Japanese Food Guide: Yakitori

焼き鳥 (Yakitori; やきとり) is my favorite Japanese food.

The Japanese word yakitori literally means grilled chicken. It resembles barbecue since the cooking style similarly involves skewering the (chicken) meat on stick and grilling it on top of charcoal fire.

Strictly speaking, yakitori is the word specifically use for skewered chicken meat. If we are to refer to all kind of meat including beef and pork which are grilled on a stick, the formal term to use is 串焼き (Kushiyaki; くしやき). Because of the variety of chicken meat cuts and preparation, there are a lot of kinds of yakitori.

Types of yakitori
  • もも (momo) – chicken thigh
  • ねぎま (negima) – chicken (usually thigh meat) with spring onions
  • つくね (tsukune) – meatballs (made of chicken, egg and vegatables)
  • とりかわ (torikawa) – or just かわ (kawa) is (crispy) chicken skin
  • 手羽先 (tebasaki – chicken wings
  • レバー (reba) – chicken liver
  • なんこつ (nankotsu) – chicken cartilage
Here is the list of less popular types
  • ぼんじり (bonjiri) – chicken tail
  • シロ (shiro) – chicken small intestines
  • こころ (kokoro) – chicken heart (also hatsu (ハツ) or haato (ハート))
  • ずり (zuri) – chicken gizzard (also 砂肝 (sunagimo; すなぎも))

Yakitori are usually served with しお (shio; salt) or 垂れ (tare (たれ); sauce). Since they are on stick, we can eat them directly without the use of chopstick.

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Author: Rowell

Rowell is a software engineer by day and a frustrated writer at night. When I'm not with my laptop, I am usually with a guitar or watching netflix.

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