let’s head straight through the main gate that was reproduced on entrance to the area!
As you go up this road with a retro-style market, a Chinese temple comes into view.
Dojin-do (Hall of the Earth God)
Beyond the gate and bridge, the gods of agriculture and commerce are worshipped inside this beautiful hall with Chinese circular windows. This is the first temple constructed in the Chinese settlement, and the dances that would become the Dragon Dance in the Edo Period have their roots here ☆
Let’s go up the charming stairs to the right of the hall. On the right is a public bath house, on the left is the roof of the hall.
Go up a few flights of stairs and turn right at the first corner. Our destination, Suzuya, comes into view on the corner after crossing a bridge on the border of Kannai-machi and Junin-machi. (By the way, that bridge spans the remains of the moat of the Chinese settlement)
The big navy-blue sign curtain marks the spot. The interior is designed just as you would imagine an iconic Showa Period eatery to look like. (Due to the high number of patrons having their lunch, we omitted taking pictures of the interior)
Champon (700 yen)
The bright shredded egg topping makes for an eye-catching visual. The clear soup is delicious! It’s just a bit sweet, with a light mouth-feel. Use your Chinese spoon to get in there! …Oops! I nearly drank all my soup before getting to the big ingredients (lol).
Those main ingredients include pork that’s full of sweetness and umami, and crisp green onions. There’s also Nagasaki’s pink kamaboko (boiled fish paste), and the shredded egg which is quite uncommon.
These thick noodles really make it into the traditional champon I grew up with!!
All these ingredients tangle up together to produce that sweet, delicious, and nostalgic flavor of champon, am I right?
I drank the soup down to the last drop… Gochisousama deshita!!
Sara udon (700 yen)
This looks like too much for one person!! The sweet, thick sauce looks like it’s going to overflow off the plate!! I have to restrain myself in the face of such a delicious meal to eat it without spilling.
The crispy noodles are so thin and light! They aren’t oily in the least despite being fried. The noodles stay crunchy and melt in your mouth along with the sauce.
By the way, in addition to champon and sara udon, Suzuya also has makizushi, inarizushi, and other delicious dishes ♪
Oh! There was also something on the menu called “chan udon” that I want to try the next time I’m there.
Lunch is their specialty. They close at 7pm, so if you’d like to get dinner you’ll need to go early. They are closed on Sundays and holidays.
These cats live a lazy life in the former Chinese settlement’s streets too small for a car to go down. In the early afternoon, this grey kitty showed me a big yawn. They say that bent-tail cats, colloquially called o-magari neko, are quite common around Nagasaki. One explanation for their prevalence is that they came in on trading ships from south-east Asia and propagated across the city ☆ Such a fitting story for the international trading port city that is Nagasaki.
Address: 10-15 Junin-machi
Hours: 10am – 7pm. Closed Sundays and Holidays
No parking available