Book review and giveaway: Izakaya, the Japanese Pub Cookbook

izakaya.pngWhen a Japanese person dreams of quitting his or her rat-race job and opening a restaurant, the type of restaurant they usually envision is either a kissaten or kafe (a café-restaurant) or an izakaya. An Izakaya (居酒屋)is a small traditional pub that serves food, rather like a Spanish tapas bar. Many are quite tiny, with just the counter and maybe a few tables. The best ones are run with a lot of passion and love, and have fiercely loyal customers.

Izakaya, the Japanese Pub Cookbook conveys the atmosphere and love of food and good sake that are hallmarks of good izakaya perfectly. Written by Mark Robinson, an Australian journalist who fell in love with izakaya establishments in Tokyo, with gorgeous photography in both color and black and white by Masashi Kuma, it is part cookbook and part ode to the cult of the izakaya. You don't just get recipes here, even though it's called a cookbook. There are profiles of izakaya masters, useful advice on izakaya etiquette, notes on sake types, anecdotes and a lot more. I think it can reside as happily on a bedside table as in the kitchen - a quality I look for when I buy cookbooks.

The recipes themselves vary in difficulty. The main difficulty you will encounter is the availability of ingredients. But the photos and descriptions are so enticing, that you'll want to try them out anyway. And there are plenty of simple, home-cooking type recipes here, since izakaya cooking is nothing fancy. It's really a refined form of good old 'mom's' home cooking, as opposed to the haute cuisine that is served in formal restaurants - friendly and accessible.

Some recipes that caught the eye of The Guy, who just loves this book (and loves sake more than I do):

  • Japanese Style German Potatoes (potatoes with onion and bacon, flavored with soy sauce and butter)
  • Motsu Nikomi (Beef intestine stew)
  • Ichiyaboshi (Overnight dried fish)
  • Simmered Eggplant and Pork Loin
  • Gomadare Udon (Udon noodles with spicy sesame sauce)

Another likely outcome of reading this book is that you'll start researching airfares to Tokyo right away. I'm scheduled to go to Japan for a long-delayed satogaeri (homecoming) in the new year, and it reminded me to make some time for a little izakaya-hopping, even though I'm not much of a sake drinker.

Izakaya: the Japanese Pub Cookbook

And...of course there's a giveaway!

Yes my friends, I have one copy of the book to give away, courtesy of the publisher. If you would like to get your hands on this lovely book, just leave a comment here. Make sure to include your email address in the comment form section that says email address (not sure why many people miss it...but well, don't). And, to make it more fun, tell us what your favorite tipple is, and what you like to eat with it (doesn't have to be Japanese)!

The deadline for getting your comment in is 23:59:59 CET on Friday, September 18th. (Note: There was a problem with the spam filters protecting this site yesterday which preventing people from commenting, so I've extended the deadline by a day.)

The giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced next week. Thank you for entering!

Filed under:  books and media japanese washoku

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Maki, I'm so glad to see the NY times article. I've learned so much from both of your websites as I pack lunch and dinner 3-4 days a week for my husband who works full time and takes graduate courses at night. I don't know what I would have done without the bento idea as the American style box lunch is pretty boring. Thanks for all your hard work!

This book looks amazing... it's these simple, refined "mom's recipes" that I so covet.

My favorite tipple/nibble combo is a little embarrassing, but what can I say? I live in Minnesota. We have a local diner called the Town Talk. They make their own pickles. And deep fry them. Frickles! So good. Those, with a Dark and Stormy (ginger beer and rum and maybe some lime zest...not sure what all they put in those things but they are delish).

Maki, I'm so jealous. I really really want to visit Japan! Right now I'm hoping to be able to change my job soon, if that happens I'll be saving like mad for my once in a lifetime trip!
I hope you take plenty of pictures to share with us when you return from your trip next year.
My favourite tipple is a nice glass of red wine. Californian, Australian or Chillean.


PS the email address option doesn't appear for me, wonder why?

arkonitebabe, that's because you're already an insider, i mean, member of the JH/JB sites! No need to give me your email addy in that case :)

Thanks Maki, another case of engaging brain before asking a question!!

Maki, I'm so glad to see the NY times article. I've learned so much from both of your websites as I pack lunch and dinner 3-4 days a week for my husband who works full time and takes graduate courses at night. I don't know what I would have done without the bento idea as the American style box lunch is pretty boring. Thanks for all your hard work!

P.S. I hope that in 5-10 years I'll know more about sake and wine and cocktails but for now I'm just a dabbler. If I'm in a junk food mood it's all about a nice beefy burger and Coke or cream soda (with rum for good measure if I've got it). Otherwise I have to admit I adore coffee with something like cinnamon rolls or chocolate chip cookies but try not to make that my breakfast very often.

Ooooh I love izakaya food! I ate in them constantly when I was in Japan in January. There's quite a few opening where I live (Melbourne, Australia) at the moment - quite the trend.

I actually don't drink an awful lot - I'm a real lightweight. But I do enjoy an Indian beer (like Kingfisher) with a really hot curry. Hits the spot, particularly in summer.

I am equally jealous and have wanted to go to japan for a LOOOONG time. Have an awesome trip :D

I have this book, it was given to me as a birthday gift. However, it's made me terrified of innocently wandering into any izakaya, giving the impression that they fit 6 people and you immediately need to know what to order else you get glared at and thrown out! It's still a great book though :)

s. xx

[quote=anon.]However, it's made me terrified of innocently wandering into any izakaya, giving the impression that they fit 6 people and you immediately need to know what to order else you get glared at and thrown out![/quote]

Ah, then the book is helping you! Once you know what to expect available, you can find it quickly and save yourself embarrassing ejection!

this all sounds frightening lol! I am habitually slow to order anything too.... yikes.

Hi Maki, This book sounds great! I'm also planning a trip to Japan, but it's not so near as yours. My guy's mum is Japanese, and I look forward to meeting his family in Japan, as well as hiking and general sight-seeing (I'm nuts for tea and pottery). I like red wine as dessert, rather than with a meal--with a nice dark chocolate is lovely. And beer goes well with anything heavy, salty, or barbecued!
Thanks for your wonderful recipes, and contests.

I have to admit I am intrigued by Japanese pub food... there are quite a few izakayas here in Toronto but they always looked kinda expensive, so I assumed they were an upscale sushi sub-genre. Assumptions make an ass out of you and me, I guess.

My favourite combination at a pub is a Guinness with a poutine... it's SO RICH and SO GOOD but it makes me SO SLEEPY that I have to use it with caution. :D

Ooh, this book looks amazzzzing! I've actually been trying to explain the meaning of izakaya to a lot of freshmen at my school, so it'd be great to having something substantial to show them!

I'm in no way a connoisseur of such things, considering I am under 21 years of age. But what I do love, and it may be a bit cliche, is when my parents let me have one beer at home and that's usually a Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus (I know, my palate is untrained) and an amazing combination my mother made was fried soft shelled crabs with lettuce and a dash of lime and a mustard, red wine vinaigrette. My mother is a phenomenal cook - that's why I'm so excited to start cooking on my own with the help of her recipe books! ^_^

Though you said it doesn't have to be, my favorite recreational beverage is actually Japanese: Suntory Yamazaki whisky over ice. I first tried it at a Japanese restaurant in Milwaukee (, and then happily found it in the liquor store nearest my house for a very reasonable price.

At the restaurant, it goes well with a dish made of thin whitefish filet, shiso leaf, and a bit of red ume all battered and fried. At home, it's more likely to be tinned octopus in olive oil and crackers, because I tend toward laziness.

My favorite nibbles vary.

For a snack during the day I love a bowl of raman noddles minus the little packet with Ms. Dash & Cajen seasoning and sauted chicken with a glass of sweet tea

As far as at night Vanilla Wafers (little round vanilla cookies with a crunch) and peanut butter.

But my absolute favorite is cheeseburger macoroni with a big glass of chocolate milk.

Yes, I know I have very strange tastebuds what else can I say these are my favorite nibbles.

The book looks really really good!


Have a friend who introduced me to "Macoroci Pies" but i've never heard of "Cheeseburger Macoroni", i'd be curious to know what it is?

First time posting here and just wanted to say how much joy both this and JustBento have brought into my life. Thank you, Maki :)

My fav tipple is Maredsous, a dark and slightly sweet Belgian beer (malt liquor, really, at 10% alcohol). I'm somewhat boring regarding nibbles, going for pretzels or french fries.

My favorite Japanese drink, since you didn't ask, is Tantakatan (shiso shōchū). The fresh aroma of the shiso leaves combines with the warmth of the alcohol to make it the only drink I've ever described as "happy".

Great Site!
Favorite would be ginger beer...hummus w/blue corn chips

Great article and great information on the Japanese restaurants and recipes that are becoming more and more popular all over the world. Japanese food can be complicated so this is great. casino en ligne

Hmmm.... I really like chu-hi! Generally I prefer apple or grape flavor (melon is my favorite, but it's rarer), but the restaurant here that makes it has a Calpis flavor that I also like. And to go with that... potato croquettes!!! yummmmm

that sounds awesome. now I am hungry...

Oooo, that's a hard question, but I'll have to reply with an old formula that I can't resist: 1 cm of bread, 1 cm of butter, and 1 cm of caviar. Preferably black. Unfortunately, can't get that anymore even in the Moscow airport!

Accompanied by Russian "Standard" brand vodka.

Book looks great, and since I'm living in Hangzhou, China, I'll have to pop over to Tokyo to check these out!

This book looks fascinating. Reminds me of a place I used to frequent in Hikone, which I imagine qualifies as Izakaya, though I didn't know that word at the time.

My favorite drink, eh? That is a difficult question to ask. I would have to say it is the homebrewed sake from the Tanabata festival at Shigadai in Hikone during a rather wonderful summer several years back.

I really do like sake best, but there are all kinds of drinks I like which make it hard to decide.

I have been converting my boyfriend to Japanese food and I'm definitely on the look-out for home-style meals I can make!

My favourite tipple is red wine with anything or white port (from a small co-op in Portugal, serve chilled) with slices of cheese to nibble on.

That looks beautiful o.o.

Even the front cover is really pretty.

So, my favourite tipple... I actually don't do alcohol unless forced to by parents when I'm sick. However, I'm particularly fond of any form of iced tea -- iced earl grey is wonderful. I also tried mugicha once when I was in London. There was this *awesome* okonomiyaki restaurant that my sister and I visited, and that was where I first experienced mugicha *and* okonomiyaki.

That book looks wonderful. Since I'm planning to apply to teach English in Japan next year, tips on izakaya etiquette would come in very handy!

Hmm, I must say I don't drink very often. My favourite tipple used to be an amaretto sour but it didn't really lend itself to pairing with nibbles. These days I like to order a ginger ale with a splash of Angostura Bitters (try it; it's amazing) which goes really well with salty snacks. In terms of Japanese pub snacks, I had oyaki at an izakaya in Tokyo last year and they were incredible. I will definitely be chowing down on plenty of those next year!

This sounds like a wonderful book and I'd love to get my hands on it.

Living in New York, I'm lucky enough to have some semblance of izakaya food around me (Sake Bar Hagi, Izakaya Riki, etc.) but it's nothing compared to what I had in Tokyo on a blissful one-week business trip a few years back, where the dishes included buttery skate wing and mindblowing buta no kakuni.

My favorite drink-snack would be a sweet potato shochu on the rocks with plenty of squeezed lemon and some fried chicken gizzards. If you put enough lemon in the drink, you don't need to squeeze it over the chicken! A bite, a sip, a bite, a sip. Ah.

Looks wonderful! I have definitely found that, where I am (west coast BC) there is no shortage of sushi places but a DISTINCT lack of japanese pub-style locales. Maybe if we had more, it might let the city slow down from its frantic pace.


Love the website, love the sister website, can't WAIT to see the photos when you go back to Japan.


Ooh, my favorite drink is champagne, but I make do with wine on a regular basis. I love a good bottle of wine with almost anything, but particularly when going out for a nice meal. I always think wine tastes better at a restaurant!

I've got my fingers crossed for this one, I'd love a new Japanese cookbook to flip through. And my bedside table is currently looking for a new edition.... :)

The book looks very interesting! I am very easy to please snack-wise. I like a good cold beer and chips with hummus, salsa, guacamole...yum.

This books looks really awesome. When I was in Japan I was underage so I could not really enjoy the whole izakaya thing. I really want to go again to try out that whole scene. As far as drinks I do not have much experience besides your run of the mill beer/wine cooler kind of drinks and honestly do not care much for them. I am always interested in a new alcoholic beverage so when it is presented I give it a shot. I had a few red wines that were not half bad. I still have trouble with the taste of the alcohol itself. I just cant seem to enjoy the other flavors in the drink with it there. It is like a great conversation but there is this one rude loud guy who is distracting you lol. If I did have a snack with it I guess I could really enjoy this Japanese snack which is like a dried squid (kinda like squid jerky almost).... I dont know the name of it right now... Something savory would be necessary I think...

My favorite tipple is Hakutsuru Junmai Ginjo sake. I like it best with sushi, especially the sushi bombs at Bozu in Brooklyn.
If you're ever in Japan, my absolute favorite izakaya of all time is Ifuri Izakaya in Oono-shi, Fukui-ken. I took my husband's family there and they still talk about it as some of the best food they ever had. Oono is pretty rural (3 hours from Kyoto), but it's famous for its mascot, the itoyo fish, and also for having the third purest water in Japan, which is why its sake is so good. So there are plenty of excuses for you to go hang out at the izakaya there!

This book looks awesome. As I can't drink where I am from, no fave tipple but I love making random snacks ... vegan coffee snaps, mmmm

Nibble favorites change with the seasons. Right now, cheese and chutney on fresh bread. Redhook ESB. I want to make the potato salad, mmmm!

My favorite tipple is usually something sweet... we make our own plum wine every year and that's delicious, but I also like a good glass of sherry. And when we're drinking, it's usually a little gorgonzola or a milder cheese, together with some fruit, that accompanies it.

Sounds like a really interesting book, especially since it focuses on one of my favorite things - bar food! Anyway, my favorite drink and accompanying snack is a typical So Cal/Mexican treat - a michelada, or a beer with lots of lime juice and salt, served alongside some tortilla chips and salsa. Delicious and perfect for a hot summer's afternoon!

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I don't drink anymore, tho when I lived in Japan, those hyaku en shyochu nights at the izakaya were DA BOMB.

These days, my tipple is Lady Gray Tea, and I do like plain popcorn.

one evening at a Izakaya is one of mey best memory of my stay in Japan. For the tipple. Well, I would say marinated herrings, rye bread with a chilly glass of Aalborg snaps

Wow, thanks so much for writing this. I was very curious about this book and now I know I want it. It will also be perfect as a present for my partner.

Uh, I have a bad bad habit of eating Dubliner Cheddar (or a similar semi-hard complex cheese) with Sabal Oolek (no bread etc necessary) and a nice beer. Many others too, but that is my most odd thing that I can't resist. The sharp cheese and hot chili are soooo good together. But I don't think too many people would like the combo. You have to like cheese, spicy hot, and vinegar...together. And then I end up drinking the beer too quickly if it gets too hot....

My favorite tipple is beer, mostly hoppy varieties such as IPA, but almost anything other than the fizzle pale yellow stuff that is so popular world wide. Of course it can be paired with almost anything, even moreso than wine I imagine. There is great variety in beer, and therefore great possibilities.

What a great looking book! I've been missing Japanese food since I left Tokyo (don't feel too bad for me, living in Seattle means tons of great Japanese food is available).

I typically drink a vodka tonic with lime. But if I'm snacking as well, nothing beats vodka, ginger ale, and lime and a nice plate of jalapeno poppers. (In the summer of course.)

This cookbook looks great! I like having fried pickles, pizza, and garlic fries while drinking.

Hooray for a contest! Thanks for your Just Bento site! I'm a college student and taking lunch is a must for someone as broke as me! lol. Have fun in Japan! :)

Yeah, izakaya food are some of my best food memories from Japan. I've learned how to cook a few of them over the years, but this book sounds like a winner.

As for favorite combo, I'm particular to Belgian beers, though when I was in Japan I mostly went with mixed drinks. Kabocha croquettes definitely one of my favorite foods when I can find it.

The book looks like it would have a lot of fun recipes to try!

My standard bar order is a good ol' gin and tonic.

What a neat book! I love cookbooks that combine recipes with the stories behind them. Adds depth to the flavors.

I'm a growing fan of sake, though far from an expert. I love nigori. Just tried sparkling sake, which is interesting but feels kind of trendy. I also am learning more about good-quality green tea and how to brew it properly.

As far as nibbles... I love a good summer tomato bruschetta or salad of heirlooms drizzled with evoo and balsamic glaze, and maybe some fresh mozzarella and basil. But with sake or tea... a big fan of these little tufts of seasoned laver (Korean, I think?), ochazuke with beni shoga, and Vietnamese summer rolls.

PS - Just made your nasu no miso dengaku recipe this weekend. It didn't work so well in an old toaster oven, so I finished the eggplant in the microwave. They were a bit dry -- I'll try next time in the oven or pan. But loved the sauce. And my Southern friends really loved the dish!

Ooo, this looks pretty nifty. I'm under 21 and in the US, so my actual experience with alcohol is limited, but I do plan to travel to Japan in the next couple years, and I definitely like cookbooks. :3

Looks like a great book. Although I have never been to Japan, I love going to local Izakaya here in Portland and trying out all the different items.
As for favorite tippple, love shochu with different fruit juices. Although is is nearly impossible to find them here.

Oh oh oh...I've been wanting to get this book for a while. I've flipped through it many times, yearned for it even, but being on the unemployment line means that my entertainment options are few.

Seeing this though, puts me in the mood for a big bowl of udon noodles from the local noodle eatery, filled to the brim with delicious broth, steamed vegetables, plump shrimp and thin cuts of spicy beef, with a side of steamed and salted edamame. Washed down with some Momokawa Pearl sake of course.

That books looks like hours of fun and my bookshelf (and nightstand and kitchen counter) would make nice homes for it.

From now til February (when my baby makes it appearance to the world), my favorite drink/snack combo is a local apple cider with some sort of sharp cheese and crackers. Probably a cheddar, although the good ones are hard to come by here in Norway.

Pick me!

Some UK cider, with blood sausage and haggis.

Sure, my heart will stop while I'm eating it, but I'll die happy. ;)

ooooh, potential free stuff!

I like cured meat, olives, cheese, bread and beer together. though any food goes well with beer.

thanks a lot for the review, I've been amazon-ogling the book for quite a while. I'm typically a merlot, olive and pasta person, but britification makes me like stout and pub grub (chips and Linda McCartney vegetarian pies) more and more :)

Awww, this makes me miss the izakaya by the train tracks in the little town I lived in for a while (Mizonokuchi).

I love a good ume shu. So hard to find here! Strangely, the best one I ever tried was a 399 yen one from 7-11.

Beer & Clamato Juice- a typically Canadian concoction, as the rest of the world has not caught on to the deliciousness that is Clamato Juice.

Sweet potato fries with a spicy mayo dip- mmmmmmmm...yummy!

Ooh this book looks amazing! I'm not too sure what my favourite thing to eat/drink is, since all I can think of since seeing this post is Izakaya food... yum. There's a izakaya/yakitori bar near my house and a cold beer, some edamame, some yakitori, is all I want at the moment!

The book looks really interesting! Red Hot Bloody Mary's are my favorite drink and I love to nibble on green Calamata olives stuffed with garlic cloves while I drink them!

Ow, that sounds like a great book!

My favorite drink is strong tea (hot, naturally), preferably lapsang souchong or orange pekoe, with milk.
With that, a great snack is fresh (or semi-fresh) dates.

Looks like such a great book! I love your sites. It helps me feed my family well. =)

I absolutely love a good cup of hot toddy.

Favorite tipple would have to be, without a doubt, a nice red wine that isn't too dry, I'm not overly picky, with a really nice medium firm and slightly aged cheese(Oka from Quebec stand out in my mind) and some nice fruit(Grapes are probably the best). Delicious! Of course it's best enjoyed with good company as well!

(Also I'm from Canada, so if I don't count, I understand)

Oh how I love izakaya! I wish we had more of these around here. When we were in Japan recently I introduced my husband to them and I think he's pretty smitten, too. I'd love to win this! Pick me! Pick me! And just in case I don't win, I'm immediately putting this one on hold at the library. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Oh - almost forgot - I just had a lovely bottle of hitachino nest white ale with some veggie tempura and it was so tasty.

I'm not much of a drinker, but at an izakaya it's usually sapporo. fav snack there would be fries with mentaiko mayo. nom nom nom

sounds great! I love Japanese food. Have spent several years in Japan, but as a child & then as a student without much money, so didn't spend much time in izakayas. I've loved the places I've been, though...

Wow! I was just looking at this book at a sake tasting at SakeOne in Oregon. It is the self-proclaimed only American owned sakery.

My new favorite tipple(s) are saketinis - cocktails made with sake! I love meaty/fishy nibbles! Best are grilled steak with just flavor Hawaiian salt or pipikaula or smoked salmon or different varieties of Hawaiian poke (shoyu tuna, Hawaiian style tuna or kimchee tako or lomi lomi salmon)!

Thanks for making this giveaway available!

A lovely cassis cocktail with yummy korokke!

P.S. Love your recipes!

I'm a gaijin living in Japan right now. My izakaya experience has been quite lovely, despite a distressing lack of Japanese language knowledge. This might be partially due to the large number of foreigners living in my town and the fact that the residents are used to dealing with us. :)

My favorite tipple is, of course, Nihonshu! My favorite izakaya fare is Japanese style carpaccio with a scoop of potato salad on top. Mmmhmm.

The book sounds lovely! even if I don't win a copy, I will definitely be checking it out from my local library. Favorite tipples...

Alcoholic: champagne whether by itself, as a mimosa or in punch. I find it goes well with anything light - sushi, edamame, cheese with fruit and crackers.

Non alcoholic: good ginger beer or freshly made iced tea with a slice of lemon or lime and a hint of sugar. Good by themselves or with just about anything. Yum!

This post made me miss the Korean pub by my last apartment; spicy chicken wings and Hite, plus as many wasabi peas as you can eat!

Hello Maki! My absolute favourite izakaya-style dish is beef or tuna tataki. Heck make that tataki anything! I love the tangy ponzu sauce drizzled on seared fish and meat. And some delicious yakitori and deep fried foods! Of course, this all gets washed down with a good yuzu liqueur and a splash of soda water.

There's a theme going on here... ;)

One of my favorite drinks (that I can no longer get now that I'm out of Japan) is a non-potato shochu, like Tantakatan (made from green shiso) or Beni-Otome (sesame). You can really taste a hint of the original ingredient; it's really lovely.

Once, when I asked if the restaurant I was dining at carried Tantakatan, they said no, but they would be happy to bring out potato shochu with julienned green shiso and a plate of red shiso! It was soooo good!

(For pub food, I love fried nankotsu or bacon-wrapped mochi, though I don't think either would go very well with the shochu.)

I have a question that's rather off the topic right you know of any good recipes for a tasty taiyaki? I have one recipe already but I want to experiment with more.

Tough question, but rapidly falling for the izakaya-style restaurant around the corner that brews its own sake.

Book looks like an interesting read! You can't go wrong with a stein of Hoegaarden...

I would love this book! I don't really have a favorite tipple.

I think the best thing is to hang out at my favourite pub with all of my friends, and enjoy a pint of stout with a big 'ol plate of fries with malt vinegar. Yum! I think this preference belies my Scottish/English heritage more than anything else.

Awesome looking book! I'd say flan with sherry!

Izakaya is catching on in this part of the world too! one favourite combination is junmai sake with the very local bakkwa (salty-sweet, barbeque pork jerky). i also happen to like Orvieto Classico with another very local pastry, the beh teh sor (charcoal baked dry flaky pastry with toasted sesame oil caramel filling)

I really like the Izakaya chain Wan. They have this delicious dish called the ama ebi yukke. It's basically a pile of ama ebi with tiny cucumber sticks topped with an egg yolk and sesame. Mix it and it's ready. Delicious!

I really like the Izakaya chain Wan. They have this delicious dish called the ama ebi yukke. It's basically a pile of ama ebi with tiny cucumber sticks topped with an egg yolk and sesame. Mix it and it's ready. Delicious!

**I hope the comment doesn't appear twice, I had some technical difficulties while posting it.

That looks like a good book.

Great blog, btw. :)

This looks really lovely and interesting.

I don't drink much, but cider and a pasty is very nice.

the book sounds great :D
i don't drink alcohol so i don't have a favorite tipple.

Hmmn... My absolute favorite drink would have to be the one that my friend Dave whipped up, its made of really sugary lemonade, grenadine, and everclear. It tastes like pink lemonade and has the interesting effect of giving you a very fast and really intense buzz that goes away very very quickly. We call it Simple.

When I have it I am always reminded of plain white rice from the good takeout Chinese we use in Chicago. The first night I had it, that was what I was eating and everyone was amazed I could still manage to eat my rice with chopsticks while quite that intoxicated.

Hi Maki! I love receiving your posts! Living in NY, I usually go to Sake Bar Hagi and I usually have a really cold glass of Kirin or Sapporo with my food. I love the raw slimy squid with wasabi. I've been told you can get that in gas stations in Japan! Also, I really love grilled tuna collar. Yum! I would love to win this cookbook and make some of this amazing food at home.


This books looks really great. As a person of mixed Japanese heritage, I'm always interested in learning about my culture. I wish they had more pubs like you described where I live. Sometimes it is nice to relax with friends and enjoy some food without being rushed out.

Hm, I don't really drink, but I do enjoy a good cup of chamomile tea with rosemary broiled chicken breasts... yummm...!

Hey I never win anything. This might be the first time. :) That book does sound interesting :) I'll look for it if I am (as usual) unlucky.

I had to look up the word "tipple". I actually don't drink, merely because I don't like the taste of alcohol (except in various dishes and of course in chocolate). In any case, I am just beginning to dip my toes (or should I say 'tongue'?) in the Japanese language and culture (as you can read in my blog)--I've mastered hiragana and am on to katakana. I made my first bento just the other day using your Inarizushi recipe. It was delicious. :)


I have never been to Japan-- I WANT to so damn badly. But... I have seen many travel programs that include Izakaya.

They DO serve at times some... esoteric dishes. Which I would happily try. I'm something of an oddball that way.

Put me in for the giveaway-- I can't get there, maybe I can bring a part of it here...


I have never been to Japan-- I WANT to so damn badly. But... I have seen many travel programs that include Izakaya.

They DO serve at times some... esoteric dishes. Which I would happily try. I'm something of an oddball that way.

Put me in for the giveaway-- I can't get there, maybe I can bring a part of it here...

Wow, this book sounds fantastic ! I would love to have to look at airfares after reading it !!!!

I don't know much of Izakaya, but I went in a very small Yakitori restaurant where they served sake with some edamame, that was nice.

But for the moment my preference is still a nice Bordeaux wine with some good cheese and bread.

Wow, this book sounds fantastic ! I would love to have to look at airfares after reading it !!!!

I don't know much of Izakaya, but I went in a very small Yakitori restaurant where they served sake with some edamame, that was nice.

But for the moment my preference is still a nice Bordeaux wine with some good cheese and bread.

OH wow, I'd love to get ahold of that book. I still haven't been able to unearth my cook books since the move, I'm starting to worry they fell off the truck or didn't make it onto the truck :(

My favorite alcohol drink tends to switch between vanilla vodka and coke to black russians, and for munchies....oh it always changes, depends on the time of year. Right now YOU got me hooked on soba noodles for summer, but with fall coming I'll probably be hunting down pretzels and hummus again. I also like various forms of cheese and fruit with crackers.

Izakaya? This is the first time I heard of the actual Japanese word for those pubs I see on Japanese drama series. If I ever go to Japan, I can guarantee that I'd spend more time eating then sightseeing! I haven't been to any Izakaya-style places, but this really makes me want to try it out!
As for my favorite tibble, I actually had come across a recipe similar to your plum wine, except it was called Lemon Cello?(I'm not sure about the spelling) It called for lemons, vodka, and sugar and only needs to sit about a week! I love it mixed with club soda and eaten with vanilla sponge cake. I have a jar of your plum wine recipe sitting in my closet(I used strawberries instead of plums) and I must wait a few more months until I can taste it!

I'm a big beer drinker. I like to drink beer with... just about everything, hah. Mostly Aussie-style pub food, though. Like steak, or potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. Mmm.

I love Izakaya. When I am in Japan, I love to go to the ones in the local area and enjoy the food and drinks. :)

Best tipple and snack has to be still warm, homemade, crumbly, sweeet shortbread with very peaty single malt whisky like Talisker or even better Lagavulin.

I'm a Scottish chef planning a 4 week trip through Japan next year with my partner who is also a chef, so any Japanese food porn books are very much our number one splurge right now.

Looks like a really interesting read, my boyfried was lucky enough to visit Japan recently (I was in my final year of university and couldn't really afford to go) and he came back with a wealth of photos that made me increadably jealous.

When it comes to drinking i am quite anti-social (or at least compared to most people in england were it is the norm to go out to clubs and get completely inebriated then end up being taken back home by the police). I'd much rather have half a bottle of medium white to myself with some nice comfort food whilst watching a film of some sort, generally something with lots of explosions!

If I'm going out here, and have drinking partners and no budget limit, I order cava (or if that's not available some white wine). For nibbles a mixed platter of good cheese cubes, sun-dried tomatos, anchovis, olives, etc to share with my friends.

If I have the chance to go out in Japan again, I'd order an apple-sour (at least that's what my Japanese guide calls it, I believe it's Shoshu with applejuice?), definitely some edamame to go with, and if I'm lucky and they got it some of their fish specials (here I have no idea what they're called, if it looks good I point and smile hopefully). Maybe the book'll help me figure out the proper names.

My favourite tipple/nibble combination is a nice glass of cold sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio with some marinated olives and some bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip into it. Heaven!

cool book. I'm getting it either way :)

I hope you won't mind sharing a few sights of your homecoming as well! :)

I've been following your blog recently and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the descriptive and useful recipes and tips you have here. It's nice to find Japanese recipes that aren't just sushi or sukiyaki.

I'd like to enter the competition too!
My favourite drink+accompanying food would probably be a light but satisfying Asian beer and roasted dry squid or something salty and fried (chicken, tofu or ikan bilis with peanuts the Singaporean way)
oh! and edamame beans


Favorite drink? A nice cold India Pale Ale (in the '60s it was Ballantine XXX in the tall green bottle; nowadays, a microbrewery version). Or a sturdy red wine. In reference to places I've lived (or live in), the choices for food accompaniment would be: musubi with an umeboshi in the middle, or char siu bao (Hawaii; we call them "manapua" and as kids got them from street vendors carrying their goods in tin cans balanced on a bamboo shoulder pole); boiled crawfish and raw oysters (Louisiana); fried walleye and venison jerky (Minnesota); a nice wedge of Saint Nectaire or Pont L'Eveque and a crusty baguette (France). The motto of the now-vanished Schwegmann's grocery stores was: "In New Orleans we don't eat to live, we live to eat." That'l do for me.

Thanks Maki, Looks like a must-have book. It got me started studying the history of Izakaya and Tapas. Tapas seems clouded in legend: topper for wine to keep the flies out, Alfonso the 10th, the Wise, had to take small bites of food with some wine between meals because of illness, stinky cheese to hide the smell of bad wine.... Looks like the Izakaya book may have a section on the history of that tradition, perhaps less ambiguous. One story I saw mentioned that Izakaya started a place to buy sake and evolved to a place to drink sake and so on to its current form.

Thanks for a chance to win this intriguing book.


Actually, as corn is in season, I recently made Mark Robinson's recipe for fresh corn tempura (tomorokoshi no kakaiage)which I happened to find online:
It is easy and delicous!
I like trying different classic cocktails, and with a good steak dinner I will have either a Manhattan or Old-Fashioned.
And good coffee is a must with dessert!

Simple Japanese pickles are the perfect accompaniment to sweet potato shouchu - preferably the most pungent on the menu. Not one for the faint hearted, but a personal favorite of mine

I would sure love to win the book. I previewed a copy at the Bookstore today but it was a bit pricey for a splurge. I would have to wait til Christmas for a gift giving occasion and I am terrible when it comes to waiting. One of my favorite nip dips is a really cold Margarita with mango/tomato salsa and tortilla chips.

Your introduction paragraph was so well written, I purchased the book via your Amazon referrer link.

So don't enter me in the give-away :)

I've just eaten breakfast but reading your article still made me hungry!

My Favourite Tipple is a slightly embarrassing retro classic: Shandy, but I like to make it with german wheat beer and make the lemonade myself with fresh lemon juice, sparkling water and demerara sugar. Try it and you'll never go back to that nasty stuff the pub sells! Oh, and it's best with wasabi peas.

Hiya, I love Japanese food!
My favorite drink is sake, to eat with grilled fugu wings with ebi eggs.

I love izakaya food - many kinds on small dishes..I love them!!

I love the food at izakayas!

My tipple: 1/2 choya umeshu + 1/2 sparkling water, on the rocks.

This recipe book looks amazing. I've already saved it on my list on Amazon. If I don't win it, I think I'll purchase it myself!

Thanks for doing this give away!

I also am not much of a drinker, but I do like a good hard cider, and British Strongbow is my favorite. Many find this weird that a young, smallish, woman would drink something that as more of a place in American political history (ie: the "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" campaign of 1840) but I don't mind. It was a great flavor and I bet it would go great with a hearty beef stew on a cold day. I bet William Henry Harrison would drink to that!

I was so excited when izakayas started opening up in Vancouver, where my parents live, but they're all expensive higher-end places.

My favourite tipple is probably actually a rye & ginger (rye whiskey with ginger ale), which sadly is much harder to get now that I've moved outside Canada -- non-bourbon rye whiskey just isn't as common here in the states, and I've even encountered a bar or two that doesn't keep ginger ale on hand.

I don't usually eat anything when I'm drinking one of those, though: my favourite drink to have with food is probably a sweet dessert wine with either dark chocolate or with sharp cheese.

Natsukashiiii - and it's only been 5 months since I moved from Tokyo to a small town in Western Austria for love.

I'm not much of a drinker at all and especially not when I'm eating because I'm too greedy and prefer to focus on the food, but I do like Sapporo beer.

Whether it's because I was born there and I am being unthinkingly loyal and/or lazy because I know I like it and don't want to risk trying another and not enjoying it or really because I think it's the best it's hard to say but I drink it when I'm having izakaya food, or at a yatai having yakitori or...Wait, did I bookmark that "cheap flights to Tokyo website?"...

Izakayas seem to be popping up everywhere. I live in LA, and now there are some really great places to choose from. I especially love a couple in Little Tokyo because I'm delighted to see the resurgence there! BUT, my memories go back to Japan. The tiny little sort of dark and dingy place, wood paneling on the walls, maybe a smattering of photos, with only 6 or seven little seats. An introduction is usually needed. And as Mark Robinson points out, the really good ones are impossible to get in to. They are like hidden little gems tucked away in some back alley. My favorite sake is Kubota, but as far as "eats", it's Omakase. Chef's choice. You can cry about the bill later, but you will never forget the privilege.
Maki, you make me homesick.

My fav drink is Gin and Tonic and I love to eat it with fried Camembert cheese (not very diet friendly....but so delicious)


I've been eyeing that book, I have it on my Amazon wish list

My combo is beer and "cheese toast". A piece of buttered toast and either a slice of American cheese or shredded cheddar.
Hubs is liking beer or sake, when we can find it here in small town Texas, and some dried mackerel (okabe yaki aji) that we picked up on a recent trip to Austin.

That book sounds great...I will have to look it up! I love your site and thank you for keeping it up. I love nasu miso with Sapporo.

There are quite a few tapas and izakaya-style pubs or restaurants in Vancouver if you know where to look, but the prices are just unbelievable. For the price of a decent dinner, it's about half the size, though some are well-made and offer a good variety.

I'm not much of an alcohol person, but I can survive on tea, so whatever I'm in the mood for and whatever I can find around the house, which is usually yoghurt and some fruit. Sometimes I'll have frozen muffins or chinese "pancakes" [fa mien/risen dough + sesame/scallions, salt, and oil] and I'll give them a zap. a bit of rice and korean-style seasoned seaweed is delicious, too, but it's more leisurely than I can afford most times.

Can't forget about all those yummy snack bits - pocky, fried green peas with garlic/pepper seasoning, rice crackers... That delicious-looking book and all this talk is making me hungry!

We are snack fiends at our house - but we don't drink. We're pretty boring as far as our evening snacks go ... cookies with milk or cheese and crackers with water.

Ooo! I had a peek inside the book through the amazon link and it looks very exciting! I've always loved Japanese cuisine (more so if its a favourite of the locals) and the izakaya food that they ocasionally show in Japanese TV dramas always make my mouth water. I really hope I win this book!

My favourite tipple used to be cider which was easily available during my student years in England. But recently I went on a trip to Sabah, Malaysia to visit an old friend and he introduced me to their locally made Kadazan rice wine called Lihing (see: It was delicious, sweet and very refreshing! The alcohol content was ~40% but you could barely tell! (dangerous indeed!) Unfortunately we were unable to bring any back with us as they were all specially made by family relatives during the harvest festivals in Sabah. I'm definately booking a bottle for next year's harvest festival!

I'm a VERY light-weight drinker: one glass of wine will get me sleepy! But I REALLY LOVE Albis Chardonnay with a salad that I like to make: spinach, radicchio, watermelon, canteloupe, avocado, and grapefruit. It pairs so well! And it is refreshingly satisfying on a hot summer day! Give it a try! :)

drool, izakaya! if i don't win this book, i am totally asking for it for christmas. :)

favorite drink is a Basil Hayden bourbon manhattan, perfect, with a homemade cherry -- maraschino cherries are nasty, so I take Trader Joe's dried cherries and soak them in Cointreau instead. Lovely with 1950's American cocktail nibbles -- deviled eggs, spanish-olive/cream cheese tea sandwiches, sweet & sour wieners, scallops wrapped in bacon.

My favorite is a sweet Muscat dessert wine with cheese or almost any dessert!

Hmmm I guess I would say a nigori-style sake or plum wine with either gummy bears or nuts. I think japanese liquor is very well suited for pairing with snacks.

Oooo! I own this book, and absolutely love it! Have you tried any of the recipes?

While I don't drink much, I love izakaya fare! This book looks like a great resource.

I love the kiwi shochu at our local place here, preferably with mochi cheese. Mmm. <3

hi! i've been reading your site for a while now - my son just entered a japanese immersion program; his first day of kindergarten was friday! i bought some bento boxes and will make him a lunch every day with at least one japanese food to broaden his eating horizons. because he is in the program, we are trying to incorporate more japanese cooking into our repertoire. we also get to take a cultural exchange trip to japan with his class in two years! love your site, and the review of this book sounds awesome. the izakaya sounds very appelaing, romantic even. now i wish i could open an izakaya! my favorite tipple would have to be an ice cold beer, although a vodka martini would run a close second.

I've never been to an izakaya before, not that I know, but I would really like to. I feel so sad everytime I watch japanese food tv shows...

I once ate a marinated squid kind of thing- it was really red and spicy and salty- is it a pickle? it was really delicious

Another food that I love is maguro no yamakake~~ the combination is just amazing~~

I love my local izakayas but have been forced to avoid them of late because I'm unemployed so I would love to have this cookbook!
My favorite tipple? - there are so many but I'm very fond of a gin and tonic made of Hendrick's cucumber flavored gin. At home, I usually drink a g'n't while making dinner but if I ordered it at a restaurant I'd ideally have a lovely bruschetta with nice summer tomatoes. Mmmm, tomatoes ...

I'm always interested in the various ways that food and culture play out. Combined with my love of cooking, I'd really like to get my hands on this book.

...suffice to say, I've been reading quite a lot of your site the last few weeks since my friend linked me to the caramel recipe.

A glass of red wine and a self made tortilla de patatas. I got the recipe of a spanish friend of mine during college time (sigh)...

Well, I don't drink alcohol, so my favourite 'tipple' is actually tea - usually green, though I'm enjoying a nice pot of oolong at the moment - accompanied by a couple of rounds of marmite on toast. Yum. Mostly for breakfast, but could happily have it for every meal, every day. :D

I am a yon-sei but like to eat like an issei! I have recently been teaching myself how to make traditional japanese food of all kinds...and would love to make izakaya style dishes since I love to nibble versus eat just one large meal.

I don't drink too much, but do like to drink a little Asahi or Sapporo when I eat japanese food...esp. Izakaya style!

I love your blog...have learned so much from it!

Thank you so much for your site! It has allowed me to cook the sorts of foods I miss so much about Japan, where I grew up, but no longer live.
This book looks wonderful...I miss Izakaya food very much.
My favorite tipple has got to be either Baily's Irish cream or Lemon Chu-hi....not particularly refined, but tasty none the less.

A very cold glass of german beer (beer brewed by wheat which is called "Hefeweizen") and a german "Rostbratwurst" (little grilled sausages) with sweet mustard.
It's simple but very delicious.

I went to Izakaya with a friend. Pretty much didn't know what is Izakaya back then, I thought it was just an expensive Japanese restaurant.
I was terribly hungry and all they serve were (of course, duh!) snacks. Small portions of food and expensive T_T
Heaps of snacks that I would really love to try, I reckon Izakaya in Japan has more varieties.
My favorite alcohol beverages would be cold ASAHI beer in hot summer of Sydney with tako wasa (raw octopus with wasabi) or korean side dish raw squid mixed in gohjujang paste. Sounds yucky but it's really yummy. addictive!!

I personally don't like alcohol in any form, but I haven't had sake before. To be honest, I doubt I'll like it, but I reckon I should at least give it a shot.

I am actually just starting to study abroad here in Japan, and the other night I had umeshu with soda, which I think is now my favorite drink! I had it with yakiniku, and it was just sooo delicious.

Well, this is embarrassing, but I like a glass of wine and potato chips dipped in cottage cheese!

I loved the food in Japan when I lived there for a year, back in 1986. I've never been back but still find that Japanese was my go to comfort food for years after I left. The culture there around food is amazing. Thanks for the great site!

favorite tipple at the moment -- sake! it was scotch previously.
what i like to eat it with -- depends on my mood really.. usually something savory eg corn chips.. drooool..

Thanks for the giveaway. This book looks like a good one. Hmmm...favorite drink would be wine with any kind of cheese and some good bread.

Good luck with your book!

You've made me want to visit Japan even more. Pub food is the best. My favourite tipple is a good beer (it depends on the local offering) and anything potato. Or here in PR, we have "guineitos en escabeche" (marinated green bananas).

I get so motivated by both your sites!

I moved from Portland, Oregon to Miami, Florida a few years ago and have been lost without easy access to fresh, high quality foodstuffs and the restaurant scene here leaves much to be desired (good mexican is nearly as hard to find as decent asian food of any variety!). This year my daughter is in 3rd grade and I started bento lunches for both of us (thanks to you!). It has only been 3 weeks but she loves it, and I am garnering a few skills. Your bacon-wrapped tofu is currently the most coveted by her school mates.

Anyhoo--I like to drink (grin). But in honor of the book, my favorite sake is from Oregon--and organic: Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo


Hon wa omedetou gazaimasu. Gambate!

Tipple? Hmmmmm. So many nomimono, so little time. Generally a basic gin martini fan, shaken not stirred, but when I'm in the mood I love Rangoon's famous Pegu Club Cocktail: 1 part gin, 1 part cointreau or triple sec, 1/2 part lime juice (either fresh or bottled), and two dashes of agnostura bitters. Shaken not stirred over ice, drained into a martini glass, garnished with something citrussy...a slice of yuzu perhaps.

Oishii da ne! Kampai!

Tom Morse
Peaks Island, Maine, USA

Thanks for having this giveaway!

I don't drink sake either but I love pairing most Japanese foods with a crisp white wine, really enhances the flavors for me.

My husband and I would love this book since we love eating at izakayas when we visit Japan! I love beer and eating poke together or if we're at an izakaya then grilled fish like hokke.

I love izakaya food! Too bad it's kind of expensive in the US. I love Japanese beers, and my favorite is Orion from Okinawa. My favorite snack is chilled edamame; so simple yet SOOOO good with the beer!

What a intriguing book! Thank you for both producing a quality blog that I enjoy reading and for offering such a great book as a giveaway.

Favorite tipple: Lindeman's Belgian Peach Lambic Ale/Beer. It is smooth and drinkable either room temperature or chilled. I don't enjoy drinks that sear or leave a bitter aftertaste. The Lindeman's Framboise is also great.

Favorite food to drink with my favorite tipple: sandwich or stews. Pork and chicken dishes are particularly tasty with this drink. It is simple a smooth, satisfying drink that enhances rather than dominates any food you serve with it.

Yummy! I think I need to head out for some Izakaya this evening!!

And Izakaya looks like a lovely book, I would love to win a copy!

This cookbook sounds so interesting- the thing I miss MOST about living in Tokyo, hands down, are the izakayas. I've always preferred to eat tapas style with a lot of people and an izakaya is the perfect place to sample many tastes without spending a lot of money. Honda-ya in downtown Los Angeles has a good menu, but the execution is just so-so.....


I find my favorite tipple/nibble combo is inversely associated with what is hard for me to get locally. Currently my favorite would have to be GOOD (must stress quality here) margaritas with tacos made from home-made corn tortillas. Why? Because it is nigh impossible to get good Mexican in London!

Though we're running out of Pimm's season, it's always a good standby, and pretty much goes with any nibble, but perhaps extra lovely with a goats cheese tartlet on wild greens.


I love the notion of a lighthearted Japanese cookbook, after ploughing my way through Japanese Cooking - A Simple Art!

Can't wait to visit Tokyo and treat myself... wait... do they let girls in? Better send me the book so I don't embarass myself!

What a fabulous-looking cookbook! I really hope it's a best seller.

My favorite tipple is a good, ol' fashioned strawberry daquiri. Light on the alcohol though, because I'm a lightweight.

the book does look wonderful
and while I'm not legally old enough to drink yet... (14 more months to go...)
I do enjoy rum... flavoured cakes...
so for the un-spirited version of drinks, pina coladas or some variation of some fruity concoction (that if I were old enough, would have alcohol)

My favorite tipple was kuro nama along with Tori-sashimi wrapped in shiso leaves. I was very lucky to visit Japan numerous time in the early 1990's. I had a group of Japanese friends who basically went to Izakaya every night after work. I got to experience so pretty crazy food but none stranger than Tori-sashimi wrapped in shiso leaves. I look back now and realize just how great of an experience it was to experience Izakaya before it was even heard of in Canada. I used to explain it to my friends and say how I thought it was a great was to go out and have fun. It also created a life time love of Japanese food especially Izakaya style both cooking at home and going out, We now have 2 Izakayas in our city and they are both good!

K. Ross

Wow, that book and those recipes sound amazing! I don't drink though, so I guess I can't really answer the question.

Ah, I remember my first izakaya experience. It was my first time in Tokyo, the family was feeling peckish, and there it was, an izakaya filled to the brim. The book would've come in quite handy because we were at quite a loss as to what to do. It worked out well that night, fortunately, and the house sake remains as one of the best I've tasted.
My tipple of choice would be a nice, double-shot Gordon's Gin and tonic in a chilled glass and a large chunk of ice. Nibbles... shioyaki or misoyaki fish, or kurobuta katsu. Ah, mere thoughts are making me hungry already...

My favourite food drink combo is cheese and wine.

Pub food in every country, tends to be the best food.

I love izakaya food!! Thank you so much for the book review. I also want to thank you for the recipe on buta no kakuni. THAT recipe is exquisite!

Thank you for this website and have a safe trip!

I guess it's a weird drink food combo but I like Pina colada with fried squids

It's been too long since I've been in Japan, and now you've got me missing my favourites.

Which at the time would have been a pint of Asahi Black, and a Shimo-hokke.


Thanks again for another fabulous review. :) And congratulations on your upcoming book.

My favorite bar snacks tend to vary, depending on whether I'm out or not. If I'm with friends, I'll try to get something that I can easily share (most often potato skins w/ cheese and sour cream). But at home, I generally make my own snack tray stocked with dolmas, oil-cured black olives, cheese, fruit, and veggies.

A really unique favorite is served at a local Jamacian cafe: Plantain chips with honey-cucumber sauce and guacamole. With just a touch of papaya hot-sauce, these go perfectly with whatever I'm drinking... (generally a Dark & Stormy).

Hallo from germany!

i love izakayas...
i remember visiting my brother in tokyo in 2007, and he brought me to an izakaya, where i had the best tamagoyaki i ever had. there was just this explosion of flavour. that night changed my perception of tamagoyaki forever. and to top it off, i had a sake called sore kara. i thought the name sounded so poetic.

unfortunately, there aren't that many good japanese places in munich. i find it a pity that japanese food in europe tends to be just sushi. there is more to it than sushi!

my favourite tipple is a rose wine with a good pasta dish... =)

One of the J-Girls living in San Francisco. We call ourselves the J-Girls because we are a group of crazy Japanese American women who have been researching, digging up grandmas recipes and cooking together Japanese dishes...traditional and J-fusion. I stumbled upon your site while researching one day and love it! Email me...would love to talk about our common interest! will send you some photos!

Greetings from Argentina!

I love pub food and japanese food so Izakayas might be great, unfortunately here we haven't even got one. about the tipple question, One of my favourites is a good cold beer (A guinness maybe...) with an argentinian picada (a table of cheeses, meats, pickles, olives, etc..). Quite conventional but quite good, Salúd!

Having had tasty, relaxed meals in Kyoto izakaya with Japanese friends and family, DH and I were looking forward to trying one of the high-end places in Tokyo that we had discovered on the internet. Our hotel was pleased to make our reservation; the izakaya happened to be in the office building next door. When we arrived, we were bowled over by the decor and the food on the tables. But we were stopped in our tracks when we realized that all the menus were in Japanese and no one in the restaurant spoke English! We stumbled along for a few minutes, then remembered traveller stories of Westerners wandering into the wrong bars and paying $600 for a glass of whiskey. Sadly, we excused ourselves and went hunting for an eatery that displayed plastic food. Our pointing fingers work in most every country.

Hi there,

It's funny that my first comment on this blog should be about an izakaya book, since I first came across this site in my Google search for izakaya food! There are quite a few Japanese styled izakayas in Vancouver, it is very popular! I am not sure how authentic they are in comparison to Japan, but the atmosphere and pub-ness of it all is definitely there!

I only wish that a) I was still in high school and b) I spoke fluent Japanese, because it seems like a lot of fun to work in an izakaya.

Keep up the great writing!


I am tripping through all my wonderful Izakaya memories right now! My favourite tipple would be an ice cold nama chu beer to wash down some gorgeous, melt in the mouth, grilled, garlicky aubergine and hopefully some tai sashimi. CAn't wait to go on vacation to Japan next Spring.....

This book looks incredible! I've been really interested in learning to make izakaya food for my friends when I have dinner parties/get-togethers-needing-hors-d'oeuvres, which is often, so this book would get a lot of use :)

My favorite tipple is a dirty martini with the vermouth/olive brine balance tipped heavily in favor of the olive brine, which I like to drink with a bowl of assorted olives and light pickles.

Vodka and chicharonnes. Weird but good!

I love your blog. Thanks for all the great recipes!

This book looks so cool... I remember being in the diff Tokyo Izakayas and everything is soooo yummy and interesting. Gosh, I really miss REAL Japanese food. But, what's my fav 'tipple'... I don't know if I have one. But, it's def something savory... I try to only eat sweets when I really 'crave' them... but if I were in Tokyo right now... I'd have to say, just a bowl of basic oshinko would be perfect!

I've been eyeing this book since it came out last year. I also want the Washoku book from Ten Speed Press and Japanese Country Cooking by Gaku Homma. Interested in your thoughts if you've read those.

I like a Rob Roy (made w/ a really good single malt like MacAllan). Awesome with a couple slices of smoked salmon jerky, or a chocolate bar with hazelnuts.

I like a hot frittata with shrimps and a glass of white wine

That book looks really interesting. I love cookbooks which give background to the food because they provide reading material as well as recipies.

I always worry about deadlines for this site, but since it's still thursday morning GMT, it should be safe.

It seems to be a really interesting book. I'm from Spain, and when I first heard about Izakaya I thought, as you said, that it was very similar to our spanish bar, except that in spain normal bars don't take such care of the presentation.

I've been thinking what to choose to write this reply. I really find it difficult, as I love go "tapas" with my family and my friends, and I have also tried other foreing foods that were amazing

But I have finally decided about it, and I choose something really representative of where I live:

"All i pebre". Literally it means "Garlic and cayenne". It's a tapa traditional from my city and surrounding (Valencia). It's made with eel, of course garlic and cayenne, but also aldmonds, potatoes and some spices.

I love to eat it with some spanish bread slices, as then you can get all the sausage taste into the bread, after eating the eels.

Most people don't like it as it's made with eel, but I really think it is delicius, better with the bread, even.

Anyone who come to my city and sourrondings should try it at least once :)

[Here, a nice picture of "all i pebre": ]

I don't really drink too much - but my favorite comfort/finger food is mazze. Its general Middle Eastern appetizers including small meat patties, fried meat in a torpedo shaped shell, fried chicken pieces, potatos stuffed puff pastry dough, hummus, tehina, babaghanoush, taboule.... you get the idea. As far as I know, they don't serve them at bars here in the States, but it would be AMAZING bar food.

This book looks wonderful - lived in Japan (4 places) over 10 years and LOVE Izakayas. We have some pretty good ones here in the Pacific Northwest too. Hmm, my favorite tipple has to be any of the wonderful local craft brews. Pair that with nabe ryori on a cold winter night and I'm in heaven. So glad I found your site.

Oh dear there's lots of favourite nosh/tipple combos. The latest was gomadofu & homemade umeshu. Guinness with cassis syrup is also up there, great with a baguette and old cheddar.

Love your sites! Keep up the great work!

Yumm.... izakaya food *drools*
I've got to make a trip down to town for it again... its been awhile >_<

my fav drink is probably a gin & tonic with a slice of lime. its just so refreshing especially during hot days. I normally just have it on its own without any snacks but i think salty nuts or chips will probably go well with it.

I love all your tips and especially ones on kyaraben (love the break down of steps and pix!). The size of these Izakaya dishes will be perfect to unwind the day with my husband after the kids go to sleep! Thanks!

I am living in Tokyo and love eating at izakaya places. So far my favorite is in Shimokitazawa, where we had the most amazing looking daikon dish. I would love to try and cook izakaya food.

Here's hoping I'm lucky. BTW - Congratulations on your book! I can't tell if I am more excited for you, or for me once I get my hands on it.

Beer and Edamame; Red wine with a great cheese;shisho sake with the incredible food we had at a great Izakaya somewhere on the Chuo line I think in Koenji--oh the food!!

Thank you for your great website. Because of you I found Koyama Shoten in Michigan!!!

Was happy to see you mentioned in NYTIMES article.

This is so exciting! We visited Japan for nearly three weeks this spring and I have become fascinated with everything Japanese ever since. I'm still in the market for a Japanese cookbook and this looks like a good place to start.