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Yakitori asian barbeque with Obento and Oriental Merchants

Yakitori with Oriental Merchants

The flame is as fundamental to Asian cooking as barbeque is to ours, with origins deep and variations broad as you move across Asia's continents and cultures in search of ultimate flavour.

For Westerners, barbeque dates back to the 17th century Arawak of the Caribbean. These good folk put meat on sticks, cooked them over fire and called it “barbacoa”. Asian barbeque predates this considerably, however, with the Maek tribe of Korea putting meat and veg on skewers and grilling them over fire as far back as 37BCE.

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Authentic cultural experience

One important contribution to the Asian barbeque scene, and one that is taking hold in Australia, is yakitori. This Japanese tradition dates back to the early 1600s and is arguably the most popularised type of modern Asian barbeque. In Japan, yakitori has its own culture and is served in izakaya (a bar with snacks) all over Japan.

“Yaki” means to cook over direct heat, and “tori” means bird – in this case, chicken. Despite its name having a poultry reference, yakitori can include any meat and vegetables marinated in soy-based sauces, generating a more savoury taste than some of the sweeter marinades you’ll find in other Asian barbeque.

Izakaya are as culturally important to Japan as pubs are to Australia. Many street stalls are are also dedicated to yakitori, with the culture centring around snacking with drinks. Stopping in the street or at an izakaya is a staple of urban Japanese life, and the typical Japanese worker can be seen enjoying beer or sake with a progression of yakitori after work.

Yakitori is traditionally enjoyed in izakaya in Japan

In Japan, yakitori has its own culture and is served in izakaya all over Japan.


Evolve your barbeque repertoire

Whether it’s on the street or in izakaya, yakitori is hard for anyone to resist. With such sweet and savoury flavours, cooked over high heat to lock in juiciness, the process of grilling creates a pleasant smokey aroma that will have your mouth watering before you can even lay eyes on what is being cooked.

Our barbeque culture is a perfect and easy starting point to explore the delicious playground that is yakitori. Recreating its authentic flavours in the backyard with friends and family is as simple as taking an Obento sauce, marinating, and grilling.

Explore this grilled chicken yakitori recipe using Obento yakitori sauce.

Published on
29 Nov 2022


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