On April 9, 1998, The Japan Times launched a new restaurant review column, introducing Hong Kong Garden, an unlikely, 1,000-seater gastrodome in Tokyo’s Nishiazabu neighborhood. That restaurant is now confined to history, but the writer, Robbie Swinnerton, and his column, Tokyo Food File, show no sign of letting up. To mark the column’s 20th anniversary, Swinnerton looks back at Tokyo’s restaurant scene and how it has developed over that time.

How does it feel reaching two decades of Tokyo Food File? I’m pretty stoked to have made it to 20 years. … It’s just a number of course, but I’m also coming up on 40 years in Japan, and that’s going to be another huge milestone.

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