A quick study of chicken. And chicken parts.
Big Brother aka Baby Juan Monkey aka Brah Brah and I arrived at Kansai International Airport (KIX) within minutes of each other. We didn’t really plan the timing, the plane I was on just decided to delay itself. I kid, I kid. After getting a little lost (thank Sweet Baby Jesus for Google Maps) trying to find our Airbnb, we were pretty much starving for dinner at 10pm.
After taking a look at the ramen shop next door we decided to round the corner and head towards Family Mart just in case we couldn’t find anything interesting. We were wrong. Right on the corner, across from Minami Elementary School, was a not-so-hidden yakitori bar/izakaya. There was a menu outside and we started browsing but everything was in Japanese so we fail. It was intriguing though so we ended up going inside, sitting at the bar (my fave), and attempting to communicate with broken sign language. The two guys running the place were kind enough to give us menus with English translation for easy ordering. In front of us, a bunch of simple charcoal grills cooking different things simultaneously.
Most everything was a chicken dish since やき or yaki means “to cook over direct heat” and とり or tori means chicken. So we had all kinds of chicken and mostly chicken parts. Gross? Nahh, it was amazing. To use up every single part of an ingredient is quite a challenge and very impressive when done well. We also had some non-chicken dishes and we started with a simple cucumber dish. Now, I’m not a fan of cucumber but we fought over it as always. The dressing tasted like ponzu? Let’s just say it’s that.
Our first chicken dish consisted of fried chicken diaphragm with meat butter and soy sauce. I’m not sure what meat butter is exactly but the chewy chicken diaphragm combined with the crunchy onions and shiso leaves made for an excellent mix of flavors. Very tasty. Next thing that came out was the yam with soft boiled egg on top. A little slimy but crunch and with some egg and small veggies is always welcome. That was also the last of non-chicken dishes.
We were then greeted by grilled chicken hearts. Perfectly charred and chewy with a little teriyaki-ish glaze. Chicken hearts are surprisingly small compared to the size of chickens that I’ve seen in my lifetime (not a lot). Next was my ultimate fave, chicken gizzards. Gizzards are found in the digestive tract of certain animals. I’m not exactly sure what they do but they are delicious. It’s also chewy but tougher than chicken hearts. If you overcook it, it can becomes rubbery and there’s no telling how long you’ll be chewing. A quick squeeze of lime and down the hatch it went. The lime gave a slight sweet and sour distinction to the smoky charcoal flavor. Yum.
Finally, chicken meat. We had kukoronokori which I’m not really what part of the chicken it is and rare chicken breast. Both had skin on cause that’s the only way to go! Just kidding, I took the skin off because I have to lose weight. Tender is the word. Just some salt and pepper to season and another squeeze of lime. Boom. Delicious. I don’t recall ordering the chicken breast though and the chef was just kinda pushing it towards us once he finished cooking. I’d like to think we got it for free as a small welcome to Osaka :]
Everything was washed down with a whiskey highball for me and a beer for Brah Brah. We weren’t completely full afterwards but decided to head out and swing by Family Mart for some onigiri (Japanese rice ball), candy, and bottles of water for me. I find it to be more of an after dinner place for drinks and some snacks on the side but I’m really glad we stopped by Sasaya.
Note: There are two Sasaya restaurants on that street and supposedly another one nearer to the Dotonbori area. I’m still glad we found this specific one in a quieter part of town that was run by 2 guys and only big enough to fit around 15 people.
ささや 備長炭 やきとり Sasaya Binchotan Yakitori
1/F 1 Chome-13-9 Higashishinsaibashi
Osaka-fu, Japan 〒542-0083
+81 06 6251 2333
Monday to Sunday 1800H – 0500H (Last order at 0430H)