Celebrated my birthday earlier this week with some yakitori from one of my favorite spots, Honda Ya.
Yakitori basically consists of grilled meets on a skewer. It’s the perfect accompaniment to beer and is served at izakaya all over Japan. Every time my friend Nat and I hit up Honda Ya, we like to try a little bit of everything. We’ve tried everything on their yakitori menu and it’s all good. Certain things are a must have though.
Above from left to right; chicken skin, beef tongue and chicken gizzard. I know what many of you are thinking. It all sounds awful right? Don’t be so quick to judge. These are all extremely tasty parts of the animal that are typically discarded in this country. But throughout the rest of the world, they’re just as common as eating chicken wings or roast beef. The chicken skin is delicious. It’s extremely crispy on the outside and has a nice soft texture. If you’ve ever eaten the skin on a roasted chicken, this is no different. The beef tongue is especially deceptive. If I were to eat it blindfolded, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between it and another cut of beef. It has all the beef flavor and is just as tender, if not more so. The gizzard also has a very nice dark meat flavor. It’s a lot more robust than other cuts. The big hurdle with the gizzard is the texture. I’ve found that most Americans, myself included have a difficulty with tough, chewy and gelatinous textures. The gizzard is all of the above. But you get used to it over time and eventually you’ll notice the taste over anything else. We also ate a bunch of other meats including pork belly, chicken heart and liver. Here again, great flavor but it can be a texture battle for some. Honda Ya is one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. It has a great atmosphere and is always packed. It one of the most authentic Japanese restaurants I’ve been to outside of Japan.