While many people still associate Japanese cuisine with sushi, it is far more diverse and varied. Izakayas are casual places where people grab a beer and small plates of different foods. One popular dish at izakaya is chicken yakitori (left).
The exceptional products from lesser known or emerging producers makes our World Dinner Club December box quite special, like soy sauce that is micro-brewed in small batches and finished in bourbon barrels.
For more information, including vegetarian options check out HungryGlobetrotter.com’s Recipes and More Section.
What does izakaya mean exactly? In Japanese, "Iru" means "stay" and "sakaya" means "sake shop." So a sake shop that you would hang out and eat snacks in, while grabbing something to drink, would be an izakaya. The equivalent in Spain is tapas and in Italy you have the enotecca.
Most izakayas are very casual places where people head after work. However, in both Japan and the United States, some trendy ones have emerged where small plates of food of all kinds are served, and the checks are anything but small. There’s also a lot of innovation in Japan with izakaya chefs serving western foods, like sausages, alongside local classics.