There seems to be something about the yakuza that appeals to the people of Thailand. First, we witnessed a brand of possibly yakuza themed tea: Chakuza. Now we are presented with Yakuzaaa Man Man Japanese Kitchen, which seems to be a hit with local youths and foreigners. You might be thinking from the name that it’s a gay restaurant, but it’s not.
At least I’m pretty sure it’s not…
Although this restaurant has been open for only half a year, the concept was created by an experienced restaurateur. The “Man Man” in the name refers to the all-male staff dressed in hakamas which were intended to make the waiters look more “gangsta” but are really a type of formal wear in Japan more akin to a tuxedo and top hat.
The restaurant itself is decked out in Japanese style, equipped with a sushi bar and karaoke room that holds 15. The manager of the shop is a hit with locals as he sits outside greeting potential customers with his two cute pet dogs.
The menu looks like a nice collection of Japanese themed foods:
Yakuza Butadon (w/ Miso Soup) – 110 baht (US$3.50)
pork stewed in wine on rice
Green Caterpillar Avocado – 200 baht (US$6.30)
salmon and avocado sushi roll
Rainbow Sushi Roll – 200 baht
salmon, tuna, squid, avocado sushi roll
Tonkatsu Sauce Roll – 200 baht
tuna, salom, asparagus, cucumber sushi roll served with tonkatsu sauce
The head chef boasts that all the ingredients are imported from Japan and maintain the country’s quality of cooking. He also recommends the window seats to futsal fans who can watch games on the grounds next door.
The lingering question is why yakuza? Sure, the organization is famous worldwide through movies and some real life activities, but it’s hard to draw a parallel with Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is beautifully decorated but hardly threatening as the manager holds a baseball bat in one hand and a fluffy puppy in the other.
In our Chakuza article a helpful reader pointed out some word play with variations of the word “yakuza” in the Thai language which may have something to do with this (note the extended A in Yakuzaaa). This could have something to do with it.
Or maybe people in Thailand just like Japan’s criminal organizations.
Source: Bangkok Keizai Shimbun (Japanese)
Pictures & Restaurant Website: www.yakuzaaa.com (currently under development, some parts may not work yet)
▼Another example of Thailand’s interest in the Yakuza