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Yakitori; Grilled Chicken that Sake Lovers Can’t Drink Without.

Just like Londoners enjoying fish and chips with pints of beer at the pub, yakitori(焼き鳥, やきとり) or skewed chicken barbecue, is an essential delicacy for beer or sake here in Japan. You can easily find yakitori on izakaya menus everywhere in Tokyo, but I would like to recommend you visit a few yakitori specialty restaurants.

Although, it is not easy to distinguish a yakitori restaurant from an ordinary izakaya from the outside, as soon as you duck through the sometimes low doorway, you will be caught by the aromatic smoke as from yakitoris bubble and pop over charcoal on the grill.

Yakitori restaurants offer a wide range of selection from various bits of the chicken i.e. breast, leg, wing and liver. You can enjoy other skewered ingredients like welsh onion, bell pepper and Shiitake mushroom charcoal grilled to perfection. Don't know which to choose? First you can order a "combination" or "moriawase plate" (盛り合わせ) that will include several kinds of popular yakitori.

Flavors for your Yakitori are either sauce (tangy and rich) or salt (simple and complimentary to the juicy meat taste) and some restaurants provide the sauce from the get-go depending on which one the chef feels is appropriate for that Yakitori type.

If you want to have an even deeper experience, you should go to yakitori stalls operated under the elevated railways between Shimbashi and Yurakucho. This chain of stalls display the symbolic red lantern, permeate the air with a scent of scorched soy source and invite you to a real, "local style" yakitori experience.

by Hagi

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