Fukuyama Nights: Samurai Sandwiches
Written by: Elliott Yoo
Sometimes you want to get fancy. You want to dress up, have a glass of Chardonnay, and enjoy the finest dining the city has to offer. And other times, you just want to drink a beer, eat toasted sandwiches, and watch samurai movies with a guy nicknamed Donkey Kong. This is for the latter of times. I recently ventured out and discovered a small shop called “Samurai Delicatessen” and it has proven to be the perfect place for a quick meal and a few beers. Samurai Delicatessen is a great stop with friends; whether you go in the evening or past midnight, you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with the friendly atmosphere and tasty sandwiches.
Samurai Delicatessen is located at 720-0812霞町1-6-15 which is just northeast of the library in Fukuyama. The shop is usually open Monday through Saturday from 7 pm – 4 am. “Usually” is the keyword here, as the owner plays in a band and sometimes has shows to perform for, thus closing shop while away. The owner’s nickname is Donkey Kong and he is a big friendly guy with a grasp of English. His grammar may not be correct all the time, but he gets the point across, so the shop is quite English friendly. The menu is mostly in katakana, but you can always ask Donkey Kong for a recommendation or even a custom made sandwich. Samurai Delicatessen is very small; there are only 10 seats and it is all counter space. The shop’s name comes from a John Belushi skit from SNL and the place itself is decorated with all sorts of samurai and ninja gear. The shop has quite a bit of personality, making it full of noise and life.
The drink menu is relatively sparse; 2 types of beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and a little bit of wine is what you will find. Prices are decent, with Guinness going for 700 yen and Heineken for 600 yen. The real draw is the sandwiches and Donkey Kong has many options to choose from. The most popular items are the homemade corned beef sandwich for men, and the fried avocado sandwich for women. My personal recommendations are the diablo chicken and patty melt; both sandwiches are juicy and full of flavor. Because it follows the Japanese definition of spicy, the diablo chicken honestly is not too hot or difficult to eat. Samurai Delicatessen also offers an infamous sandwich, the GSD. Standing for Garlic Spam Death, the GSD is a spam sandwich that uses Blair’s death sauce. This death sauce is the same one featured by Boogie Buns, so the GSD is quite spicy, but not unbearable. That said, Donkey Kong may have you sign a contract, stating that you will not complain about the sandwich if you cannot finish it. It’s definitely worth a try, but perhaps you should wait until winter when you can warm up from the bitter cold with a flaming hot sandwich. Half size sandwiches will cost 700 yen while full size are 1100 yen.
Samurai Delicatessen’s largest problems come from the fact that it is a one-man operation. Seating is restricted to less than a dozen at a counter, and sometimes certain sandwiches are unavailable as a stock of ingredients may have already been used up. My biggest complaint would be the lack of side dishes, especially French fries. Fries would be the perfect complement with these sandwiches, and it really leaves a lacking feeling when you have nothing salty and crispy to snack on. Nevertheless, the full size sandwiches are pretty substantial, making it perfect for dinner or a late night snack/side sandwich. I highly recommend a visit to Samurai Delicatessen with a friend or two. Donkey Kong will be sure to make your visit a fun one, and his sandwiches are the best in the city (in my opinion thus far).