A favorite Japanese food of mine is yakitori [焼き鳥]. It is not just the often boisterous and happy places where you can eat it, meet “the locals” and study your Japanese language lessons. But it is also the idea of eating most parts of an animal with hardly any waste. While saying this, I must admit that there are parts of the chicken that I find difficult to eat.
Yakitori with spring onion and tsukune [捏ね], small balls or larger ovals of minced chicken formed around the skewer, with some shichimi [七味] on the side are many people’s first choices. And who would not like chicken stuffed shiitake and for many people also, yakitori chicken wings. Very nice when in season are grilled ginnan [銀杏], the fruit of the ginkgo tree or fresh juicy slices of new onion. Absolutely not from the chicken but absolutely delicious are fresh green asparagus wrapped in (pork) bacon.
In a chicken restaurant in Osaka’s Fukushima area, many years ago for the first time in my life, I ate grilled avocado with half frozen kizami wasabi (chopped wasabi), and Japanese mayo. Whenever I am in Osaka I will do my utmost to return to this place even if it is only to have this avocado!
For most Western people, including me, it starts getting more difficult with the offal. I actually do really love chicken livers, the stomach is okay and even the heart. But from there on I draw the line. I do not like a skewer of chicken cartilage, tendon or skin. However, a beautifully cooked chicken neck, I do. And least of all, bonjiri, the pope’s nose or by its Latin name the uropygium, the part of the chicken at its bum that holds the tail feathers. It is greasy, oily and it is said to be a powerhouse of nutrition.
I saw the chef there cut these bonjiri. An eye opener, how with clever knife skills you can cut the meat away from the bonjiri. Please have a look at this little video. What should I say? Do or don’t try this at home?
Jeannette Stakenburg, Hoevelaken, September 5, 2021
Jeannette Stakenburg と申します。アムステルダムに生まれました。40年前Hoevelakenに引っ越しました。
I had been working for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for 37 years as a member of the cabin crew. The last 12 years as senior purser. I retired a few years ago after having flown around the world numerous times. The visiting of foreign countries kindled my love of cooking. During the years my culinary hobby evolved, and since 2008 I have been giving Japanese cooking classes on a regular basis and with great enthusiasm.
I got more and more interested in Japan, not only from the culinary point of view but also from a cultural and language point of view. Regular visits to different language schools in Japan allowed me to immerse myself into all of these aspects.
I shall be happy to share with you my experiences with Japanese food in a regular culinary column on JACCU.