This study offers an alternative view of Japan's encounter with the West in the nineteenth century through the lens of Chinese cooks. The conventional narrative of the introduction of modern Western foodways to Japan is oblivious to the contribution of Chinese. This article restores the forgotten Chinese cooks to their place in modern Japanese culinary history. Moreover, it places them in the context of the transnational Western imperial practice of employing Chinese for domestic chores. Finally, it calls for recognition of them as facilitators of Japan's "civilization and enlightenment" project by reproducing Western culinary culture in treaty-port Japan.