Thursday, 6 January 2011


Izakaya (居酒屋) are traditional Japanese pubs, which also serve food. They're recognisable by the red lanterns hanging outside, such as the ones above, which denote good value eating establishments.

When you arrive you'll usuallly be given a hot towel (oshibori) and a small appetiser (otoshi). It might seem strange to be given food you didn't order - and for which you'll be asked to pay later - but it's customary, and when you consider that there's no tipping, it's really quite reasonable.

Food on offer often includes the likes of chicken skewers (yakitori), fried chicken (karaage), raw fish (sashimi), edemame beans, and tofu.

As with anywhere in Japan, before tucking in, it's polite to say "Itadakimasu!"


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