We often encounter the word “yaki (焼き)” when eating at Japanese restaurants. This word means baked, broiled, fried, grilled, or roasted, and most Japanese foods that have “yaki” in their names are cooked using these methods. Check out these 10 popular Japanese “yaki” dishes!
One popular “yaki” dish that originated in Kansai (関西) is okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake consisting of thick batter, shredded cabbage, and various meat ingredients.
The Japanese word “okonomi (お好み)” means “choice” or “preference,” hence this scrumptious snack is grilled according to your taste or liking. Choose from a wide selection of ingredients such as pork, scallop, squid, octopus, mentaiko, cheese, bacon, and noodles.
Tokyo (東京) has its own version of okonomiyaki called “monjayaki.” Unlike the former, however, monjayaki uses a more liquidy batter. It is also thinner and less fluffy as compared to the Kansai variant.
Tsukishima (月島) is a place in Tokyo famous for its monjayaki restaurants. These restaurants also serve okonomiyaki, perfect for those who would want to have a taste of both.
Takoyaki is another popular snack from Osaka. Small pieces of octopus or “tako (蛸)” and shredded cabbage are mixed with batter and grilled on a cast iron pan to form into small balls. This mouthwatering street food is best enjoyed when topped with mayonnaise, green onions, and bonito flakes.
Teriyaki is one of the cooking methods in Japan wherein meat is marinated in a special sauce made of soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar before grilling or broiling. The sugar in the sauce makes the meat look “teri (照り),” or glossy and shiny in English, which explains the origin of this dish’s name.
Yakisoba is stir-fried buckwheat (soba) noodles. It is mixed with thinly sliced pork, cabbage, carrots, and scallions, garnished with red pickled ginger.
Yaki Udon is similar to yakisoba, but makes use of thicker wheat flour noodles called “udon.”
Yakitori is grilled or skewered chicken or “tori (鳥).” It also refers to other chicken meat parts such as breast, heart, and intestines that are cut into bite-sized pieces, skewered, and roasted on a charcoal grill. Choose from tare (sweet) or shio (salt) as flavors for this juicy snack, which is best partnered with beer.
“Yakiniku” literally translates to “grilled meat.” Similar to a barbecue, various meat parts (usually beef, pork, offal, or seafood) are cut into small and thin pieces and cooked on top of a grill.
Teppanyaki is another way of Japanese cooking wherein food is cooked or grilled on an iron griddle or “teppan (鉄板).” Dishes mentioned earlier such as okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and yaki udon, as well as steak, chicken, shrimp, and scallops, are grilled on this thick flat iron plate.
Dorayaki is a Japanese dessert consisting of two pieces of small pancakes sandwiched together with a sweet azuki or red bean filling. The shape of this sweet snack is identical to a gong or “dora” in Japanese, which explains the origin of its name.
Aside from azuki, other popular fillings include “matcha” or green tea, cheese, chocolate, and custard.
Taiyaki is a fish-shaped waffle with a sweet filling. Its shape takes the form of “tai (鯛),” meaning “red sea bream,” which explains where it got its name. Similar to dorayaki, the common fillings for this beloved snack are azuki, custard cream, chocolate, and matcha.
These Japanese “yaki” dishes are all-time favorites of many. They are so appetizing and flavorful that you would not want to miss trying them out. So grab some and have a taste of these delectable snacks!