Usually when I am in Beijing, it’s either Xinjiang-style lamb kebabs or Beijing-style BBQ skewers 撸串 if I wanted BBQ. This was the first yakitori-ya I went to in Beijing after all these years.
It is quite difficult to find the entrance of this yakitori-ya, Yaki ONE 鳥萬 is not located at the front of the building. And when you finally find an elevator that goes up to the third floor of this old. commercial building, you still wonder who would put an up-market yakitori-ya here?
I hated it when they used red to light up a place, very eerie and foreboding. As you walk up the rows of chairs (for busier times) to the main entrance, the door does not automatically open for you. Then you realise the sensor just below the lighted name of the restaurant as your eyes get use to the weird lighting.
The interior design feature the large-scale lantern of the Nebuta Matsuri ねぶた祭 (Sleeping Demon Festival), which is held annually early August in Aomori since Kyoho Period (1716-1736). The warm and relaxing environment is most suitable for every diner to have a little drunken talk at the end.
My guests and I settled at my favourite spot at a yakitori-ya – the corner of the bar counter. You get to watch everything that’s happening at the grill and engage in an intimate conversation at the same time.
Signature Salad 招牌沙拉
The signature salad came with sliced fresh figs, mesclun, grilled capsicums, cherry tomatoes, raisins and almonds, with a Japanese-style shoyu-based vinaigrette and sprinkled with tengasu (tempura crisps)
Very refreshing and a healthy start to a night of indulging in what was supposedly one of the best yakitori in Beijing, or what Dianping.com wanted me to believe.
First Six Yakitori
After the salad, we started with the first six sticks – sunagimo (gizzard), leba (liver), momo (breast), negitori (thigh with leeks), hatsu (heart) and seseri (neck). They were expertly done, with the right level of smokiness and seasoning.
The momo (chicken breast) was done at medium rare, which was the first time I had raw chicken in China ever. The chef assured me that the chicken they have sourced were from an organic farm that raised these Japanese bred chicken specially for them. The chicken breast was flavoured using julienned shiso leaf and yuzukosho (yuzu pepper paste).
Grilled Stingray Fins 鳐鱼翅
And then we took a break for a bit of banter and some beer, followed by some eihire (dried stingray fins). You cannot stop at one, the eihire I mean 🙂 they have such great umami that you have to drink more beer.
Wagyu beef we had many, but wagyu tan? This is the tongue from the Australian wagyu breed, not the Japanese one. And unlike most yakiniku restaurants, they were sliced sideways to give each a thick cut. Delicious with the negi (leek) and sesame oil.
This rare part is called chōchin, so named as they look like a traditional globe-shaped lantern. It is an egg but taken from the hen before a shell has formed around it. It is like eating an egg yolk, very creamy and tasty, without the hassle of throwing away the egg white.
Cooked on the stick together with the bits of fallopian tubes (crunchy) of the hen, it was a sublime combination of skill, flavours and textures.
Next Five Items
And the next five skewers – bonjiri (chicken bottoms), kopuchan (beef small intestines), okura (okra), ginnan (ginkgo) and shishito (sweet peppers). The intestines were fatty and seasoned with lots of tare.
Nodoguro Dengaku 喉黑鱼有田烧
Ignore the Chinese name of this miso-grilled blackthorn, the correct term is dengaku 田楽. It was the only seafood item I ordered and I regretted it straight away.
But the fish was over-grilled and very dry. Despite drowning in the miso-glaze, it was not a fantastic eat.
Ramen in Chicken Broth 鸡汤拉面
Usually I ended the yakitori meal with a cup of clear chicken broth. Since they did not have it on the menu, I ordered the possible next best thing.
Ramen in chicken broth was a solid bowl of ramen and a meal on its own. The warm chicken broth hit all the right spot.
This being my first yakitori-ya in Beijing, I could only say it was the best so far. Compared with some others in Shanghai, this was above average, but it was a lot more heavily seasoned. The food as quite reasonably priced for the atmosphere and service level, but a lot more expensive than Shanghai for the same quality. However the place had pretty bad ventilation and you will smell like the place afterwards. A good place to meet up for a drink and a banter after work.
Yaki ONE 鸟万 烧鸟 (星光店)
Tel : +86 17701250706
Visited May 2023