Japan Today

Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook


This is the first publication in English to delve into every aspect of the izakaya, or Japanese "pub" ― a unique and vital cornerstone of Japanese food culture.

Uninhibited and welcoming, the pub serves mouth-watering, nutritious and inexpensive small-plate cooking, along with free-flowing drinks. Like the Spanish tapas bar, it is a mainstay of the nation's native cuisine, a vital venture for socializing and, in these health-conscious times, an increasingly influential culinary force.

Eight different Tokyo pubs are introduced. Some of them have long histories; some are more recent players on the scene. All are deeply familiar to the author, who has chosen them for their quality, ambience, and the variety they represent.

Also included are detailed recipes for 60 quintessential izakaya dishes-delicious standards and specialties ranging from those often found on the traditional Japanese "comfort food" menu to highly innovative creations that reflect the living energy of pub culture.

You will also find a wide range of information-izakaya history, profiles of Japanese ingredients and spices, a guide to the many varieties of sake, cocktails and other alcoholic drinks that are served, "how-to "advice on menu ordering, and much more.

More than a cookbook or a guidebook, this is a beguiling window onto a major food culture, and will be a source of inspiration to every food lover-home chef, hungry gourmet, or professional restaurateur.

Author Mark Robinson is an editor and journalist who has written regularly from Tokyo on food and culture for publications including the Financial Times and the Times (UK), the Australian Financial Review Magazine, and others. Born in Tokyo and raised mostly in Sydney, he returned to Japan in 1988.

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well, I love izakayas, go there 1-2 times a week. usually the cheap ones, where the food is not exactly "mouth-watering", but much better that the standard foreign pub

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If it's true izakaya food, chicken stock will be in absolutely everything.

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Uninhibited and welcoming, the pub serves mouth-watering, nutritious and inexpensive small-plate cooking, along with free-flowing drinks.

BEER RECIPE Open. Pour. Repeat as necessary.

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I saw this book in the bookstore. I have to say it look like more information than recipe. I think it would be good to learn about the culture of Izakaya more than how to cook Izakaya-style food.

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I think it's kind of funny that the writer says that the izakaya is unique to Japanese culture, and then turns right around and says "it's basically like a tapas bar." Which it is. Lots of cultures have places where you drink and eat a light meal. I suppose you can argue that the izakaya is unique because it has a Japanese spin to it, but that seems like a pretty circular argument. I get it, the author likes izakayas and wants to sell books. But let's not go nuts.

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I like Izakaya too, but can never find a non smoking one. Are there any NS in Minato-ku?

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Sherman, most of the big ones (Watami chain or Monteroza chain) have non-smoking seats. They usually ask you at the entrance. of course, the small, family-run izakayas are more interesting, and usually don't have non-smoking seats

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"If it's true izakaya food, chicken stock will be in absolutely everything."

Huh? Dashi will be in almost everything- fish-based NOT chicken.

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Saying I like izakaya but not the ones where people smoke is like saying I like steaks, just not the ones from animals. :) Just kidding, I know exactly what you mean, Japanese smokers in restaurants drive me nuts. A cigarette after the meal, fine. But seriously most Japanese smokers will smoke like 2 cigarettes before the food arrives, 2-3 WHILE EATING, and after they're done polish off another 2-3 cigarettes while chatting. I mean what happened to a "moderate" pack a day? These people go through half a pack in an hour! When this is one person at the next table it is barely tolerable but get 1/2 dozen salarymen next to you and it's practically a four-alarm nicotine-tinted fire. Man, I won't be sorry when they double cigarette prices!

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Right on chardk1. You forgot to mention how you you have to take whatever clothes you were wearing at the time to the cleaners the next day. the stench is pervading. Chalk up 700 yen or more to your bill if happen to be your wearing a business suit.

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Meh, can't be compared to China, where the cigarettes are cheap, and every 18 year old (I'm not saying there are no younger kids) start smoking just for fun. Sadly, I grew up there, so my lung has seen it's battles starting from age 0-10 (I moved to America), so I'm not gonna be making it any worse by picking up smoking myself just because it's COOL, but that's me.

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