Skewered Food in Japan

20 Apr

Apple’s food post from Kansai! 🙂

===Apple’s post starts from here===

Of course I was in Kansai, and I ought to write about their specialty food…food like Kushiage!

However, when my friends brought me to an izakaya, what caught my interest more was Yakitori.

There is Yakitori sold in my country (Singapore) too.


However, you would only find popular parts like chicken thighs, chicken wings, minced chicken balls, chicken karaage, chicken skin and some pork meat with fat in the yakitori stalls in Singapore.

So my idea of yakitori was Japan’s version of chicken kebabs or satays.

In my first trip to Japan some years ago, I was in the basement supermarket and there was this lovely sweet smoky aroma which led me to the Yakitori stall. I was about to buy it when I realised the range of choices was huge there!

I had no idea what they were at all, but with my limited Japanese vocabulary knowledge then, I recognised the words ‘heart’, ‘neck’, ‘gizzards’ in some of the descriptions of each stick, and I stopped, and I walked away.

Fast forward to now, I was sitting in an izakaya with my Japanese friends, and they ordered Yakitori for us!

If you’re wondering why Yakitori offers you strange chicken parts, it’s because in the past, chicken meat was very popular and expensive. So, clever business-minded stall owners decided to use the bits and pieces of chicken discarded by high-class restaurants and sell them in skewered sticks!

So, basically, you can eat Seseri (neck), Hatsu (Heart), Muneniku (Breast), Tebasaki (wing), Teiru (tail), Sunazuri (gizzards), Momo (thigh), Kawa (Skin)… There are also livers, the bottoms, soft bones, Tsukune (Chicken meatballs), and most of the times there are pork parts too.

I still do not dare to give strange chicken parts a try, but that night, my friends highly recommended trying seseri (neck) and soft bones. It was delicious. Seseri tastes just like chicken meat, except it has more muscles. You should try it! And soft bones are chewy and crunchy and goes well with beer.

Yakitori is more of a Kanto (Eastern part of Japan) food. While Yakitori was popular in Kanto, because of the abolishment of the regulation of flour in the Kansai (Western part of Japan) area in 1951, the use of flour flourished in Kansai, and popular foods like Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Kushiage were born.

Kushiage was also skewered meat and vegetables on a stick, somewhat the same idea as Yakitori, but Kushiage is covered in batter, deep-fried in oil, and usually eaten with different kinds of sauces or salt.

Here is Kushiage.

It really is very popular in Kansai. You can see many Kushiage stalls and restaurants everywhere.

I prefer Yakitori to Kushiage though. I’m not a fan of deep-fried food.

How about you? Have you tried either of these skewered food before? Which do you prefer?

If you haven’t tried them before, do they appeal to you? Would you be adventurous enough to try all the strange parts that are not commonly eaten in your country? 🙂

===end of the post===

Kirin’s opinion
I also had Kushikatsu or Kushiage in Osaka before, but if I compare it with Yakitori…I think I like Yakitori more. But I like Karaage (Japanese styled fried chicken) more. I didn’t know the reason why the use of flour is so popular in Kansai. Thank you for sharing the knowledge, I’m learning from you! 😀

***Giveaway offered by Apple***
Apple has recently created a page ‘Happy Girls Cute Food’, where you can learn how to make cute, girly food. From now till 30 April, she’s doing a giveaway of some cute food items from Osaka! ‘Like’ her page and you will instantly have a chance to win something for yourself! Go to Happy Girls Cute Food for more details~!

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8 Responses to “Skewered Food in Japan”

  1. sedonia2 April 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Everything looks so good! I wish we had food like that all over the place here too. Maybe in New York and Los Angeles but not everywhere else. What's the difference between kaarage and katsu?

    • kirin April 23, 2012 at 12:58 am #

      Karaage is battered with flour, but katsu is battered with flour, egg and bread crumb. So katsu contains more oil in the deep fry batter. ^ ^

      • sedonia2 April 23, 2012 at 7:27 am #

        Ah I see! I LOVE katsu! Thanks for explaining. 🙂

      • Apple April 23, 2012 at 11:06 am #

        ohhh! I didn't know that too! Haha! Thanks Kirin!

      • kirin April 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

        No problem!
        Also the difference between karaage and tatsutaage is this.
        Karaage…battered with flour
        Tatsutaage…buttered with starch

      • Apple April 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

        oh!!! wow i learned so much! hehe! ^^

  2. Jun April 21, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    I also prefer yakitori! I like the sauce!
    but overall, the experience was great!! Its really a nice place to chill out and enjoy good food!!
    And as long as its not seafood with strong smell, i guess i'm ok with trying strange parts found in other countries.. except maybe intestine.. heart… haha T^T

    • kirin April 23, 2012 at 12:59 am #

      I'm glad you had such a nice trip! ^_^

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