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Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook Hardcover – May 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
There should be a hundred more cookbooks like "Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook". This is the real stuff, what Japanese cooking really is, not intricately rolled sushi or fancy designs on square plates. Delicious, cheap food served up fresh and fast, with a menu changing by the hour depending on what ingredients are available, often hand written by the master and pasted on the walls.
Mark Robinson shares my love for izakayas, and has put together a brilliant cookbook and guide based on some fabulous establishments. Along with the recipes, there are short essays on izakaya culture, their history and what they mean to the Japanese people. It is a splendid ritual, the ordering of drinks and paired food, the requesting of today's specialties, the casual atmosphere of an ongoing party where anyone can feel free to jump into conversation with anyone else.
I cooked at an izakaya in Osaka, whereas Robinson calls Tokyo his stomping grounds, so a lot of these recipes are unfamiliar to me, but they are all 100% authentic and delicious.Read more ›
The dust jacket front flap says that Izakaya is the first publication in English to delve into every aspect of the izakaya, a unique and vital cornerstone of Japanese food culture. However, after reading the book, a second book would have difficulty providing insight additional to Robinson's- he paints such a vivid picture that the only way to better get an idea of what the izakaya experience is like is probably to go to one. From the physical description of the pub, to the demeanor of the chefs, and even the kind of company one can expect in each izakaya, Robinson captures all the details. Robinson chose the eight izakayas featured for their quality, ambience, and variety, and the unique charms of each izakaya shines through in the text.
The recipes are for the most part no-fuss recipes (no need to train for decades) with few ingredients, but the emphasis is on quality and creativity. The range from the familiar (sweet corn kakiage tempura, soy-flavored spare ribs, simmered kamo eggplant with pork loin, sliced duck breast with ponzu sauce, fried udon, summer scallop salad) to more exotic offerings (scrambled eggs with sea urchin, "motsu" beef intestine stew, shark fin aspic).Read more ›
The only problem I've noticed while testing the recipes is the U.S. measurements are somewhat off. For example, when I made the corn kakiage, the recipe stated 1 cup of flour. The kakiage was good, but kind of doughy. I read the recipe again and saw it said 1 cup (4 oz) <-- which should be half a cup. Next time I'll try the recipe at 1/2 cup of flour instead.
I also read another recipe where it referenced 1 cup of liquid at 240ml and 1 cup liquid at 180ml.
Other than that, the book is great and the corn kakiage, although doughy, was still DELICIOUS! :)
The book itself is gorgeous, with great photos that recreate the ambiance and mood in the various "favorites" of the author, this is much more than a cookbook. It's almost an ethnographic study about these gems that make the Japanese food scene so varied, so colorful, so alive. This book was born out of the passion of his author, and you can feel his enthusiasm on every page, which makes it grasping.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The recipes in the book were a little unique. They skipped traditional izakaya staples, things like karakage, tai meshi, buta kakuni, takowasa, takoage. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Precious83
While it is a great book highlighting Tokyo izakayas, in particular Shibuya locations, it doesn't expand to the wider and richer foods found in izakaya outside of Tokyo. Read morePublished 2 months ago by mingpagoda
Something different to add to the cookbook shelf. I use it for ideas for appetizers.Published 4 months ago by Dina Sequeira
Great book. A must have for anyone that loves Japanese cooking or restaurants.Published 6 months ago by Francisco Velazquez
Awesome book with lots of detailed pictures. If your big into tapaz/small plates this is the book for you!Published 6 months ago by asdf
Awesome cookbook. Also goes into the history and thoughts behind some of the recipes. Try the strewed daikon, it is delicious. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert L.