Speaking of Japanese food, it is easy to hit upon sushi and tempura.
But it not must be forgotten the existence of yakitori (grilled bite-sized chicken on skewer).
Many foreigners would be surprised at Japanese yakitori because it is a food using strange part of chicken.
But some people are addicted to it after eating it once.
Especially, Tokyo is yakitori hotspot. There are many restaurants where we can eat delicious yakitori.
We will show good yakitori restaurants and yakitori’s history to introduce charms of yakitori.
What is yakitori ?
Yakitori is a Japanese dish that bite-sized chicken is grilled with sauce and salt.
There are many parts of chicken which is ingredient used for yakitori.
Each part has different taste and charm.
Basically, yakitori is a dish using only chicken.
But yakitori restaurants offer grilled vegetables on skewer and side dish.
What is delicious yakitori ?
Whether it is delicious yakitori or not is decided by the degree of grilling.
If chicken is overcooked, it will become firm and dry.
And if less cooked, it will become watery.
Delicious yakitori has crispy surface by grilling over the charcoal.
Chicken become tender and juicy because chicken flavor is condensed.
In addition, chicken must be fresh.
The restaurants which cook chicken on that day provide great yakitori because the meat has great texture and is tasteful.
How to select great yakitori restaurant ?
How to distinguish great yakitori restaurant depends on interior and serving style.
It is best to have counter seats and cook in front of customers.
Delicious yakitori is absolutely freshly made one.
In addition, the best way to cook chicken is to use charcoal fire.
Almost all famous yakitori restaurant cook chicken over charcoal fire.
But if you are worried about how to cook, you should ask the restaurant in advance.
If the restaurant has the chef trained for a long time, you will taste special yakitori.
So you should visit the restaurant running by skillful chef if you would like to real yakitori.
All restaurant we will introduce is famous and really care for ingredients.
The history of yakitori
The current yakitori styles has been started since Meiji period.
Before that, wild birds are skewered, such as sparrow, pigeon, pheasant and duck.
In Meiji period, chicken used for yakitori was one of luxury ingredients.
So it was difficult for people in general to eat chicken.
At the beginning of Showa period, the amount of imported chicken increased.
In result, yakitori using chicken became a common dish that people in general ate.
Popular yakitori restaurant in Tokyo
We will tell you about famous yakitori restaurant in Tokyo.
All restaurant we introduce has a chef who has trained for a long time.
Besides, some of them have been awarded Michelin Bib Gourmands.
Torishiki is a restaurant 3 minutes walk away from Meguro Station.
The master chef, Mr. Ikegami, opened the restaurant after training at a famous yakitori restaurant, Toriyoshi.
The restaurant is so popular that it is difficult to make a reservation.
Different from casual yakitori restaurant, this has sophisticated interior.
There is only 12 seats, so we enjoy yakitori in quiet atmosphere.
The restaurant’s feature is perfect degree of grilling.
By setting chicken close to charcoal fire and grilling on high heat, the meat can seal in the juice.
So we will eat juicy yakitori.
In addition, there is “sabiyaki,” which is rare chicken.
We feel the chef’s belief from the menu.
We can’t order what we want to eat at the restaurant.
We just eat what the chef offer.
Birdland is a famous one-Michelin-starred restaurant, which is a minute walk from Ginza Station.
Ingredients for yakitori is “okujishamo,” which is chewy chicken.
The chicken became chewy and juicy by cooking with charcoal carefully selected.
And the meat is right firm because the chicken has less fat.
If you order “omakase course,” you eat some appetizer, putty, oyakodon(a rice bowl with simmered egg and chicken) and eight kinds of yakitori.
You enjoy chicken to your heart’s content.
Yakitori Shinka is a restaurant in the back alley looked like a secret hideaway for adult.
It is so small that only ten people can enter there.
The restaurant is difficult to reserve because it is very popular.
It is 8 minutes walk from Roppongi Station.
People from abroad enjoy Japanese yakitori because the restaurant can give service in English.
There is only one menu, “omakase course(6,000 yen).”
This menu includes appetizer, some yakitori the chef recommend and a la carte.
Types of chicken used for yakitori are “amagishamo” bred in Izu area in Shizuoka Prefecture and “suigodori” in Chiba Prefecture.
You will eat rare chicken if the restaurant purchase fresh one.
Chicken is absolutely great, but there are some rare vegetables.
You will be satisfied with the content of the meal.
Toriki is a famous restaurant awarded a star. It is 5 minutes walk away from Kinshicho Station.
The calm and clean restaurant is a suitable place for dating.
The content of basic course is appetizer, yakitori and chicken soup.
If you want more, you should add a la carte to your order.
Depending on seasons and product source, yakitori on that day will change. So you taste seasonal food.
Torisawa is a modest restaurant offering good alcohol and delicious yakitori.
The famous restaurant is 3 minutes walk away from Kamido Station.
There is no menu except “omakase course.”
Yakitori is served until you say that you finish a meal.
Chef’s recommended yakitori and seasonal vegetables cooked with charcoal go well with alcohol.
You should eat chicken soup for finishing off.
It is so popular that it is difficult to reserve.
So you should call as soon as possible.
Omino is a popular yakitori restaurant, which is 3 minutes walk from Oshiage Station.
Its master chef has trained at a famous yakitori restaurant “torishiki” for 6 years.
He was independent of torishiki and open his restaurant near Tokyo Skytree.
Chicken for yakitori is dressed at the restaurant.
So we eat fresh and good liver and “chochin (Fallopian tube and ovary).”
There is only “omakase course.” The chef offers yakitori until you tell him to finish a meal.
You should finish off oyakodon before you are full.
When you visit Tokyo Skytree, it is good to stop by there.
Ranjatai is a Michelin-starred restaurant, which is one minute walk from Jinbocho Station.
The restaurant offers fresh dish because it dresses carefully selected Hinai-Jidori chicken at the restaurant, which is speciality in Akita Prefecture, and uses seasonal vegetable.
You can only order “omakase course” including appetizer like liver putty and the chef recommended yakitori.
You can eat not only yakitori but also a la carte which go well with alcohol.
You will enjoy the whole chicken if you eat oyakodon, keihan(a rice bowl with boiled chicken and some vegetables) and torisoba (soba noodle with boiled chicken).
You must make a reservation because this is a popular restaurant.
Yakitori is popular overseas ?
Yakitori is popular overseas because teriyaki chicken, similar to yakitori, has already been famous all over the world.
Yakitori looks like barbecue, so it is easy for foreigners to accept.
But, they have no habit to eat internal organs and gristle.
When meeting them at the restaurant for the first time, many people are surprised at them.
If you come to Japan, just try to eat chicken parts you have never eaten.
Yakitori has been loved for a long time in Japan.
Now, various charms of yakitori is created by casual and luxury restaurant.
In Tokyo, there are many famous yakitori restaurants with good alcohol.
We hope you enjoy Japanese yakitori for your travel memory.