In the heart of the lively Roppongi entertainment district, gourmets and patrons of the arts will find an earthly paradise: Tokyo Midtown. The mixed-use urban development is home to restaurants helmed by renowned chefs and galleries and museums hosting outstanding exhibitions. The development also presents unique and exciting events throughout the year. Join us as we explore the gastronomic and entertainment center sure to tantalize your taste buds and tickle your fancy.

Devoted to Cantonese Cuisine: Chef ZhuXing Tang of Silin Fuan Long Yuen

Chef ZhuXing Tang’s expertise and passion for Cantonese cuisine are on fine display at Silin Fuan Long Yuen, located on the second floor of the Garden Terrace. Tang, born and raised in Yokohama Chinatown, credits his family and the Cantonese community that calls the area home with instilling in him a love of cooking. 

After graduating from high school, Tang pursued his passion, entering into an apprenticeship under Chef Fude Zhou of Ryori no Tetsujin (Iron Chef) fame. Working with Zhou, better known to the Japanese public as Tomitoku Shu, allowed Tang to learn from the renowned chef’s philosophy: work meticulously, work earnestly, put your heart into each dish.

Aside from spices Tang imports from Hong Kong, ingredients are sourced from every corner of Japan. Tang stresses that this practice is essential. The restaurant’s Chinese noodles are from Fukushima Prefecture, while the pesticide-free vegetables are from Yamanashi Prefecture. Tang also places a strong emphasis on seafood, sourcing the restaurant’s clams and shellfish from Hokkaido.

In Tang’s capable hands, this combination of ingredients from Hong Kong and Japan transforms into exquisite Cantonese dishes that while made in an orthodox manner are contemporary in their presentation and refinement.

During our visit, we are lucky to have the chance to sample Tang’s cooking in the form of a fragrant stir-fry of scallops and green onions. The most popular item on the menu according to Tang, however, is a Fude Zhou original recipe that Tang learned during his years working under the Iron Chef: ebi mayo, or shrimp with mayonnaise.

We ask Tang about his plans for Silin Fuan Long Yuen. Rather than sharing grand plans for his restaurant, the chef expresses his desire to see his pupils continue the legacy of Cantonese cooking in Japan. “I’ve been in the industry for 30 or so years now, and it’s been 20 years since I opened my first restaurant,” Tang says. “I now have apprentices of my own who have graduated from here and have opened their own restaurants all over Japan. I hope to one day travel this country to visit each and every one of their restaurants, to dine at their facilities as I watch them grow into their own.”

Through Tang, his restaurants and former pupils, the legacy of Cantonese cooking in Japan, as well as that of the Iron Chef, lives on.

A Taste of New York City: Chef Takayuki Masuda of Union Square Tokyo

Award-winning chef Takayuki Masuda has been executive chef of Union Square Tokyo since April 2023. The restaurant, which serves Americanized Italian cuisine on the B1 level of Tokyo Midtown’s Garden Terrace, has roots in New York.

Masuda, who mastered Union Square Tokyo’s dishes soon after arriving, aims to offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience. One of the ways he achieves this is by serving specialties like house-cured and smoked Japanese Shorthorn wagyu steak cooked with Japanese cherry wood.

The restaurant’s seasonal menu strikes a balance between recreating New York dishes and introducing new creations. Masuda’s emphasis on chisan-chisho (local production, local consumption) guides staff to source ingredients locally whenever possible. This commitment to quality is evident in the popularity of their vegetable-heavy offerings, particularly the chef’s salad. 

Union Square Tokyo places a strong emphasis on warm hospitality, and Masuda highlights the team’s dedication, from the prepared meals to the live jazz performances. “I would like customers to feel as though they’re being welcomed back home whenever they enter this restaurant,” he says. 

Indeed, the chef has found as much success creating that welcoming atmosphere as he has adapting his extensive skills to Americanized Italian cuisine. On our visit, with faint jazz music playing in the background and the aroma of smoked steak wafting in from the kitchen, we feel truly at home, as will anyone feeling nostalgic for New York. 

A Contemporary Take on Tempura: Chef Masanori Teraoka of Tempura Yamanoue Roppongi

Chef Masanori Teraoka has a tall order. In charge of Tempura Yamanoue’s Roppongi branch on the third floor of the Garden Terrace, Teraoka has been tasked with finding a way to freshen the restaurant’s namesake dish.

“Tempura is difficult to make exciting and new as it has a set-in-stone cooking method,” Teraoka tells us. “If we try something radically different, we will be losing what made Tempura Yamanoue so beloved over the years; if we don’t do anything new, we will be considered unexciting and old-fashioned.”

But Teraoka is nothing if not resourceful. Leaving the kitchen for farm country, Teraoka teamed up with farmers to cultivate vegetables perfect for tempura. For example, maitake mushrooms are harvested before they reach their prime, while green beans are grown to be extra thin.

This contemporary twist on tempura artisanry is just another example of Tempura Yamanoue’s dedication to the popular Japanese dish. The restaurant’s main branch, which celebrates its 70th anniversary next year, opened alongside the Hilltop Hotel — the first hotel in Tokyo to serve tempura as its main course. 

In addition to the toothsome tempura on offer, the restaurant’s Roppongi branch features a sommelier charged with finding the perfect wine or sake pairing and counter seating for views of the master chef working his magic. Though currently closed for renovations, Tempura Yamanoue Roppongi will be welcoming all those keen to dine on top-notch tempura from August 11, 2023.