Tokyo Boom "He is Tokyo, I am Boom": A crazy short trip to Japan

Wednesday, November 16 2022

Opening Times

Daily: noon - 10:00pm


Tokyo Boom
Hofmühlgasse 11
1060 Vienna-district 6
.How to get there



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Why are there flying cows in Tokyo? Why do the local police have a flying mouse as their mascot (and therefore embroidered on all their uniforms)? Why do the Japanese love to eat hot dogs filled with noodles as an afternoon snack?

The longer you live there, the less you understand, Lisa Stier says with a laugh. After hearing a classmate's presentation on Tokyo when she was 14, she knew: I want to go there! No sooner said than done. After school, she went to the Japanese metropolis as an au pair. Two years later, she returned - more than ever in love with the culture there and with a new best friend in tow. Why don't you come to Vienna, he suggested. "Aren has Japanese roots, but he grew up in Austria."

So Lisa - "fond of booze ideas" - went to Vienna, where together with Aren - booze idea number two - she thought about opening her own restaurant. "Aren is good at cooking, I'm good at eating," she says. "We wanted to bring all the things we love about Tokyo to us in Vienna." The cute kawaii culture with its flying mouse mascots and decorated utility hole covers. The trendy food scene, where things can't get too crazy and colourful. Tokyo is loud, shrill, bright - boom, that is.


Sooner than expected, the crazy idea became serious: against all odds (cancellations from construction companies, Omikron, rising costs), the run-down corner pub was renovated from the ground up. Large parts, such as the entire demolition, were done independently. After three months, the dark room with its wood-panelled walls was transformed into a brightly coloured magical world: Flying cows on the walls (a symbol of their friendship, as Lisa tells us, since they met at a Tokyo pub called Pink Cow).

Also: the iconic Mount Fuji spits a rainbow across the entire ceiling. Sumo wrestlers are standing in the underground and a bicycle-riding tiger. "He used to come by my language school," Lisa tells me. An elderly gentleman dressed as a tiger, delivering newspapers on his bicycle. Why? One does not know.

The place is fun. As is the food: You won't find the classic Japanese cuisine known in this country, sushi. Instead, Tokyo Boom serves everyday Tokyo food. What the locals eat during a short break or hungover after partying. The aforementioned Noodle Dog, a hot dog bun filled with fried noodles. Rice bowls topped with crispy fried chicken, juicy beef, or - my favourite - the poison-green curry pan: a deep-fried yeast dumpling filled with vegetable curry. In Tokyo, Lisa tells me, this is available in all convenience stores (the equivalent of the local sausage or kebab shop).

The only difference is that everything at Tokyo Boom is vegan, as Lisa and Aren have been eating a plant-based diet for a long time. My Japanese au pair father used to say: "Shave your hair off and walk down the street in an orange smock. Then you'll get vegan food." For monks, a plant-based diet is standard. In modern Japanese cuisine, however, it is the exception.

Many guests, Lisa says, don't even notice the difference. And are then surprised when they learn that the thunigiri onigiri (stuffed rice balls) are not filled with "real" tuna and egg mayo. Depending on the season, seasonal specials are added to the menu: In autumn, there is warming miso soup with seaweed and mushrooms and autumnal drinks like hojicha latte, made with roasted green tea.

The food is served in pastel-coloured bowls on colourful trays. Children's dishes, painted walls - "Some say it looks a bit like kindergarten here," says Lisa. But those who have been there say, "Yes, it's Tokyo!" That playful cuteness provides much-needed balance in the rule-bound, performance-pressured Japanese daily routine. And with their Tokyo Boom, Lisa and Aren now want to bring this into everyday life in Vienna.

Japan is still on my travel list, I tell them longingly. Unfortunately, I've never been there. "Yes, you have", says Lisa. "Now you've already been to Tokyo!"

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Tokyo Boom – “He is Tokyo, I am Boom”: A crazy short trip to Japan
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