ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) --All month long, our food reporter is taking a closer look at some of his favorite Asian dishes, as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
In the Northwest suburbs, a new Yakitori shop is getting pretty serious about its grill.
Yakitori literally means skewered-and-grilled chicken, so when you enter the hard-to-find Yakitori Boogytori in an Arlington Heights strip mall, don't be surprised when you see a lot of chicken.
"Chicken meat and chicken skin and chicken bones and all kinds of chicken parts," said Satoko Takeyama, the owner of the restaurant.
They also grind up chicken thighs, combine them with soy and miso-based dressing and finely-chopped onions, to make tiny meatballs that are first boiled then skewered and finally placed over the grill. Like some of the other items being cooked, they get a final dip into sauce or a last-minute garnish before being whisked to the table.
"In Japan it's really traditional, a lot of businessmen, after work, they go to just eat several skewers and have a beer and have a good time," she said.
That means pair them with a giant Japanese beer on draught, and as you finish each skewer, just pop it into the cup on the table to keep track. The other key ingredient is the binchotan charcoal. Imported from Japan, the elongated pieces burn incredibly hot for a ridiculously long time, ensuring each item is caramelized on the outside, whether it's shishito peppers and giant mushrooms, or even fatty chicken skin, which creates plumes of smoke as the rendered fat hits the blazing coals.
"It stays high temperature for really long time, and it's clean because it's odorless and smokeless," said Takeyama.
Now while the majority of the skewers here are chicken, they do have a lot of other pieces to choose from - different kinds of ingredients and vegetables - just in case you're not feeling quite as adventurous.
Surrey Ridge Shopping Center near Goodwill Store & Donation Center
932 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights
EXTRA COURSE: A closer look at three unique spirits: sake, whisky and shochu