A new translation by me: The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook

Book cover: The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook

I have been translating a lot of Japanese books lately, such as the Asian Salads and Asian Noodles ones I mentioned previously. This is the latest one to come out, called The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook, by Wataru Yokota (Tuttle Publishing). I didn't just translate it; I also wrote the introduction (which is why my name is on the cover), as well the detailed explanations of all the Japanese ingredients that readers may not be familiar with.

In case you don't know, an izakaya is a Japanese drinking place, where the food is as important as the alcohol. It's often described as a "Japanese gastropub" but it's much more than that. The izakaya is really the standard way to enjoy a drink in Japan, combining tasty food with alcohol. Even chic places that may call themselves something else are basically izakaya with different food and decor.

I really liked this book. The recipes are written in a clear, concise manner, and everything looks really delicious. You may have trouble getting a couple of the ingredients, but if you live near a Japanese grocery store you should be fine. And there are plenty of recipes you can try with just regular supermarket ingredients too. It's been a long time since I translated the book (I handed it in last November actually - it does take a long time for books to finally get to print) but I did try the ribs and the chicken karaage, and they were both great. I would say all the recipes looked very nice.

The order of the chapters is interesting too, because it kind of follows the order you might take when nibbling away at a real izakaya. The 'shime' at the end is carb-based things like noodles and onigiri, that fill up your belly and maybe alleviate the effects of alcohol a bit. There is also a section that explains sake, as well as other drinks, to stock in your 'home izakaya'.

I do want to emphasize that the book isn't just for drinkers! You can make them for dinner, or for parties and so on too.

Buy it from the Amazons, or your local bookstore.

Filed under:  cookbooks japanese izakaya translations

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