Eating yakitori and downing them with beer in the yakitori bar Ton Ton 登運とんunder a railway track has to be one of the most authentic (and cheapest) foodie experience one could have in Tokyo!
I was introduced to this experience by my brother, who told me this is a favourite haunt of Japanese ‘salarymen‘ (white-collar workers) before they head off home or somewhere else for a real dinner.
What are Yakitori 焼き鳥?
Yakitori 焼き鳥 literally means ‘burnt bird’. They are actually barbecued skewers, very much like Indonesian satays. You can have all kinds of yakitoris – chicken, pork, beef, eggplants, chicken liver etc etc etc. They come in two major types: with sauce called “tare” タレ (which is a sweet caramelised sauce that tastes so so good when burnt) or simply with salt “shio” 塩.
Yakitoris are normally served in taverns called “izakaya” (居酒屋) – which are Japanese versions of gastropubs. Yakitori Ton Ton 登運とんhappens to be an izakaya, in a very informal environment – in an alley under the railway track!
How does it work?
Don’t expect restaurant service here so please lower your expectations. It’s open barbecue so there’s going to be the remnants of the smoke all over your clothes. But you certainly won’t regret the experience!
They have an English menu – which is kind of comprehensible. You point to what you want and say whether it is ‘take‘ (with sauce) or ‘shio‘ (with salt).
I highly recommend you act like locals here. Order a beer and come with a few friends. It’s a rowdy place where you share the latest in your life and watch others do the same. It always has such a cheerful atmosphere in an izakaya!
One thing to note: it is very important to respect the locals when you go to a local area. Do not speak loudly in your language (like English) and expect to be treated differently. Try your best to blend into the crowd and do what they do and not criticise openly their way of life like their food and drinks (don’t go iiew at the chicken skin for example; American hamburgers have worse things in them). Yakitori Ton Ton 登運とん is such a place where the locals have all the right not to serve tourists, if tourists do not know how not to preserve the vibes of the place.
What are my favourite yakitori?
I am a sucker for the burnt caramelised “take” taste so I take all my yakitoris with it.
For a beginner, chicken or pork is good. Chicken balls are also very tasty.
For a hardcore fan (like me), chicken skin is super gorgeous when it is crispy and burnt. Chicken heart is also one of my favourite but not for the faint-hearted.
On the veg side, I recommend grilled eggplant and the mini green peppers are simply too die for!
How to get to Yakitori Ton Ton 登運とん in the Yakitori Alley?
It is right under the railway track of the Tokaido Shinkansen line.
You can either get out at the Hibiya (日比谷), Yurakucho (有楽町) or Ginza (銀座) station. It’s located right in the middle of the three.
Cash only, no cards accepted. And certainly no reservation. If you want to be sure of a table, be there already at 5:30pm.
Below is the address, I have also added the Google Map location.
Yakitori Ton Ton 登運とん
2-1-10 Yurakucho Chiyoda Tokyo
東京都 千代田区 有楽町 2-1-10
Tel: +81 3-3508-9454
Google Map location