Tomoya Japanese Restaurant 友居酒屋

My latest coupon adventure was at Tomoya near Metrotown. There was free parking in the parkade next door. The store was small and intimate, but the seating was comfortable enough. Although Tomoya is a Japanese restaurant, typical Chinese cuisine is also served.

The $7.99 coupon includes 9 meat skewers, a drink and a Chinese bun called jiamo. The chef who handles the BBQ comes in at 7 pm every night and works until midnight for the late night crowd. Since we were a bit early, we were encouraged to sit and enjoy our drinks while waiting. We got to choose from 7UP, Orange Crush and Pepsi. I normally don't enjoy pop, but it went so well with the meat.

We figured we might as well get something to munch on while we waited. After reading Kirby's post, I was determined to try the black sun ($8.99). The presentation was nice with squiggles of teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo strewn across the plate. But oddly enough, it looked quite different from Kirby's picture. She got way more sauce, and she got regular mayo instead of teriyaki sauce. The black sun itself was a raw quail egg and a generous layer of black tobiko spread on top of a medley of salmon, tuna and scallop sashimi marinated in mayo and tobiko. The combination seemed really exciting and I had expected an explosion of intense flavour, but in reality the taste was rather mild and even slightly bland. I felt like the dish hadn't reached its full potential, like there was something missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on it though. In any case, it was still very enjoyable and I would recommend giving it a try.

The black sun actually took forever to come because one of the waitresses forgot to put in the order. The other waitress brought us free miso soup to make up for the mistake, but I think everyone gets free miso soup according to other reviews I've read. The gesture was still much appreciated as it rarely happens in Chinese-operated restaurants. I shouldn't really complain about free food, but the soup was very bland and watery. Luckily we didn't have to pay for it.

The meat skewers came shortly after 7 pm. We had expected very small skewers, so we were a bit surprised to see so much meat.

We were even more surprised when the waitress came by and slapped more meat onto our plate. I have to say, 27 skewers of meat is no joke. The 3 types of meat were lamb, pork and chicken knees. The lamb and chicken knees were dry-rubbed, so they had a salty peppery flavour. The lamb in particular was rather spicy with lots of chili powder. I personally enjoyed the pork the most because it was doused in a thick and savoury sauce. The dry meats were more difficult to swallow without the help of fizzy pop.

After finishing the skewers, we didn't think we'd be able to eat the roujiamo (肉夾饃). Roujiamo is usually called the Chinese hamburger and is literally translated as meat-stuffed bun. This type of bun is a signature snack from Xi'an, the capital city of the Shaanxi province in China. The filling differs depending on the chef, but the authentic version consists of pork slow stewed in a special soup loaded with over 20 spices. This version was made up of both fat and lean pork, along with gelatinous chunks of pig skin and chopped green pepper. I don't think the meat was slow stewed in a soup with over 20 spices though, because it wasn't really that flavourful. The bun was a bit bland as well, but that's how it's supposed to be. I liked the soft and dense texture with a slight bounce.

Despite the slightly forgetful waitress, I was satisfied with the service I received with Chinese standards in mind. Don't expect warm and friendly smiles and bend-over-backwards accommodation. Just be happy that tea is refilled promptly and orders are taken care of. I'll consider coming back if I'm in the area.

Tomoya Japanese Restaurant 友居酒屋 on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh your black sun looks considerably different than the one I had! It sucks cause the regular and wasabi mayo is what makes the dish and provides the flavor! And you got so little of the mayo too :( the teriyaki sauce is weird... I can't see that tasting good with the salmon, tuna, and scallop sashimi.

  2. @Kirby: I'm not even sure if it was teriyaki sauce. It was actually not bad, but there wasn't enough sauce!! So basically the dish was just mixed sashimi with tobiko. That's why I said it was a bit bland.


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