3 based on 11 reviews
This review is really about any Bamiyan anywhere in Japan, not just the one in Ogawa-machi, Saitama. The offerings of this nationwide chain of "pseudo-Chinese" cuisine are: reasonably priced, predictable, delicious. Oh, and did I mention "ubiquitous"? Like MacDonald's elsewhere, there's a Bamiyan in virtually every town and city in Japan. The menu is standardized, with seasonal changes, and the picture menus now have short English summaries of each dish. Bamiyan specialties are large bowls of a hearty noodle soup with lots of broth. There are various kinds of this "ramen," with different broths or garnishes. My personal favorite is "Tan Tan Men," which comes in regular or spicy flavors. The garnish is a scoop of browned ground beef and a bit of cooked spinach for color. The broth is a rich sesame-flavored orange-colored concoction that delights from the first bite to the last. The noodles are slightly al dente when the dish is served, as they continue to cook in the hot broth. Whatever kind of noodles you order, you can enhance them with various reasonably-priced "set menu" additions such as the "half-size fried rice and potsticker dumplings." Those dumplings are another famous staple of the Bamiyan menu. They're called "gyoza" (ghee-oh-zah), and they're not to be missed. These two-bite-sized, crescent-shaped morsels come in two varieties, boiled and pan-grilled. The latter is by far the most popular and best (in my opinion). The only snag is that you need to make your own dipping sauce using ingredients supplied at every table. They are: soy sauce, vinegar and Chinese hot oil. The first two are in bottles and the Chinese oil is in little foil packets -- usually one packet will do, along with a splash of the vinegar and soy sauce. Bowls for mixing the sauce are already at the table, as are chopsticks. If you require a spoon and/or fork, you can ask or fetch your own from a table located somewhere nearby. Unfortunately they're child-sized, but at least there are some. Another good value offered at every Bamiyan restaurant is the "Drink Bar," an all-you-can drink, serve-yourself operation. Most items you order include the all-you-can-drink option. This includes coffee, pots of tea, soft drinks, iced tea and coffee, but NOT the soup. Only certain items on the menu include the soup, though I've never understood why, considering that they make vats of it every day. If you want just the main dish you've selected, just order it "tanpin" (tah-n-peen) meaning "all by itself with no extras or drinks included." We love the Peking duck, though it's certainly not the authentic item served in "real" Chinese restaurants. This is another assemble-it-yourself dish that features five soft wrappers and julienned cucumber and leeks, with a sweet brown sauce you smear on the wrapper first. That's all enhanced by one of the five pieces of duck -- one for each wrapper. It's not the crispy skin that you'd expect for Peking Duck, but it's delicious and reasonably-priced nonetheless. Bamiyan is easily recognizable by the pink peach logo and the restaurant's name written in Westen alphabet. The bill will be surprisingly cheap, considering that you can drink as much as you like and linger as long as you look me when they're not super-busy. We love Bamiyan and all of our visiting guests have, too. You won't be disappointed and even the pickiest eater will find something to like.
It is a restaurant of Japanese food and Chinese food.
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