Yakitori Joints in Hong Kong for the Most Succulent Skewers
by: The Beat Asia
September 14, 2022
Yakitori! You've most likely spotted these popular, succulent treats in Japan, but you can also find them in Hong Kong if you know where to look. Yakitori is made of bite-sized chicken pieces, sometimes of the offal and other innards, the meat impaled on bamboo skewers and set on the grill to go brown with a hint of char.
Yakitori emerged during the Meiji period (around the 1880s-90s), a time when it was prohibited to eat meat from animals like cows, horses, and cocks. According to the Michelin Guide, wild birds like pheasant and duck were considered "medicinal" then, so they were consumed for their nutritional value. Today, yakitori does not just pertain to chicken meat, as you can find beef and pork labelled as "yakitori" even though the term literally translates to "roasted bird."
To get your yakitori fix in Hong Kong, check out these four places.
Want to sample 30 parts of the chicken, yakitori-style? Head on over to Toritama, Tokyo's authentic neighbourhood yakitori joint, in Central. You won't just get to try the white meat of the chicken here, but also the neck, coccyx, Achilles heel, and the so-called oyster, among others. Afterwards, you can top off your meal with a bowl of mitarashi ice cream. Toritama is open from Monday to Saturday, from 5 PM to 10 PM. Guests are required to use the "LeaveHomeSafe" app before entering the restaurant's premises.
This popular restaurant in Wan Chai hails from Osaka, Japan, and was started in 2010 by yakitori master Shin Kawaguchi. Its two-level location at The Oakhill can accommodate 12 guests in main dining rooms and eight in the private VIP room. It prides itself for its premium free-range jidori chickens from Nara that are bred for 150 days, thus giving its skewers that coveted chewy texture. Yakitori Yamato is open from Monday to Saturday, from 6 PM to 12 midnight.
Birdie, located in Central, is a yakitori joint under the 298 Nikuya meat house brand in Hong Kong. The brand's other Central-based restaurants include the 298 Nikuya Room at the Pearl Oriental House and Japanese cutlet bar Porker along Cochrane Street. Apart from a selection of rice bowls and noodles, salads, and appetizers, you'll most love Birdie's yakitori skewers, which include the chicken thigh, neck, liver, heart, wing, and gizzard, among others.
If you're a Hong Konger and love yakitori, then you've probably heard of Nantei, one of the joints that lead the izakaya boom in the region. It currently has three locations in Hong Kong, namely in Central, Happy Valley, and Tsim Sha Tsui; two in Macau, and one branch in Thailand. It offers classic yakitori skewers like chicken heart, soft bone, liver, thigh, and gizzard, as well as novel ones like chicken wing stuffed with mentaiko (pollock roe) or goose liver and black truffle.
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