Kousei Togei, chef and owner of Asai Togei, comes from Yonaguni Island, one of Japan’s most far-flung outposts. On a clear day, the mountainous coast of Taiwan is visible from this Okinawan island. Togei has the laid-back disposition of someone who grew up in eternal sunshine. He left Yonaguni for Osaka after graduating from high school, but his connection to the island endures: decorative textiles made using an Okinawan weaving technique known as hana-ori are on display in the restaurant and Togei, like many other transplants, flavors his food with condiments from his homeland.

Asai Togei is located just off the shopping arcade and tourist mecca that runs through Shinsaibashi. For the most part, Togei’s neighboring businesses are male host clubs and posters of young men with ridiculous hairstyles cover the surrounding walls. Asai Togei is a welcome retreat from the maddening crowd (and coiffures).

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