It's pretty hard to go wrong with yakitori. Grilled chicken is an international favourite, most cultures having a slightly different take on this popular dish. In Japan, "yakitori" is bits of chicken cooked on a skewer. "Bits" can be white meat, dark meat or pretty much any other part of the bird.
Nothing goes to waste. Crispy bits of skin, the gizzards and even the cartilage will find its way onto your stick. Usually diners have the choice of ordering yakitori simply seasoned with "shio" (salt) or "tare" (sauce)
Tare sauce is a sweet and savoury mix of sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar. The chicken is basted with the tare sauce as it cooks.
"Specialty" yakitori items include the skin....
And the cartilage....
Still not adventurous enough for you? How about chicken eggs...still in the chicken! Tamahimo uses eggs still inside the hen. Could you? Would you?
Unlike in western countries, Japanese high end yakitori restaurants will often serve chicken meat medium or medium rare. The meat in these establishments comes from ultra healthy free-range birds and is as fresh as possible. The likelihood of salmonella or other contamination is virtually nill.
Free range chicken may not produce the quantities of meat that factory farms do, but the quality is far higher and the birds are humanely raised. Chicken sashimi is in fact a specialty in Kagoshima in southern Japan. "Jidori" are a Japanese breed of chicken that are humanely raised and fed a natural diet without drugs and antibiotics. Raw or lightly seared Jidori chicken is an expensive delicacy....
Yakitori is also commonly found at festivals and street stalls throughout Japan. It can be an affordable and easy to enjoy finger food.
Condiments that may be seen alongside yakitori include "shichimi" a mix of Japanese chili, herbs and spices; wasabi and sometimes "yuzukosho" a paste made from yuzu (citrus) and chili.
We've got yakitori on Sanbiki's menu! And you can watch it being prepared in our open kitchen...new winter menu items coming soon. Have a great week!