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Japanese cuisine -- yakitori (grilled chicken)


	Skewers of succulent chicken dipped in barbecue sauce, grilled to perfection over hot
charcoals, then washed down with cold beer -- it's easy to see the appeal of yakitori after
a hard day's work. Not surprisingly, yakitori-ya (yakitori restaurants and stands) are
popular early-evening gathering places, filled with office workers stopping off for a
quick snack before the train ride home.

	Yakitori stands are far from fancy; often they'll consist of just five or six stools pushed
up against a counter. Clouds of aromatic smoke waft off the grill and into the street to
lure hungry passersby. Even at the "nicer" places, the emphasis is less on decor and
more on providing good food and a convivial atmosphere.

	Yakitori-ya can be recognized by small red lanterns out front, with the character for
"tori," or bird. Another clue to finding a yakitori-ya is the clouds of fragrant smoke
coming from the vent.

	Two of the main factors that set one yakitori-ya apart from the next are the
ingredients in the tare (the sauce used to baste the chicken) and the quality of the
charcoal used for grilling. Hard, aromatic charcoal produces the best results, better than
cheaper charcoals and far better than gas or electric grills. Some places use free-range
chicken (jidori), which is tougher than ordinary chicken but also more flavorful.

Yakitori Dishes

	Although other foods are served, chicken is the mainstay of the yakitori-ya. Morsels
of chicken are skewered by themselves or interspersed with pieces of leek or other
vegetables. Other dishes include chicken wings, tender white-meat chicken breast fillets
(sasami), dark-meat chicken-leg chunks, chicken livers and other organs,
ground-chicken meatballs (tsukune), and even chicken skin. Non-chicken items include
large shiitake mushrooms, green peppers, ginkgo nuts and small quail eggs.

	Food in yakitori-ya usually comes on skewers, with a minimum of two skewers per
order. Before it's grilled, the food is dipped into either a sweetish soy-based sauce (tare)
or salt (shio) -- sometimes you get a choice, but often one or the other is the specialty of
the chef. You can also sprinkle your chicken with shichimi (a mixture of red pepper and
six other spices). There's usually a handy receptacle on the counter where you can
deposit your used skewers.

	Some fancy places have a wider variety of choices, with more exotic delicacies like
asparagus, rabbit or sparrow, but generally smaller restaurants and stands limit
themselves to the basics. Most patrons drink beer with their yakitori, although soft
drinks are also available. After you've had enough chicken, chazuke (a soupy mixture of
tea and rice) is a very filling way to top off the meal.

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YAKITORI SAMPLE MENU
Note: Uppercase letters represent long vowel sounds.

Chicken and other meat a la carte (by the skewer)

	* yakitori -- grilled, skewered chicken pieces
	* aigamo -- duck
	* hasami -- alternating pieces of chicken and leek
	* hatsu -- hearts
	* hina(dori) -- very young chicken
	* hone tsuki -- bones included
	* kawa -- chicken skin
	* tori kimo yaki -- chicken livers and other giblets
	* momo(yaki) -- chicken legs
	* motsu -- giblets
	* nankotsu -- chicken pieces with bone
	* negima -- chicken pieces and leek
	* rebaa -- liver
	* sasami -- chicken breast meat (without skin)
	* shOniku -- boneless meat with skin
	* sunagimo -- gizzards
	* suzume -- sparrow (or young chicken)
	* tan -- beef tongue
	* tebasaki -- chicken wings
	* tsukune -- chicken meatballs
	* uzura (tamago) -- quail eggs

Vegetables by the skewer

	* yasai yaki -- grilled, skewered vegetables
	* ginnan -- ginkgo nuts
	* negi -- leek
	* pIman -- green pepper
	* shiitake -- Japanese mushrooms
	* shishitO -- small Japanese green pepper
	* tamanegi -- onion

Other dishes

	* tori-sashi -- raw chicken, served sashimi-style
	* tori-wasa -- almost-raw chicken pieces, served with _wasabi_ (Japanse green 
	   horseradish)
	* kara-age -- deep-fried chicken
	* nikomi -- meat and vegetable stew

Rice and Side Dishes

	* yakitori don -- grilled chicken pieces over rice
	* kiji-yaki don -- grilled chicken pieces over rice
	* chazuke -- a soupy mixture of rice and green tea with various ingredients
		o nori- -- dried seaweed
		o sake- -- salmon
		o tarako- -- cod roe
		o tori- -- (almost raw) chicken
		o ume- -- Japanese plum
	* onigiri -- rice ball wrapped in dried seaweed
	* yaki-onigiri -- roasted rice ball (without seaweed)
	* (o)shinko -- Japanese-style pickles
	* nama yasai -- raw vegetables
	* kyabetsu -- cabbage
	* kyUri -- cucumber





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