Top photo by Diego Gonzales Valenzuela/Flickr
In between the karaoke drinking bars and fast foods, there are the izakaya places. When roughly translated, these are equivalent to “pubs” and “bars” in the Western countries. Usually, Japanese workers spend their nightlife and after work hours in a izakaya. In these places, they can both drink and eat inexpensive Japanese food. Regarding the food, there are ways on how an izakaya can present them: either through an all-you-can-eat on certain time limit basis or through a set course meal. Regardless, here are some of the menu usually served:
1. Yakitori chicken
– There are a lot of grilled meat-on-stick but usually, izakaya’s serve glazed chicken on stick with spring onion skewers.
– These are handmade Japanese dumplings that are said to be the ultimate bar snack. It is packed with pork mince, cabbage and spring onion. You are also given a gyoza dip from a mixture of soy, rice vinegar, and chile oil. Some izakaya add cornstarch to control the texture.
3. Spicy Edamame
– Just like your recipe at home, Izakaya places served spicy edamame as appetizers. The sautee the edamame pack with neutral cooking oil, minced cloves garlic, and chili paste.
– These are tempura mashed potatoes shaped as big as your fist. It it filled with crab meat and served with buttered vegetables. It can also go with a wasabi dip and spring onions.
– Often times, Ikayaki are sold in the streets of Japan and ordering these in izakaya places are no exception. Ikayaki are grilled soy-marinated squids that are sliced into rings and served hot. Izakayas are great venues to spend a good evening with co-workers after a long day of labor. Aside from the inexpensive but quality food, booze is available and you can smoke inside the establishment. Be mindful of your time though because popular izakayas can only accomodate you and your colleagues for a maximum of 2 hours!