Hamayaki Style Dishes Are Super Popular Among Foreign Travelers in Japan – But What Exactly Are They?
"Hamayaki" is a term originally used to refer to a cooking style in which freshly caught fish and seafood are grilled right on spot at the beach. However, these days, the term has come to be used by the general public to refer to the act of grilling and eating fresh fish and seafood on the table at an izakaya. In this article you will find a selection of izakaya where you can enjoy hamayaki-style dishes.
Isomaru Suisan Shinjuku Minamiguchi Branch, located near the South Exit of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, is a 24 hour izakaya where you can grill fresh fish on a gas stove on the table to eat it. It is part of a famous chain of restaurants that has branches all over Japan, though most of them are concentrated in the metropolis. The entrance is marked by a large and gaudy signboard, and the interior of the restaurant is decorated with water tanks, good-catch flags, and paper lanterns, recreating the atmosphere of a fishing port. We especially recommend their hamayaki-style dishes, such as the Live Shellfish Platter (1,099 JPY excl. tax) and the Red Rice Prawn Skewers (699 JPY excl. tax). This cooking style allows excess water and oil to fall under the grid, so that the flavors of the fish become exquisitely concentrated! If you are visiting for lunch, we recommend their value kaisen-don (bowl of rice topped with sashimi)! This izakaya serves alcoholic beverages at lunch time too, so make sure to drop by if you like drinking!
Hamayaki Taro Sako Branch, located in Sako, Nagoya, is another hamayaki chain restaurant that you can find all over Japan, and here you can enjoy hearty hamayaki dishes. The restaurant has a homey atmosphere, and their dishes are prepared using the freshest fish, bought daily from the fish port. The menu revolves mainly around hamayaki style dishes, such as their live scallops in their shell (498 JPY excl. tax) and their grilled whole squid (398 JPY excl. tax) but it also includes plenty of other options such as sashimi, skewers, and foil-roasted dishes among others. Besides their hamayaki style dishes, their sashimi is also very good, and their domestic raw tuna sashimi (498 JPY excl. tax) is very popular for offering a melt-in-the-mouth texture that is unique to tuna. Their drink menu is plentiful as well, including shochu and Japanese sake, so we recommend this izakaya to sake lovers too. If you are not sure about how much you should grill your fish, ask a member of the staff. The staff at this izakaya can speak multiple languages, so they will surely be able to help you!
If you would like to enjoy the combination of hamayaki and a nostalgic Japanese atmosphere, we recommend visiting Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho Torobako. This is an izakaya located in Omoide Yokocho, right next to Shinjuku Station, and it is characterized by a dynamic and boisterous atmosphere where you can indulge in hamayaki dishes, sashimi, and other seafood dishes. Besides the specialty hamayaki roasted lobster (754 JPY incl. tax) and outstandingly fresh tuna sashimi Tuna Butsu (430 JPY incl. tax), the menu also includes some simple sushi options. This izakaya enjoys an established reputation for its dishes being delicious no matter what one orders, but their Tuna Kamayaki (754 JPY incl. tax), in which the tuna is grilled on a charcoal brazier, is the most hearty and popular, so make sure to give it a try! There are many different types of hamayaki dishes available as well, so we also recommend enjoying as much hamayaki as you want! This izakaya has branches in Ueno and Akabane too.
Erakokyu Azabu-juban Shotengai Branch, in Azabu is a chain izakaya mostly in Tokyo. Their signboard stands out in the shopping street. By night, the naked electric bulbs shine bright, making it look like a fishing boat from the outside, and upside down beer cases are used as chairs in order to recreate the atmosphere of a fishing port. The chef goes out to Tsukiji Market every morning to buy the daily supply of fresh fish, and their vaunted menu includes a Daily Grilled Fish Platter (980 JPY) using the recommended ingredients of the day, and limited Grilled Live Abalone (1,480 JPY). Their other non-fish dishes, such as fried Chicken Karaage (Zangi) (580 JPY) are very popular as well! In this izakaya, customers do not grill their own dishes. Instead, the staff brings the fish and seafood grilled to perfection by the chef, so if you want to indulge in the taste of hamayaki as grilled by the professionals, this is the place to go.
Sanchoku Kaki & Ika Dojo Toyomaru Suisan Ohatsutenjin Branch is an izakaya where fish and seafood shipped directly from the fishing port are served in a simple style, either hamayaki or sashimi, for customers to enjoy their inherent flavors. This lively izakaya is designed to evoke a fisherman's cabin, and it offers private rooms and tatami-floored seating spaces so that customers can relax and enjoy a casual meal. At the Ohatsutenjin Branch, you can enjoy hamayaki style dishes such as white clams (250 JPY excl. tax) and a live shellfish assorted platter with 3 kinds of shellfish (1,090 JPY excl. tax), along with the daily sashimi. In addition, this izakaya offers plenty of fish made with specially delivered oysters and squid, so we especially recommend it if you like oysters. Their grilled oysters (290 JPY excl. tax), made with delicious oysters brought from the neighboring fishing ports, are very popular. Be careful not to spill the shellfish soup that comes out when cooking shellfish, and eat it together with the flesh - this is really delicious!
Did you enjoy the article? Make sure to use it as a reference to go out and try a Hamayaki-style barbecue featuring fresh seafood and fish!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.