Nothing is as distinctly Nagoyan and at the same time foreign as Misen. A restaurant serving Taiwanese and Chinese food in Nagoya. If you are craving something different and maybe even a little bit spicy it is time to visit this Nagoya staple restaurant.
Misen (味仙) started its road to success in Nagoya in 1960 as a restaurant serving Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine. They started with just one restaurant very close to Imaike Station but due to their success they can be found all over the city now.
Even though they serve Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine, Misen is very much a staple of Nagoya, and every local knows the popular restaurant.
Atmosphere at Misen Nagoya
Misen Nagoya is a no-frills place. Perfect for a quick bite after work. Alone or with your co-workers. On weekends it is a popular place to go with your family, and even couples visit this casual restaurant. On my last visit I was surprised to see many tables with groups of girls.
The original store at Imaike station is a multi-story building with a red sign over the front door, and a gigantic one at the top of the building. The kitchen is behind a counter where the staff is busy preparing meals and drinks. All the space on the first two floors in the restaurant is occupied by simple tables and chairs, to seat as many people as possible.
The interior is very simple. It feels neither very Chinese nor very Japanese. Just a simple wooden interior. I guess this lets you concentrate on the food without distraction.
If you arrive at peak times expect there to be a line in front of the shop. But don’t worry it probably won’t take long until you get a seat. Misen is the kind of place where the turnaround is fast, and everyone leaves full and satisfied.
Service at Misen
Service at Misen is quick. Their whole strategy is based on satisfying customers as fast as possible. Once you are seated you will be asked to order drinks right away, which will arrive so quickly it will feel like only seconds.
The same goes for food. You order some dishes, they will arrive right away. So fast in fact that you will think they have them readily prepared. But still, they are freshly made and hot.
Once you finish a plate or a drink a server will appear out of nowhere to take your next order. This cycle repeats until you are satisfied, full, and happy.
Dishes at Misen in Nagoya
Misen serves a range of Taiwanese and Chinese inspired dishes. The items are designed to be shared between all members of the party and so the servings are just big enough so you can try many different dishes.
Here are some of the must-try dishes at Misen. I put together this list from my own experience, and from seeing what the tables around me ordered.
Some people come to Misen just for the Taiwan Ramen. It is their staple dish. And even though the word Taiwan is in the name, these Ramen were borne in Nagoya, invented by Misen.
These Nagoya style Ramen were created by the chef at Misen in an attempt to find a simple dish for the staff. He used the shop’s own noodles and combined them with a spicy clear broth made from chicken stock and soy sauce with lots of chili and garlic. Topped with simple ingredients such as leek and minced pork.
The dish was so good and popular that it made it on the standard menu, and today it is the main reason people know about Misen. In fact Taiwan Ramen is so popular in Nagoya, that most other Taiwanese and Chinese restaurants have adopted the dish. It is a true Nagoya Meshi.
Chicken wings, called Tebasaki in Japanese, are a very popular dish in Nagoya. You can find them not only deep-fried at Izakaya such as Furaibo and Sekai no Yamachan, Tebasaki are also served cooked and juicy.
At Misen you will get dark brown chicken wings cooked for a long time in a spicy sauce. The meat is so soft it almost falls off the bone, and the spiciness is just right to give the dish a kick.
Even though Misen is not famous for Tebasaki, it is definitely a must-try.
Other Menu Items
Other dishes I enjoyed immensely and other guests around me seemed to as well are as follows:
- Gyoza: fried dumplings, smaller than usual but very crispy on the outside
- Stir-fried green vegetables: made with lots of garlic
- Taiwan Chimaki: a rice dumpling cooked wrapped in a bamboo leave
If you want to you can also order a whole Peking Duck, but since it is quite expensive, and probably a lot of food I have never seen anyone eat one.
For dessert try the Annin Tofu, it’s a generous portion and very deliciously sweet.
Locations of Misen
There are 11 locations of Misen in Nagoya. You can find them all on the map below. Some of the most popular is the shop in Yabacho, as well as the convenient shop at Nagoya Station. But the original is the one at Imaike Station.
Final Thoughts on Misen Nagoya
If you like spicy food and craves something different to eat you cannot go wrong with Misen in Nagoya. Its reasonably priced, flavorful, the service is quick and, of course, the food is delicious.
It is also a true Nagoya staple, and exactly what the Nagoya locals like to eat.
If you really want to dive deep into the Nagoya cuisine I recommend booking a Nagoya Food Tour with me. I have regular tours daily from 2:30 p.m. where we try 7-8 dishes at restaurants and other eateries in Sakae district. You can also book a customizable private tour with me.
Check out your options here, and book a tour in Nagoya today. It is the best way to explore Nagoya.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.