Eating Japanese at Crepe Sayu in Old Havana

Japanese flag outside Crepe Sayu

Japanese flag outside Crepe Sayu

Crepe Sayu is a small restaurant on the corner of Obrapía and Aguacate streets in Old Havana (Habana Vieja) run by Japanese journalist Sayuri Yoshida. Prior to visiting Cuba I read Sayuri’s fascinating story and looked forward to visiting Crepe Sayu. Having lived in Japan Rocío was also keen.

Miso soup and main course at Crepe Sayu

Miso soup and a main course at Crepe Sayu

Crepe Sayu has delicious, good-value Japanese food including rice dishes with pork, chicken and seafood, sushi, savoury and sweet crepes and miso soup. Drinks include green tea, lemonade and mojitos.

Mojitos and banana and guava crepes

Mojitos and banana and guava paste crepes

The restaurant became our go-to place for lunch and we ate there at least seven times during our Havana visits. The shared tables encouraged conversations between guests. Here we met Minami, a Japanese tourist who surveyed the ruined Campoamor Theatre with us. One time in Havana there were four of us and Rocío spoke Japanese to Minami, English to me and Spanish to the other, all in the same conversation – impressive!

Savoury crepes

Savoury crepes

Rocío and Sayuri swapped gifts with Rocío giving a gift bought at the Peruvian Japanese Cultural Centre in Lima.

Lemonade, green tea and a meal with kimchi

Lemonade, green tea and a main course

Given the ingredient scarcity in Cuba, an authentic Japanese eatery is impossible but Sayuri has done a great job with what’s available.

Kimchi and Chopsticks at Crepe Sayu

Kimuchi (Japanese kimchi) and chopsticks at Crepe Sayu

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