My favourite “Yaki’s”

So for those of you who don’t know me, I am an absolute foodie; I just love food! In the western world, sushi is probably the most popular food associated with Japan, so when I moved here I expected to see a sushi restaurant on every street corner. This has not been the case…at least not where I live…and contrary to popular belief, sushi is not eaten everyday, but rather on special occasions, or in my case, when I’m feeling “rich”.

The word “yaki” in Japanese basically means “to fry or grill”. In this post, I will introduce some of my favourite Japanese dishes that are done using this style of cooking.

Takoyaki– This is a popular street food in the Kansai region of Japan. Before moving here, this was one of the food I was most interested to try and I was not disappointed. It looks like meatballs, but the taste and texture is a bit different. It is usually made by pouring a flour batter into a special takoyaki maker (picture below) then adding pieces of octopus, pickled ginger, green onions and a few other ingredients that I don’t know, they cook it until it has a pancake-like texture. Once cooked, they add the takoyaki sauce, which is similar to Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise and dried fish flakes which gives it more of a salty than sweet taste. They make them right in front of you and it is actually quite fun to watch them at work- unfortunately I’m not able to add videos to the blog yet. I have made the mistake- more than once- of trying to eat it when it is too hot, but it is so good, it’s worth getting my tongue scorched!

Enjoying takoyaki

Okonomiyaki– This is my second favourite type of “yaki“. This is a type of cabbage pancake — now I can see you making up your faces but it actually tastes a lot better than the name suggests. It is made using shredded cabbage (which gives it a very crunchy taste) mixed in a flour batter and meat of your choice. The popular meat choices are usually pork, shrimp, squid, octopus or a seafood mix. At some restaurants, they give you the ingredients and you make it yourself on a flat grill provided or they will make it for you and put it on the grill so it stays warm. The texture is a bit different from western pancakes; it is not as fluffy and instead of a sweet syrup, they add mayonnaise (for some reason Japan is very big on mayonnaise), a semi-sweet Okonomiyaki sauce, dried seaweed and dried fish flakes.

okonomiyaki

Yakiniku–is basically a Japanese style BBQ. You are given small pieces of raw meat-beef, chicken, lamb, pork, squid and vegetables; you sit around a table and grill the meats. This is usually perfect for a small group of people.

yakiniku grill
wagyu beef and chicken (pre-grill)
various meats

This is just the start of some of my food related posts. If these pictures aren’t enough, my next post will hopefully satisfy your needs to appreciate Japanese cuisine.

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Originally published at karesasaninjapanblog.wordpress.com on January 10, 2016.