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Yakitori


torakris
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What is your favorite kind of yakitori?

Are you a sauce or salt kind of guy/gal?

I like mine with the tradional soy based sauce and prefer the organ meats, gizzards and liver particularly.

My husband only eats the salt ones, dabbing them with wasabi and queezing lemon on them, he likes the crunchy stuff, cartilage and the wings.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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The yakitori shop by our house that we occasionally frequent has this wonderful, beef and shiso pinwheel kind of thing that is so good. I don't know if it can really be called yakitori though since tori=chicken. :wacko:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I prefer the heart, gizzard, liver. Perhaps the thighs, well done.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I love tsukune. One of our local shops makes theirs with a bit of yuzu peel and grills them till they're slightly crispy on the outside and soft and juicy inside. Amazing.

I'm a sauce gal myself, but certain kinds of yakitori are better with salt.

Some of the more upscale places have fancy combos like sasami with mentaiko wrapped in shiso- delicious and definately better with salt.

Also I've noticed that a lot of places are now selling 'buta-toro' (which is just a fancy new name for regular old pork belly, isn't it?), which is sooooooo good. Salt for sure!

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I love tsukune. One of our local shops makes theirs with a bit of yuzu peel and grills them till they're slightly crispy on the outside and soft and juicy inside. Amazing.

I'm a sauce gal myself, but certain kinds of yakitori are better with salt.

Some of the more upscale places have fancy combos like sasami with mentaiko wrapped in shiso- delicious and definately better with salt.

Also I've noticed that a lot of places are now selling 'buta-toro' (which is just a fancy new name for regular old pork belly, isn't it?), which is sooooooo good. Salt for sure!

Buta-toro (also called ton-toro)is some great stuff! I have never eaten it at yakitori yet though.

Actually it is not from the belly, rather the jowls and is quite pricey because only 300 grams can be taken per head.

For anyone who doesn't know what this is take a look at this website, it is in Japanese but has great pictures, I am drooling already! :biggrin:

http://www.e-2929.com/syouhin/tontoro/tontoro.html

This and other type of pork products jumped into the market a year or two ago when BSE (mad cow) hit Japan and the general population was avoiding beef.

ton-toro become a very popular yakiniku (Korean style BBQ) dish because people didn't want the beef.

Edited by torakris (log)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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eggplant with sauce...

love the meatiness of it.

Is the buta toro the black pig variety?

I'm a big fan of the black big pork belly but I usually have it in Korean BBQ restaurants.

tissue,

do mean dengaku? grilled eggplant topped with miso? I love the stuff.

I think buta-toro can be from any kind of pig, but I aslo prefer the flavor of the black big and often buy it when on sale.

One of my local yakiniku places has this wonderful kemuri-yaki (smoke-grilling) with black pig belly, I have dreams about this!

The very fatty piece of meat is grilled at your table over a very high heat, the flames jumping all around and when it is done you are left with a piece of meat crisp but very well "greased" :biggrin:

Smallworld,

I agree with what you said before they are some kinds that are just better with salt!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 5 months later...

intestines, gizzard, liver, chicken skin... me sauce guy although depends too on what item I'm eating, togarashi a must on everything.

Also recently got hooked on sansho pepper putting it on everything

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  • 1 month later...

My parents really loved yakitori when they came here this month, so I decided to take them to Yurakucho in Tokyo. Under the Yamanote line train tracks between Yurakucho and Tokyo stations there are dozens of little yakitori shops, some of them tiny with only a bar and a few seats, some of them spilling out into the streets with more of a yatai atmosphere. The area is loved by middle-aged salarymen while everyone else shuns the place as seedy and 'jiji-kusai', thus I had never been and had no idea which were the good shops.

So I picked a tiny shop and random and in we went. We might have been the first foreigners to ever pass through the door (my Mom and I might have even been the first women, except for the ancient lady behind the grill)! The two shopkeepers, mother and son perhaps, seemed a bit nervous and unsure about how to handle us and gave us a bit of a cold reception. This in turn made me nervous, and it got worse when I saw the menu on the wall. It listed beer, whiskey, sake and yakitori. That's it, just yakitori, no varieties mentioned. A bit scary, considering my limited Japanese and even more limited experience in seedy 'jiji-kusai' drinking establishments. I ordered a beer and was asked if we wanted our yakitori with salt or sauce. Sauce. Didn't ask what we wanted. So five skewers of something got dipped in sauce and placed on the grill, presumably for us.

The beer came- a great big bottle of Kirin's Autumn beer. The guy had a really cool way of opening the bottle that looked like a magic trick. The beer was very cold and very good.

The yakitori arrives- shishitougarashi and liver. I hate liver. My parents loved it though and made me try some. Edible, not as bad as a I thought. Kind of good actually, especially with lots of shichimi. The table had a plate of shichimi to dip the yakitori in or sprinkle over pickles. Not a cute little shaker as is the norm, but an open plate. Nice touch.

Gathering my courage, I asked for some negima (chicken with negi). They didn't have it. How about tsukune (minced chicken meatballs)? Nope. The two salarymen at the counter snickered a bit, then one informed me that we had stumbled into a shop that specializes in organ meats. The didn't carry the regular stuff. If he spoke English it might have gone something like this: 'You won't find any of your fancy designer uptown white-meat chicken here, lady. They serve guts here. Good old-fashioned guts.'. He recommended the heart and the hakusai pickles. Which we ordered.

Good stuff, especially the pickles. Japanese people seem to feel that all foreigners hate pickles, and the people in this shop were no exception. The shopguy said we wouldn't like them and insisted we get just a small dish, which we finished in no time and ordered a second. He was shocked and thrilled at the same time, and grew bold. Told us the tongue was good. I asked what kind of tongue it was but he was already at the bar telling his mom to throw a few skewers on tongue on the grill. No sauce, of course- didn't even need to ask. Even us foreigners know that tongue calls for salt.

It WAS good. Juicy and soft enough to bit but with the right amount of toungey chewiness. Pretty sure it was pork.

After three giant bottles of beer and countless skewers it was time to go. We had only meant to have a few sticks before walking by the Imperial Palace and seeing Ginza, but we had stayed much too long and the sun had long gone down. Oh well, if my parents want to see the Imperial Palace they'll just have to come back to Japan (we'll just have to make sure to get our sightseeing done BEFORE we eat yakitori!).

A memorable experience for us, and perhaps for the shopkeepers (and other customers?) too. Imagine- foreigners who eat guts! And pickles too no less!

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Hard to describe where the place is, and I don't remember what its name is. Not like the place had a pile of business cards beside the cash register. Didn't even have a cash register- just a tupperware tub full of money! Anyway, I'll try to describe as best I can how to get there, but we looked around for a while first and might have gotten mixed up. If I made a mistake and you can't find the right place, don't worry- I think they're all good!

Exit Yurakucho station (from the Yamanote line) and head towards Tokyo station. I think the best exits for this are A5 and A7. Either side of the tracks is fine- both sides are lined with little restaurants, not just yakitori but yakiniku and Chinese too. The shops lining are street tend to be newer and trendier, but there are a few alleys cutting under the tracks that retain that retro Showa yakitori-ya feeling. I think the shop we went to was in the alley called ŠÛŽO‰¡’š (Maru-san Yokocho?).

It's near the middle of the alley, on the north side (nearest to Tokyo station). The place is packed with almost identical little shops, so you may have@to ask around or just visit a few 'till you get lucky.

There is a description and pictures of the area, in Japanese, at the bottom of this page:

http://members.at.infoseek.co.jp/kuroyama/sakaba5.html

Amy

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I've missed this thread so far. My favorite yakitori so far is magret of duck yakitori that I had at a terrific Japanese restaurant called Yasube in the 1iere Arrondisement of Paris.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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smallworld--

what does 'jiji-kusai' mean?

i'm guessing it's a seedy or dive-y bar?

thanks!  :smile:

jiji means old man and often in a derogatory way, only when small children use it as a shortened form of ojiisan (grandfather) does it have a nice meaning. ojisan (with a short i) is general term for an older man or for an uncle and can turn derogatory depending on the tone of voice used.

kusai means stinky or smelly and is the common everyday word for some thing that smells bad

so combine them and you have a place that reeks of stinky old men, essentially a seedy place, you guessed right Gus!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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my favorite yakitori shops are the ones that server pork instead of chicken. :smile:

there's one in Asakusa-bashi called "Nishi Guchi Yaki Ton" (west exit grilled pork)

that was located under the JR tracks by the west exit of Asakusa-bashi station.

A greasy, filthy, smoke-filled stand up restaurant that had room for about 10 customers

inside the place, but another 30 or more spilling out down the street using makeshift

tables. Like the restaurant name (Yaki Ton sounds a lot like Yaki Tori, but means grilled

pork instead of grilled chicken), the menu is a tongue in cheek play on a yaki tori shop

menu - there is even pork tsukune. The guts sashimi is great too.

(Unfortunately, Nishi Guchi Yaki Ton moved to become a real sit-down, inside restaurant.

Same food and customers, but the ambience was better at the old place.)

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  • 4 months later...

Restaurateur Koji Imai is going to open a new Japanese restaurant MEGU in NYC on 2/16.

Do you know anything about him? Have you ever been one of his yakitori place?

Koji Imai's Food Scope Web Site (japanese)

http://www.foodscope.co.jp/index2.html

Imai-ya Website (both English and Japanese)

http://www.imaiya.co.jp/

MEGU website (English)

http://www.megunyc.com/

Check out the latest meal!

Itadakimasu

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  • 1 month later...

This and other type of pork products jumped into the market a year or two ago when BSE (mad cow) hit Japan and the general population was avoiding beef.

ton-toro become a very popular yakiniku (Korean style BBQ) dish because people didn't want the beef.

We talked about ton-toro quite a while back, but we had some for dinner last night and this stuff is so tender!

Before cooking

i5103.jpg

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 1 year later...

There is a restaurant chain called Oogiya yakitori, and there tare is really nice (as well as the salt) and they have one called the kankokukaramiso, which is Spicy Korean miso yakitori and it is highly addictive. Also, in Akihabara, there is a yakitori joint near the new Tsukuba Express exit/entrance and they have nice yakitori and and a pretty big menu with lots of good food. But they cook the yakitori in the window just to lure you in. They also have an English menu, but they don't really speak it.

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  • 5 weeks later...

This and other type of pork products jumped into the market  a year or two ago when BSE (mad cow) hit Japan and the general population was avoiding beef.

ton-toro become a very popular yakiniku (Korean style BBQ) dish because people didn't want the beef.

We talked about ton-toro quite a while back, but we had some for dinner last night and this stuff is so tender!

Before cooking

i5103.jpg

Does Ton-Toro come from the loin section? It looks wonderfully marbled....the sure sign of flavor!

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