Hot Meat Sticks: Zakkushi on Main St.

Zakkushi is the kind of place where you have to check your cheapness at the door and order with decadent abandon. Dining in Vancouver is getting really expensive, with $28 entrees becoming the norm. If you’re gonna pay that kind of money dining out, I’d kinda rather spend that money at a really fun place like Zakkushi where you can get a variety of meats on sticks, and get showered with Japanese liquor.

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Their beer is mostly the usual Sapporo/Asahi/Kirin, but at least they have Asahi Black lager. We’ve never seen ORION beer before… Heyyy, they have Echigo Red Ale!

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I’m not big on sweets but I do like a black sesame ice cream once in a while! Their full menu is available online.

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ORION. Our first time. And probably our last. Flavour was really light, like the Korean Hite beer. I was irked by the dirty chilled glass. We tried to drink this quickly so we could move onto our next beer. You’re better off ordering Sapporo on draft if you’re gonna go the Asian lager route.

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Agé Mochi. Deep fried mochi with sweet soy drizzled on top. Not quite crispy on the outside but still chewy and stretchy inside. Good.

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Daikon Salad with plum dressing. Cold, crunchy, tasty.

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Original Oden. Great on a cold rainy day. I remember the oden at Guu Garden downtown being better (maybe more infused?) but this does the job fine.

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I think I’ve seen people on Instagram having the Uni Shooter, but at $13.50 I’d rather have a couple beers at Portland Craft down the street. 😛 It is “Shooting HEAVEN” though, so maybe one day!

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Botan Ebi (spot prawn sashimi). Pretty good. Raw prawns are an acquired taste. It’s got that slimy gooey texture but also a sweetness and slight crunchy texture to the flesh that can get addictive. The BEST part is sucking all the goodness out of the heads! EVEN BETTER is asking them to deep fry your leftover heads afterwards! Pics way down below…

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Shitake and Okra.

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Mé Maki (garlic stubs wrapped with pork).

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Tsukune (ground chicken), Umeshiso Tsukune (pickled plum & shiso leaf) and Shishamo (smelt) with a cute little dab of spicy mayo.

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Another shot of the Shishamo. I think it’s really funny how the skewer is shoved through the mouth. Hahaha. Anyways, everything is edible, even the bones. The flesh has that oily yet delicate texture. Perfect beer food. I could eat a lot of these.

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Closeup of the Tsukune (ground chicken). Classic. Just the best. Slightly crispy grilled outsides and meaty ‘n juicy insides. Probably my favourite go-to yakitori at Zakkushi.

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Going all out! L-R: Premium Beef Tongue (thick cut!), Negima (chicken thigh with leeks), US Kobe Tsukune (“Kobe” beef meatball) and Duck Breast. The duck is served with a dab of yuzu citrus chili (that green stuff on the top edge of the plate), which was a really interesting condiment…quite a few steps removed from “Duck à l’Orange”. The Kobe meatball was served with a dab of mustard. I like Japanese food and their dabs of whatnot. #420

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Closeup of the Kobe beef meatball. The waitress said it was dry (!) so recommended I go with teriyaki sauce instead of sea salt. We all thought it was strange that Kobe beef would be dry. Anyways, “US Kobe” should really be called “Wagyu”, and even then, the only good Wagyu experience I’ve ever had where I thought it was worth the money was having grilled wagyu at Kingyo on Denman where we cooked it on a hot stone. The taste and texture of the basic chicken meatball (tsukune) was better and cheaper.

On the left is a chunk of the Premium THICK CUT Beef Tongue. It’s rubbery but IN A GOOD WAY. If you like beef tongue, you know what I mean. I could do tongue all night.

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Horumon! I’ve been waiting to try something like this! There are horumonyaki places in Japan that specialize in beef and pork offal done robatayaki-style. At Zakkushi, they just offer pig intestine with either teriyaki or garlic sauce. I got one of each. I didn’t get much of a garlic-ness nor sauce-ness in the garlic sauce one, but it still tasted good. It’s definitely stinky/funky in that pig intestine way, but I just LOVE it! Crispy, crunchy edges and chewy insides. More beer please!

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Echigo Red Ale. Delicious beer considering what else was available. Way above the boring lager level. I got hints of red rice. A touch of sweet caramel maltiness. Again, dirty glasses are bit of a downer. (You can tell cuz of all the bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.)

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Ikayaki (grilled whole squid with teriyaki sauce and spicy mayo). Love the carmelization. Good combination of chewiness and tenderness.

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The cup for your finished sticks. Finnish sticks? Um, sticks that you’re done with…

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Gyu Tongue (beef tongue). This was good but I like my double-the-price Premium THICK-CUT Beef Tongue 🙂

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We’re not done yet! Teba (chicken wing) and another Negima (chicken thigh with leeks). I like how the wings are splayed out like a flying squirrel or something.

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Yagen Karaage. This dish goes to show that you really can eat all parts of an animal. This is deep fried chicken breast cartilage. Just feel your breast bone (go ahead, do it) and run your fingers down until you feel a dangy bit. This is the same part on the chicken, usually thrown away, but is actually a crunchy and delicious part that can be eaten by itself! It’s a small step beyond deep fried chicken ankles.

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The one drawback to this dish (at least on this visit) is that it came out too greasy. Didn’t stop me from finishing it though.

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My heads have arrived! When you’re done eating your spot prawn sashimi, just ask the staff to deep fry the heads for you. (I think there’s a charge for it.) It’s like the best shrimp chip you’ve ever had!

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Oooo, there was more head stuff inside! Yuuuummmm…

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Smiles are free! At Zakkushi!

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon

Bonus trip to Portland Craft

It’s not that we weren’t full enough, I was just gluttonous enough to want a taste of Portland Craft‘s mac ‘n cheese and some beer after Zakkushi.

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There was some “party bus” parked just outside Portland Craft for a brief moment. The bus left a trail of stripper glitter as it drove off.

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The night’s tap list.

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The just-released Ninkasi Sleighr Double Altbier. It’s got a certain maltiness that’s different from red ales or brown ales.

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Breakside Wanderlust IPA and Gigantic Intensify Belgo-IPA. The Wanderlust tasted straight-up piney next to the big tropical, citrus, passionfruity deliciousness of the Intensify.

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Mac ‘n Cheese. They use a blend of cheddar, provolone and vigneron. I’ve had it twice before and it’s been better. I needed to do the foodie-douche move and sprinkle some Maldon sea salt flakes on top to kick up the flavours. This tasted REALLY good with the Ninkasi Sleighr. Super great match, moreso than the IPAs.

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