Yakitori: Healthy and Inexpensive Food in Tokyo, Japan
In central Tokyo, just around the corner from Shinjuku station, there is a little alley that I like to call “Yakitori Lane”. The official name is Omoide-Yokocho, which translates to Memory Lane. Lined with small, narrow, old-timey yakitori joints brimming with locals, it’s a world away from pushy over-priced touristy places. As soon as you turn the corner from Shinjuku station, you’ll notice the smoke and steam spilling out onto the alley. Yakitori cuisine is usually chicken on a skewer that is grilled. In many cases you will often find other sorts of grilled meats on the menu. Typically, the grill and the chef face the street so you can take a peek at what’s on the menu. Once inside, you’ll likely be the only foreigner. Ordering in a yakitori restaurant is hardly a problem. Just point to anything that looks good and you’ll soon be munching away at a variety of grilled meats and seafood on skewers. Each order typically comes with two skewers and prices start at ¥400 ($4 USD). I usually go for the chicken, pork and grilled mackerel. The food is served hot and lightly seasoned with lemon and salt. The menu a nice change of pace from sushi, soba, and 7-11 snacks. So venture off the beaten path and find this local secret that became my favorite spot in Tokyo.