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Yakitori (焼き鳥) are grilled chicken skewers made from bite sized pieces of meat from all different parts of the chicken, such as the breasts, thighs, skin, liver and other innards. Usually made to order and cooked over charcoal, yakitori is a popular, inexpensive dish commonly enjoyed together with a glass of beer. The best yakitori is served at specialty restaurants, known as yakitori-ya, but it can also be found at many other types of restaurants across Japan, such as izakaya, and at festival food stands.

Popular Yakitori

Negima

Momo

Tsukune

Torikawa

Tebasaki

Reba

Nankotsu

Most yakitori restaurants also sell some non-chicken skewers such as skewered shishito peppers, cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and asparagus or enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon.

How to eat yakitori

Yakitori is an inexpensive and informal food that is easily found at specialized yakitori-ya, as well as at most izakaya and many other restaurants across Japan. At a typical yakitori-ya they are sold by the stick or a set of two sticks, and cost around 100-200 yen per stick. Many restaurants also offer combination plates with multiple types of yakitori (moriawase). Since yakitori are cooked to order and served hot off the grill, it may be better to order them in small batches rather than in a single large order.

When ordering yakitori, you usually can choose whether you want your skewers seasoned with a sweet and savory yakitori sauce (tare) or with salt (shio). Yakitori is meant to be eaten with your hands. You may directly eat them off the skewer or use your chopsticks to remove the meat from the skewer before consuming it. A small cup may be provided on the table to discard used skewers into.

Where to eat yakitori

Yakitori is widely served across Japan, and especially easily found around large stations near business districts. Some specific, popular dining areas where you can eat yakitori are:

Omoide Yokocho

Yurakucho

Nakasu