There is now a new food option in downtown Travelers Rest.
Yakitori Yama, a yakitori concept from the owners of the popular downtown sushi restaurant Sushi Yama, is opening this Wednesday, May 31, in the shipping container located in the back of the patio at newest The Community Tap.
The new venture brings the popular Asian late-night food into the all-day realm with a combination of vegan, vegetarian and traditional meat and seafood options.
What is yakitori?
“Yakitori is a street food in Asia,” said Brian Pun, who is partnering on the concept with his father, Ricky Pun. “Not just in Japan but all over – Korea, China and Thailand. You find it on the side of the street. It’s really easy, it’s really quick. It’s usually late night when people get off work and wanna go grab a beer, something quick to eat with it.”
Typically, Pun said, yakitori is a simple small bite of meat, seafood or vegetables grilled with a little bit of sauce.
Pun has spent months now developing his recipes. Traditionally, yakitori is a small bite and is distinguished by its grilled preparation, its easy transportability and its use of all parts of the animal.
Yakitori Yama will serve everything from chicken, scallops, squid and zucchini to beef short rib, king mushrooms and the traditional chicken gizzard and chicken skin.
“For a good yakitori, traditionally it is a street food, so they make the most of everything,” Pun said. “They will take a whole chicken and break it down to every morsel of meat, and they use it and cook it.”
Because yakitori is somewhat simple, the cooking process and the sauce that accompanies each dish are both very important. The food is cooked on a grill to give each yakitori snack a charred flavor. Pun is using two custom grills he had built in Chinatown in New York.
Another characteristic of good yakitori is the sauce. Traditionally, the sauce is similar to a thinner teriyaki-style sauce, Pun said, imparting notes of sweet and salty that accent or elevate the flavor of the protein.
Each yakitori spot has its own special sauce, he said, and so will Yakitori Yama.
While the standard sauce typically uses chicken bone broth in trying to accommodate different diets, Pun has created a sauce that, while not gluten-free, is vegan.
To begin, Yakitori Yama will feature 11 varieties of yakitori, all available for $4 apiece, three for $10,or 10 for $30.
“It’s quick bites,” Pun said. “You have a beer, and a stick, and you’re just enjoying the food and beer and hanging out.”
Yakitori Yama is now open every day but Tuesday at 321 C South Main St., Travelers Rest, beside The Community Tap TR.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday.
Follow @yakiyama on Instagram.
Follow Lillia Callum-Penso on Instagram @lpenso