A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Torpedo Soup (Malaysian bull’s penis soup) (2/17)
Khachapuri (Georgian cheese-filled bread) (2/17)
“Did you hear about the carpenter who drank too many screwdrivers? He got hammered” (2/17)
“Did you hear about the carpenter who drank on the job? He got hammered” (2/17)
Wok Chi (wok energy) (2/16)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from January 19, 2019
Yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken)

"Yakitori” (or “yaki tori") is a Japanese dish of chicken and vegetables on skewers, heated over a charcoal flame. “Yaki” means “roasted.” The skewering allows cooks to roast individual parts of the chicken.

“Tsuru no yakitori” was printed in the New York (NY) Times on January 30, 1896. “ Yaki-tori: roast chicken” was printed in the travel book Terry’s Japanese Empire (1914) by T. Philip Terry. “Yakitori” was printed in the Los Angeles (CA) Sunday Times on November 1, 1914.

“Yakitori is so delicious I cannot understand why it has not reached the States. It is a natural for our unnatural barbecue life” was printed in the book The Little World of Stanton Delaplane (1959) by Stanton Delaplane. Yakitori would finally come to most Japanese-American restaurant menus in the 1960s.


Wikipedia: Yakitori
Yakitori (Japanese: 焼き鳥) is a Japanese type of skewered chicken. Its preparation involves skewering the meat with kushi (串), a type of skewer typically made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials. Afterwards, they are grilled over a charcoal fire. During or after cooking, the meat is typically seasoned with tare sauce or salt.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
yakitori, n. 
Etymology: Japanese, < yaki toasting, grilling + tori bird.
A Japanese dish consisting of pieces of chicken grilled on a skewer.
1962 M. Doi Art of Japanese Cookery 69 Yaki-tori… Chicken Meat..cut into mouthfuls..and soak ten minutes in tare… Place skewered chicken directly over fire and broil.
1970 J. Kirkup Japan behind Fan 4 Yakitori stands selling bamboo skewers of roasted bits of chicken and liver.

30 January 1896, New York (NY) Times, pg. 16, col. 1:
JAPAN’S FINE COOKERY:
How an Honorable Dinner” Is Prepared and Served
TWENTY-TWO COURSES REQUIRED
Club of Japanese Young Men in Brooklyn—Raw Fish, and Rice Wine as Delicacies—Tea Making a Fine Art.
(...)
4. Tsuru no yakitori.
(...)
“Equivalent for the American turkey. This is a very large bird, with long legs. It is very expensive, and is always to be found in the honorable dinner. It is broiled.”

Google Books
Terry’s Japanese Empire
Including Korea and Formosa

By T. Philip Terry
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
1914
Pg. XLV:
Chicken (tori).  Iri-tori: chicken boiled and served with vegetable-oil.—Yaki-tori: roast chicken.—Tori-nabe: chicken stewed in a kettle or fried in a pan.

1 November 1914, Los Angeles (CA) Sunday Times, pt. 1, pg. 12, col. 1:
WRITERS OF TWO NATIONS DINE.
JAPANESE PHYSICIAN HOST AT BANQUET OF EMPEROR’S BIRTHDAY.
(...)
The menu was elaborate, including many of the choicest Japanese national dishes, such as suimono, chiwanmushi, sunomono, umani, takenoko, matsutake, yakitori, kuchitori, renkon, kamaboko, narazuke, kinton and yokan.

1 September 1934, Town & Country (New York, NY), “Tokyo Tea Party” by Lispenard Seabury Crocker, pg. 59, col. 1:
We passed from tent to tent, sampling the delicious Japanese dishes: (...) yakitori (slices of broiled chicken) ...

Google Books
Destination Tokyo
By Steve Fisher
New York, NY: D. Appleton-Century Company, Incorporated
1943
Pg. 23:
“We’ll have misi-shuri, gohan and suki-yaki, topped off with kasuteira. Or would you prefer yaki-tori?” She laughed warmly. “Yaki-tori,” she said.

“That sounds better. What is it?”

“Roast chicken.”

1 January 1944, Manzanar (CA) Free Press, “Yum, Yum, Yum!,” pg. 2, col. 2:
For the main course, the menu calls for kuchitori, datemaki, yakitori, teriyaki, umani, takenoko, fuki, sunomono, chirashi, ozooni, hot tea, fresh oranges and Japanese pickles.

23 June 1954, Seattle (WA) Times, “Chef Gives Recipe For Yaki Tori,” pg. 21, col. 1:
OSHIMI MORIZAWA’S YAKI TORI
(Barbecued Chicken)
1/2 small spring chicken boned, and cut into small cubes.
1-inch pieces of the white part of green onions
Place three pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of onion on metal or bamboo skewers, alternating the pieces beginning with the chicken. Broil until chicken is about three-fourth done. Dip prepared skewers into sauce.

Barbecue chicken over a charcoal fire. Repeat dipping process three times. Turn skewers to brown evenly. Cook until chicken is done. Do not overcook for chicken will dry out.

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups Japanese soy sauce. Be sure to use Japanese soy sauce, it is milder in flavor than the Chinese sauce.
4 tablespoons (3 heaping) sugar.
Heat slowly and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool sauce before using. Sauce that is cooled makes a better sheen.

17 January 1956, The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA), “Tokyo Restaurants Cater to Global Appetites” by Alice Forn Goodsell, pg. 12, cols. 3-4:
Yaki tori are delicious little snacks of chicken or pork on a skewer dipped in soy sauce and grilled over charcoal.

15 February 1956, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “How to Prepare Yakitori, Japanese Chicken: Scallions Also Used in Tasty Broiled Dish Thursday’s Menu” by Mary Meade, pt. 3, pg. 5, cols. 2-3:
Yakitori
The name means broiled chicken, and while the dish is usually prepared over a charcoal fire outdoors, it may be prepared in an oven broiler. Bone a broiler-fryer chicken of 1 1/2-2 pounds and cut meat into 1 1/2 inch squares. Using wood or metal skewers about six inches long, skewer pieces of chicken and scallion alternately. Mix 3/4 cup shoyu [soy sauce], 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup sake. Dip skewered chicken and scallions in the sauce and broil about 4 inches from heat. Baste with the sauce three or four times during broiling. Serve hot, sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Do not broil too long or meat will be dry. Pork or veal may be used instead of chicken. Chicken livers may be added to the skewers with the other meat of the bird.

20 April 1957, Saturday Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, HI), pg. 9, col. 3 ad:
Try our—ODEN, YAKI TORI AND SUKIYAKI DINNERS
(Oasis Cafe & Night Club, 2944 Waialae.—ed.)

April 1958, Woman’s Day (New York, NY), “Japanese Cookery” by Kay Morrissey Thompson. pg. 80, col. 3:
YAKITORI
While yakitori itself means “roasted chicken or bird” (yaki meaning roasted and tori meaning bird), this one episode could be expanded to what is called yakimono, or “roasted things,” like a mixed grill for outdoor cooking. Small meat balls could be skewered with attractive vegetables, or a variety of seafood: shrimps, scallops, lobster.

Frying chicken
Green peppers
Green onions
Mushrooms
1 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 cup sake or sherry
Ajinomoto or monosodium glutamate

Remove chicken from bones and cut in bite-size pieces. Also cut vegetables in very small pieces. Place on skewers. Mix the sauce ingredients and marinate the skewered chicken and vegetables for an hour or so. Broil over charcoal preferably, basting frequently with the sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Google Books
The Little World of Stanton Delaplane,
Being Stanton Delaplane’s observations of the lighter side of life on our small planet

By Stanton Delaplane
New York, NY: Coward-McCann
1959
Pg. 246:
The other night we went down to Shibuya district in Tokyo to eat the yakitori. Yakitori is so delicious I cannot understand why it has not reached the States. It is a natural for our unnatural barbecue life.

Yakitori is chicken on little wooden spits. It is dipped in a mixture of soyu sauce and spices and broiled over charcoal. Just before serving, they dip it in the sauce again. The hot dog of Japan.

10 June 1960, The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA), pg. 5, col. 3: 
Yakitori Explained
If you order yakitori in a restaurant in Japan, you get the Oriental version of barbecued chicken.

Serious Eats (June 2016)
The Food Lab: The Secret to Perfectly Imperfect Yakitori (Japanese-Style Grilled Chicken Skewers)
J. KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT
(...)
Most yakitori restaurants will offer only two options for flavoring: salt and white pepper, or a sweet soy-sauce-and-mirin glaze (tare, more generically known in the US as teriyaki sauce). And the cooking technique doesn’t vary much, either. Everything served in a yakitori house will inevitably be threaded onto short bamboo skewers and slow-cooked over a specially designed charcoal grill that allows the chef to continuously rotate the meat, keeping it juicy and developing a crust that’s perfectly browned, with just the slightest hint of char.

And yet, going to a first-rate yakitori joint in Tokyo is sort of like sidling up to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Golden Corral: You can be paralyzed by choice.

YouTube
Japanese Yakitori Is a Chicken-Lovers Dream | Food Skills
First We Feast
Published on Aug 21, 2017
Though yakitori is often labeled as Japanese bar food, grilling the perfect chicken skewer takes a master’s touch. At Torishin, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, head chef Atsushi Kono is elevating the beloved street snack to new heights, earning a three-star review from The New York Times in the process. Delicately seasoned with salt and tare sauce, yakitori utilizes every part of the chicken in order to stimulate the senses. One of Torishin’s savory, char-grilled skewers is enough to turn any fine-dining fan into a Japanese food obsessive.

Eater
Watch: The Only Michelin-Starred Yakitori Restaurant in America
At NYC’s Torishin, chef Atsushi Kono uses every part of the chicken

by Eater Video Feb 28, 2018, 5:06pm EST
Chef Atsushi Kono’s favorite part of a chicken is its main artery, known colloquially in his native Japan as hatsumoto. But not one to play favorites, Kono honors each chicken by using every part of the bird, from that coveted artery, to neck skin and belly skin, to even the knee bone.

Kono is the presiding chef of New York City’s Torishin — a Michelin-starred restaurant that specializes in yakitori, Japanese-style skewered and grilled chicken. “Yakitori allows you to enjoy specific parts of the chicken separately,” says Kono. “Customers can enjoy the different flavor, texture, and fat of the chicken.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, January 19, 2019 • Permalink