What kind of grilled food do you go for in a Japanese restaurant or pub? Ika No Sugata Yaki might be your best choice as it is not too heavy and very suitable to be eaten as tidbits along with beer. This dish is a fairly popular fast food in Japan, which you will see everywhere you go, especially in Tokyo. Pushcart vendors will park their carts at the side of the streets, grilling these squids fresh on charcoal fires. The squid takes a whole new life if the vendor is skilful in grilling.
What Is Ika No Sugata Yaki?
Ika No Sugata Yaki is a dish that is packed with flavour and is easy to make. The Japanese word, “ika” means grilled whole squid with soy sauce or other sauces while “sugata yaki” means cooked in one piece.
The size of the squid served is dependent on its size, whether it’s the whole body, rings cut from the squid or the tentacles. It goes really well with a glass of sake and is commonly eaten at summer festivals, street fairs, pushcart vendors or Izakaya pubs all around Japan.
You can find it sold in the sticks from the street vendors, or sliced into equal pieces and placed on a plate in restaurants or pubs. It can be simply eaten after grilled or eaten with the Shoyu sauce with a sprinkle of chilli flakes. This dish can act like a snack, a side dish or even a main dish when it is served with rice and salad.
Types Of Grilled Squid
Ika No Sugata Yaki is usually served along with soy sauce, teriyaki sauce or a Japanese marinade made up of miso paste, ginger, soy sauce and rice wine traditionally. Different types of sauce will give the dish an entirely different flavour. The squids are then briefly grilled, and served immediately, leaving them tender and juicy.
In contrast, the Osaka version of this dish is quite different as it is cooked using wheat flour. This speciality of Osaka is prepared by using diced squid in a dough and then topped with Okonomi sauce, sometimes also with egg. It’s cooked and pressed between two iron plates which then it ends up looking like a Japanese style pancake or folded crepe.
Other than squid, there is no shortage of seafood in Japan as it is a nation with fantastic fish and seafood. Grilled shioyaki can also be found around Japan, which is salted fish grilled over charcoal. Ebi shioyaki, which is a big salt-grilled prawn on a stick and is also equally famous around Japan.
There are also other varieties of skewers other than seafood. Rice cakes made from plain rice called goheimochi is also toasty and flavourful after it is brushed with sauce. Yakitori, which is literally grilled chicken, is also a popular alternative if you don’t eat seafood. Grilled pork, also known as yakiton, is also common around Japan, together with crispy pork belly and intestines. There is also a mixture of vegetables and meat on skewers known as kushikatsu, deep-fried on sticks. Dango, which is chewy dumplings, and kiritanpo, which is cylindrical rice cakes, are also popular among Japanese as go-to street food.
Where To Find Ika No Sugata Yaki In Malaysia
Ika No Sugata Yaki can be found in summer festivals, street fairs, shrine festivals, pushcart vendors or Izakaya pubs all around Japan. However, in Malaysia, you can only find them in authentic Izakaya pubs, certain Japanese restaurants and during special Japanese culture events or festivals.
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