I am a carnivore first and animal-lover second. I don’t care what those gluten-free brownie-baking, Kombucha-drinking, and Tofurkey-eating San Franciscans think. I like my meat. I once cooked 5 pounds of baby back ribs in my slow cooker and ate it for a week and a half straight. There was also the time I thought I could eat a whole family meal from KFC in one sitting all by myself. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea at the time. I admitted defeat pretty quickly and had to call in the troops for help.
Grilling is not just an American past time. The Japanese do it too, perhaps even better. No surprise there. They seem to have everything down to perfection – from their food, to their architecture, to their eerily polite and well-behaved children. Not that I’m complaining. My friend Andrew who just moved to Tokyo a few months ago observed, “The children here don’t misbehave in public and even the dogs don’t bark. If you hear a toddler cry on the streets, it’s probably because they’re foreigners.”
Like me, Andrew can be pretty greedy with food. He knows where all the good eats are and took me to a Izakaya called Aburiya Fudo near Naka-Meguro Station, known for it’s charcoal-grilled organic meats. Izakayas are essentially bars that serve alcohol with food, usually yakitori (grilled meats). Depending on the izakaya, customers either sit on cushions on top of tatami (rice straw) mats and dine from low tables or at the bar sans shoes. I love the intimacy of these cozy little bars and the feeling of tatami against the soles of my bare feet. It’s almost like being welcomed into someone’s home.
Sake from “Turtle Springs”
I kept walking past this little yakitori stall during my stay in the Azubu Juban neighborhood. I was so full from being constantly fed by my Andrew that I never had enough stomach space for this little guy until nearly my last day in Tokyo.
We also visited a izakaya that is known for it’s cuts of pork. I don’t know the name of this place, but it shares a cramped space with several other drink and food establishments, such as Uomaru Honten. The atmosphere is lively, filled with chatter and merry-making salarymen happily drinking away their worries. Yurakucho Yakitori Alley is also close by, which I heard is a must do for meat lovers.