At this unique restaurant, dinner is just the turn of a can opener away!
Remember back in your younger years when you were so busy living life that you left the thought of cooking food to the kindly neighbour who took pity on you? If it wasn’t frozen or in a can, it wasn’t in your kitchen. Well, at this peculiarly themed restaurant, you can go back in time to when the only kitchen utensil you needed was a trusty can opener. Established in 2002, Mr. Kanso puts the spotlight on canned food, so pick up your tiniest fork and get ready to dig in!
Omelette in a can Mr. Kanso’s original dashimaki—rolled omelette made with broth.
Born out of the notion that not all humans are made equal in terms of kitchen know-how, Mr. Kanso was created by a non-chef who wanted to own a restaurant. A complete lack of culinary skills was no deterrent when it was realized that canned food could provide an equally tasty option. Plus, canned goods are precooked, so why sweat over a hot stove all day when you can work your biceps with a few turns of a can? And with over 1,000 kinds of canned goods produced in Japan alone, the recipe options are seemingly endless. Have I made a strong enough case for Mr. Kanso and its delightfully quirky theme yet? I’d say so!
At this point, you may be wondering, “What could possibly be on the menu?” Well, forget about alphabet noodles in a can, because this is a whole other ball game. From dashimaki, a rolled omelette, to the deliciously doughy takoyaki, a ball-shaped snack commonly filled with diced octopus, the menu at Mr. Kanso covers all the bases. Beef patties, boiled miso chicken skin and yakitori, or chicken skewers, are just a few of the other options available to diners. On the go? Feel free to order takeout from Mr. Kanso. It’s a lot easier to store canned dashimaki in your luggage than it is in its non-canned form!
Mabo tofu: Spicy Sìchuan goodness (above)
World’s first canned takoyaki! (bottom)
Keeping with the theme, you can expect to wash down your meal with something from a can, of course. Japan is well known for its variety of canned beverages (both cold and hot), and now you can enjoy those same beverages while dining in this intriguing restaurant. For the more mature traveller, Mr. Kanso also offers an extensive can-free drink menu. From a selection of whisky to Japan’s well-known liquor, shochu, the selection is sizable and the prices are reasonable.
In terms of atmosphere and décor, Mr. Kanso is a casual hangout with modern industrial features. With canned goods at the forefront, it’s only natural to see the walls lined with the franchise’s popular offerings—and with new products introduced on a regular basis, the wall art doesn’t stay static for long. Furniture pieces such as industrial-sized cans—okay, barrels—reinforce the theme while providing a useful place to take a break from the day.
With a number of locations throughout Japan and a flagship store in Osaka, Mr. Kanso is never far when you’re looking for a place to sit down with friends and chat over a cold can of beer while chomping on your tinned salad—and you can kampai (or “cheers!”) with multiple cans. So, if you’re looking for a unique restaurant experi- ence coupled with shelves stocked with enough canned goods to keep a bomb shelter running for years, Mr. Kanso is it. If you’re a traveller looking to add to your list of quirky Japanese experiences, you’ll find that here, too!
Who needs dishes, anyway?
- Mr. Kanso has a diverse clientele, but has recently seen an increase in female diners and shoppers
- Not a chef? Not a problem! Japanese canned goods are known for their tastiness, so simply pop the lid and enjoy
- You could easily impress an unknowing friend with your take on (canned … but shhh!) miso mackerel
- Canned food has been used in Japan for over 140 years
- Craving some canned tuna? Speed up your search. Look for “sea chicken” on the label instead!
Corporate shops and franchises are opening across Japan. The original location is in Osaka, and there are now 10 Mr. Kanso restaurants around the Tokyo area, with locations in Kanda, Asakura, Tamachi, Monzen-Nakamachi, Otyanomizu, Ueno-Okachimati, Nerima, Nakano, Kameido and Tamachi.
www.cleanbrothers.net/kanso.html (Japanese language only)
Open hours vary depending on the location.