All About Japan

Top 10 'Izakaya' Foods You Need to Know

Food & Drink Izakaya Japanese Food Nightlife Rankings Nagoya

4. Sashimi (刺身)

While izakaya are well-known for fried dishes, fish fans can usually still find raw fish, or sashimi. Tuna or salmon are the most common fish, but more upscale izakaya might offer nicer cuts, such as Japanese sea bream (tai) or yellowtail (hamachi). Don't go expecting sushi, though—these are purely slices of fish, with no rice involved.

3. Yakitori (焼き鳥)

Sometimes you just can't beat the simplicity of meat on a stick. Yakitori, which means grilled chicken, is a classic skewered piece of chicken meat that can come from several different parts of the chicken. Usually you'll find thigh meat, called momo, but be on the lookout for liver, skin, cartilage or heart yakitori—not to mention variants with pork and vegetables!

2. Edamame (枝豆)

As we near the top of our list, we must introduce the most popular starter in Japanese restaurants. Even outside of Japan, edamame hardly need an introduction. These soybeans are ubiquitous in izakaya, and if they aren't given to you as otoshi, they can be ordered from the menu. Salted to perfection, edamame and some chilled sake are an amazing way to wind down after a hard day of work.

1. Kara-age (唐揚げ)

Kara-age goes hand-in-hand with draft beer to celebrate the end of a work day, and it's hard to imagine an izakaya without these juicy bits of fried chicken. While kara-age is simple to make at home, this dish is always one of the more moreish pub snacks and your group will likely order plate after plate. If this is the case for you and your friends, perhaps you should take a trip out to this all-you-can-eat fried chicken joint!

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