Fork Photos :: Daikichi Yakitori in Kyoto, Japan

Yakitori is one of Japan’s many signature dishes.  The term literally means “grilled chicken” but loosely refers to skewered food cooked over an open flame using white charcoal.  Everything from chicken thighs to chicken hearts are grilled on a stick, plus vegetables and even rice.

Daikichi Yakitori in Kyoto, Japan.

During our time in Kyoto we found a yakitori restaurant nearby our hotel, Daikichi Yakitori.  It was a local chain restaurant that we saw all over the city, and I’m not ashamed to admit we ate there more than once.  The food was simple but incredibly flavorful.  And we were able to watch the chef grill foods from our table, providing the perfect dining entertainment.

We had a great conversation with the chef, who grew up in San Francisco.

We started with yakitori staples: chicken thighs, grilled peppers (called piman), grilled onions and rice; eventually we ordered chicken skin, chicken meat balls, leeks and other vegetables.  I regret that I didn’t try the chicken hearts or chicken liver, but next time they’re at the top of my list!  The foods are grilled for only a few minutes, maintaining their natural juiciness or crunchiness, then quickly tipped in a tare sauce (a teriyaki-like sauce).

Yakitori chicken, peppers and onions.

Since we’ve been back from Japan, my dad has been on a mission to replicate the foods we ate there.  After a failed ramen attempt, he’s done really well with the yakitori.  Tonight we had chicken thighs, green peppers (specially purchased at the Asian Food Market) and rice (of course).  I think he’s almost perfected the technique!

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