Yayoi is a chain of cheap Japanese restaurants with locations all over Bangkok, Thailand. Owned by the same company that runs MK Restaurants, Yayoi is know for “hot and quick” Japanese food that’s as close to ‘fast food’ as you can get. Except it isn’t. The quality and price is so superior to any fast food I’ve ever eaten, I don’t know why you’d eat anywhere else.
What is Yayoi – The Yayoi chain of Japanese restaurants has locations all over Bangkok, Thailand. Set up like any typical Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, the selling point for Yayoi is their food arrives quickly and hot, their menu is massive and, oh yes, it’s dirt cheap.
Atmosphere at Yayoi – What I love about eating at Yayoi is, even though it’s an extremely inexpensive Japanese restaurant and so crowded all the time, they still manage to keep quite an upscale atmosphere in all their restaurants. Their staff is smiling and friendly, booths are comfortable and the lighting says more ‘upscale’ than ‘dirt cheap and fast’. So, even though you’re in the McDonald’s of Japanese restaurants, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
Food at Yayoi – The problem with the food at Yayoi is the menu is so darned big it’s almost impossible to choose. I always start off by looking at the displays of fake plastic Japanese food in their main window, so I can try to get an idea before I sit down and get the menu. Does that work? Of course not. It still takes me twenty minutes to decide because really “I want that, that, that, that, oooh and I want that”.
The menu at Yayoi has just about every Japanese food you’ve ever heard of. Start with appetizers- prawn, fish and vegetable tempura, grilled wontons, grilled octopus balls, Japanese style pizza and on and on.
Once you’ve decided on an appetizer, then the real work begins. You’ve a choice of either individual dishes or you can order a ‘set’ – which is a number of dishes all served together for a set price. These, in my opinion, are the best deal as you get a huge amount of food for hardly anything.
For individual dishes, there’s various bowls of noodles, or rice dishes topped with pork, chicken, egg, curry, omelette, grilled beef and a whole lot more.
Sets are so numerous, this takes a good ten minutes of my time with sets like a grilled mackerel set, hamburger steak set, marinated chicken set, fried pork cutlet set, roasted beef on a hot plate and on and on. A typical set comes with a main dish (eg: a large portion of marinated chicken served on a bed of rice), a Japanese side salad, a bowl of miso soup, some fresh fruit and usually some kind of pickled Japanese dish. For all this food, you’ll pay anything between 89-189 baht ($2.90-$6.10) and it’s enough food for two people – although, of course, I manage to eat it myself.
Price-wise, you cannot beat eating at Yayoi. A large bowl of noodles topped with pork, chicken, beef or duck begins at 95 baht ($3.10). Sets average around $3.50 for four dishes and don’t forget dessert – green tea ice cream with red bean topping for $1.10 (35 baht), flaked ice with red bean jam for $1 (30 baht) or how about a scoop of mocha ice cream? – 66 cents (20 baht).
Yayoi is a wonderful place to eat a cheap meal, particularly if there’s a few of you. The food is excellent, the service superb, atmosphere nice and there’s no way you can beat the price.
You’ll find Yayoi in Bangkok at Chamchuree Square, Future Park Rangsit, Major Ratchayothin, MBK, Big C Ratchadamri, Central World and more. Check their website (see link below) for all their locations and menus.