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Lunch House Turtle near Yokota shines with tasty, wallet-friendly options

The $5 gyoza bento from Lunch House Turtle, a takeout eatery near Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, includes five deep-fried pot stickers, sliced fried chicken breast and a large portion of rice.

THERON GODBOLD/STARS AND STRIPES

By THERON GODBOLD | Stars and Stripes | Published: June 18, 2020

With dine-in options still off-limits for many folks in the U.S. military thanks to coronavirus restrictions, now’s the time for Lunch House Turtle, a walk-up, take-away shop near Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, to shine.

The one-story, bright yellow building with a counter and sliding windows facing the sidewalk is a five-minute drive from Yokota’s main gate. Park along the street. In fact, a line of cars with flashing hazard lights may signal you’ve arrived.

The Turtle serves a tasty selection of bento boxes at great prices. The Turtle Special, for one, at just under $10 (1,000 yen), is hard to beat.

For lunch recently, I opted for the gyoza bento: five pot stickers; a breaded, fried and sliced chicken breast; a small bed of noodles; and a generous portion of rice and Japanese ginger. All that for just under $5.

Back at my desk, I opened the plastic foam box and dug in. The rice was still steaming as I plucked a deep-fried dumpling and crunched into it. A very light hint of ginger spiced up the flavor as I devoured the dumpling’s smooth filling. I prefer a pan-fried dumpling, but Turtle’s sensational flavor surprised me.

While I waited 10 minutes back at the shack for my order, I watched as locals pulled up and picked up their lunch orders. I recalled what my uncle once told me about good dining options: “Always look for the locals,” and “The more run-down the place, the better it probably is.”

In this case, “run-down” may not apply to the Turtle as much as “humble,” and “locals” includes personnel from nearby Yokota who are frequent customers. And yes, English menus are available.

My uncle’s advice played through my head as the sizzling sounds of frying chicken perked my ears and the wafting smells of fried food teased my nostrils.

The wait was worth it.

godbold.theron@stripes.com
Twitter: @GodboldTheron

 

Location: 1 Chome-21-10 Musashinodai, Fussa, Tokyo

Hours: Turtle is open six days a week, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; it’s closed Wednesday.

Prices: Everything is under $10, sides are under $1

Dress: Come as you are

Directions: Five-minute drive from Yokota’s main gate; Google GPS code is P8XM+MM Fussa, Tokyo

Information: Phone: 042-553-4896; Online: turtlebento.html.xdomain.jp/english/eindex.html

Lunch House Turtle, a takeout restaurant just outside Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, is known for its generous portions and affordable prices.
THERON GODBOLD/STARS AND STRIPES

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