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Title: Yakitori  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Satay, Grilling, Pinchitos, Yakiniku, List of cooking techniques
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Yakitori being grilled
Several yakitori in food court areas

Yakitori (焼き鳥, やきとり, ヤキトリ), grilled chicken, is commonly a Japanese type of skewered chicken. The term "yakitori" can also refer to skewered food in general. Kushiyaki (skewer grilled), is a formal term that encompasses both poultry and non-poultry items, skewered and grilled. Both yakitori and kushiyaki are used interchangeably in Japanese society.

Yakitori-ya are traditionally small restaurants or stands that grill yakitori to order over charcoal, to be consumed alongside alcoholic beverages (usually beer or shōchū) in the evening. These establishments are known for their informal and convivial atmospheres, and are popular gathering places particularly for young people and office workers on their way home. In some parts of Japan, large numbers of yakitori-ya can sometimes be found clustered together in one street or alley. Tokyo's Omoide-yokocho in Shinjuku is one particularly famous example. It is nearly similar to satay


Yakitori is made with several bite-sized pieces of chicken meat, or chicken offal, mounted on a bamboo skewer and grilled, usually over binchōtan charcoal.

Diners ordering yakitori usually have a choice of having it cooked with salt (shio), or with tare sauce, which is generally made up of mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar. The sauce is applied to the skewered meat which is grilled until delicately cooked.

  • momo (もも), chicken thigh
  • "negima" (ねぎま), chicken and spring onion
  • tsukune (つくね), chicken meatballs
  • (tori)kawa ((とり)かわ), chicken skin, grilled until crispy
  • tebasaki (手羽先), chicken wing
  • bonjiri (ぼんじり), chicken tail
  • shiro (シロ), chicken small intestines
  • nankotsu (なんこつ), chicken cartilage
  • hāto / hatsu (ハート / ハツ) or kokoro (こころ), chicken heart
  • rebā (レバー), liver
  • sunagimo (砂肝) or zuri (ずり), chicken gizzard
  • toriniku, all white meat on skewer

Common non-poultry dishes

These are not "yakitori" per se being something other than chicken. Both yakitori and these skewered dishes are more correctly referred to as "kushiyaki."

  • ikada (筏) (lit. raft), Japanese scallion, with two skewers to prevent rotation
  • gyūtan (牛タン), beef tongue, sliced thinly
  • atsuage tōfu (厚揚げとうふ), thicker variety of deep-fried tofu
  • enoki maki (エノキ巻き), enoki mushrooms wrapped in slices of pork
  • pīman (ピーマン), green bellpepper
  • asuparabēkon (アスパラベーコン), asparagus wrapped in bacon
  • butabara (豚ばら), pork belly
  • ninniku (にんにく), garlic
  • shishito (獅子唐), Japanese pepper
Examples of yakitori items
Left to right: Kawa (chicken skin); yamaimo; shishitō 
Chicken liver 
Left to right: Asparagus wrapped in thinly sliced pork, with chicken wing yakitori 
Ginkgo nuts 
Left to right: Tsukune; negi (scallion) and butabara (pork belly) 
Negima (chicken thigh and scallion) 

See also


  • Ono, Tadashi; Salat Harris (2011). The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9781580087377

External links

  • Japan Guide
  • Everyday Japanese Cuisine
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