Posted by: Jeffsayyes | March 21, 2011

A Yakitori Love Story – Japan Ambassador with Yasushi Sasaki

Here is Betty Chung with her write-up of the Japan Yakitori Ambassador with Yasushi Sasaki. We were very lucky to have him arrange this afternoon, where the chefs at Tori Shin (1193 1st Ave) dissasembled a chicken, showed us the qualities of each section, and explained the intricacies of cooking yakitori. This was one of the few ambassadors that I actually got to go to and felt vindicated in hearing the chefs appreciating the same parts of the chicken that I appreciate (tuchus, crispy skin over the opening, oysters). Thanks Yasushi and thank you Tori Shin for the great experience! —Jeffrey Tastes

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And check out Quest of Au Gourmand‘s rundown of yakitori and our demonstration for the day.
Eat Your World also analyzes the Demonstration on their Bittersweet Yakitori

My Photo set

A Yakitori Love Story by Betty Chung

He was a large, free range chicken from a Pennsylvania farm. I was hungry girl who had traveled from Brooklyn for lunch. Suzuki, our chef for the afternoon, introduced us and at first sight, I was in love.

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After some generous pours of cherry blossom sake, I loosened up a bit and was determined to get to know these chicken parts better. Suzuki took great care to show us the best parts removed directly from the chicken – from the torokawa (skin of the back) to the teba (wing), harami (rib) to the momo (thigh). He then skewered these pieces artfully and deliciously, ready for the grill.

I had the chance to season and grill the object of my desire. Suzuki taught me to baste the yakitori with a sake/seaweed sauce, followed up with three shakes of salt and pepper. I then laid the yakitori on a super hot grill fueled by special charcoal made of oak. At this point, I started sweating and escaped to the other side of the grill and left the rest up to the experts.

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Eight yakitori were served – starting with a delicious chicken meatball. My favorites were the bonjiri (tail) and the hatsu (heart), and because I couldn’t get enough, I also ordered the reba (liver). We were encouraged to use two types of pepper – spicy or green – and I used a lot of both.

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I had a hot and yummy afternoon with my beloved chicken. And while I knew I would never see him again (because juicy, meaty parts of him were in my belly), I will always remember him as my first yakitori love.

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Tori Shin
1193 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 988-8408

The Ambassador Program has an expert in a culture lead their dream meal with a group of guests. The guests pay for the ambassador and the experience is written up online so the learning can continue. If you would like to be an ambassador, please find a way to contact me.

Other accounts of the Yakitori Ambassador:

Quest of Au Gourmand Intro and Demonstration
Eat Your World Bittersweet Yakitori

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