NZ出身・ベアトリクスの世界食いしん坊万歳!! -2-

The Value of Cospa|「コスパ」の価値

 Beatrix Holland Beatrix Holland  / Mar 21, 2024

Tokyo is a city where it’s very hard to find a bad meal. Hard- but not impossible. So in a place which is just absolutely crammed with places to eat, from the very cheap to the eye-wateringly expensive, you need some way of sorting through them all to find the truly exceptional.


Scan any restaurant review site in Japan and you’ll quickly learn two things. The first is that local reviewers have very, very high standards. The second is that cospa (コスパ) is almost as important as price.  


A mashup of the words ‘cost’ and ‘performance’, like all the best Japanese portmanteau words, it’s a widely understood concept. Cospa holds that a wildly expensive meal can be great value, or something cheap grabbed on the go can be a bad deal. It’s not what you paid, what matters is how you feel afterwards.


The table of ingredients at Maz: laid out for guests to explore

So what does good cospa feel like? It’s basically satisfaction. My top indicator is how I feel about handing over the cash. Cheaper meals should have the edge here, but that’s not always true. But in November, I went to Maz and had the most expensive meal I’ve ever paid for. And the cospa was exceptional.

では、良いコスパとはどのようなものだろうか? 基本的には満足感のことだろう。一番わかり易いのは、支払いのときにどう感じるかだ。当然安い方がいいはずだが、いつでもそうとは限らない。例えばこの前の11月にレストランMAZ]に行って人生で一番高い食事をしたが、コスパの観点からいえば「最高」だった。

When it was time to pay the bill, we all happily handed our cards over. While this could have been attributed to the very generous drinks pairing, the group of friends I went with are still talking about it. I’ve found myself looking at the photos. I chat about it with other people who have been. I would go again except that in an unrelated event, the restaurant received a second Michelin star just a week later and I’m worried it’s going to be impossible to book.


At the other end of the scale, the huge popularity of the conbini with overseas tourists speaks to the lure of good, cheap cospa. You can see the reactions of people who experience the wonders of the cheap and tasty onigiri or egg sandwich for the first time on TikTok and Instagram. And I have to say, even after five years here, the cospa charm of the conbini has not faded. It’s amazing to me that I can swing by for a yuzu soda, snag a Da Isa pizza, or grab my current favourite, the Hide Izaki x Lotte Ghana Coffee Truffle.


Da Isa: available in your 7/11 freezer
DA ISAのピザもセブンイレブンの冷凍庫で手に入る

Does the concept of cospa work outside Japan? In the last few months, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Sydney, Seoul and Seattle. All very different cities, all notable for a strong restaurant scene, and delicious seafood. After hunting after good dining options for each, I can report that introducing the concept of cospa would make things easier to navigate.

「コスパ」という概念は日本以外でも通用するのだろうか? ここ数ヶ月、私はシドニー、ソウル、シアトルを訪れる幸運に恵まれた。いずれも全く異なる都市だが、レストラン・シーンが盛り上がっておりどこもシーフードが美味しいことで有名だ。それぞれの都市を訪れて美味しいレストランを探す上で、やはり「コスパ」という概念は役に立つ。

When travelling, the number one goal is to avoid the ‘tourist trap’, that is, the overpriced option that pretends to offer a ‘local’ or ‘authentic’ experience. If Japan exported ‘cospa’, you would be able to reliably understand where the food is actually worth the price.


Lunch at Parc

As an aside, I do have a top pick from each city. In Sydney, Cafe Paci was the standout for incredible wine, and a dessert that featured carrot. In Seoul, Parc pushed my ideas of what Korean food is, coupled with warm service and great recommendations. As an avowed oyster fan, Seattle’s The Walrus and the Carpenter served a selection of seafood that can’t be missed.

余談だが、私には各都市に厳選したおすすめレストランがある。シドニーでは[Cafe Paci]が、素晴らしいワインとニンジンを特徴にしたデザートで際立っていた。ソウルでは、[Parc]が私の韓国料理に対する概念を押し広げ、温かなサービスと素晴らしいおすすめを提供してくれた。それから牡蠣ファンを公言する私にとって、シアトルの[The Walrus and the Carpenter]の特選シーフードは逃すことができなかった。

The range of local oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter

Photo & Text by Beatrix Holland



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