Izakaya at Home

Izakaya style dinner
Sometimes you’re hungry for izakaya style food… but you really just want to drink your beer out of a jar. When that happens, you’re pretty much left to do the cooking yourself, unless you’re brave enough to bring your own jar to an izakaya… let me know if you’ve tried that. For the time being, I’ll share with you how to produce an izakaya style dinner at home.

First, there are some things you’ll be needing.

  • jar for beer – It’s better that way, maybe just because I’m from Virginia.
  • beer – Anything will do.
  • small plates, bowls, and dishes – One hallmark of Japanese presentation is in the dishes
  • food – See below for details.

After work today I stopped by the grocery store and bought some food and beverages. Combined with a few leftovers, this comprised my dinner.

The Dishes:

  • beer in a jar
  • hiyayakko (a tofu dish) with myoga
  • daikon (japanese radish) salad
  • kimchi
  • pan-fried hotate (scallops) drizzled with soy sauce
  • refried buri (Japanese Amberjack, a kind of fish)
  • pan-fried roast duck
  • refried mashed satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato)
  • olives

Breaking those down, one by one.

Beer in a Jar

Beer in a jar.

Step 1. Traditionally a mason jar is used, however when unavailable we get creative. My jar comes from natural peanut butter purchased at an import store. I cleaned it well.

Step 2. Add beer.


Step 1. You can purchase the small sized packs of tofu like I did, or get a larger one and cut it. This is served cold.


Step 2. Toppings for this dish are most commonly ginger and negi (spring onions), but myoga is a decent alternative. Dice and dress.

Myoga in a pack

Step 3. Flavor with a good quality soy sauce and or something like ponzu.

Daikon Salad

Daikon Salad
Step 1. Cut off a 2-3 inch conical section of the radish.
Step 2. Peel.

Step 3. Cut from the top of the circle down about 0.25 cm each strip, and then in the other direction to create very thin sticks.

Step 4. Arrange and dress with desired flavoring, soy sauce, ponzu, salad dressing, mayonnaise. Anything goes.


Step 1. Buy, serve. Profit.

Pan-fried Hotate

Pan-fried Scallops and Cabbage
Step 1. Buy fresh scallops or pre-boiled scallops, either will work. I bought pre-boiled ones. The size doesn’t really matter either.

Boiled Scallops

Step 2. Cook or reheat. In either case they go into a frying pan and get drizzled with soy sauce. You can oil the pan with butter if you like.

Reheating the fish and shellfish
Step 3. Serve with thinly sliced cabbage dressed with salad dressing and a small reservoir of dipping mayonnaise.

Refried Buri

Refried Buri
Step 1. Found these at the supermarket, not a common thing. I assume they had some buri that was going to go bad and decided to deep-fry it. That’s just a guess though.

Step 2. Reheat and serve with cabbage in the same way as the hotate.

Pan-fried Roast Duck

Duck and Satsumaimo
Step 1. I buy these in frozen packs at a gyomu-yo (commercial use) supermarket, then slice them up into bacon shape.
Roast Duck

Step 2. Brown in frying pan.

Refried Mashed Satsumaimo

Refrying the satsumaimo
Step 1. Peel, boil, mash with butter. I had a container of this already in the fridge. Yay for leftovers.

Leftover Satsumaimo

Step 2. Reheat in frying pan, a little blackening never hurt anyone.

Step 3. Serve with duck, because it’s super oily.


Step 1. Buy, serve.


Once you’ve finished enjoying, I recommend cleaning up immediately. This type of dinner involves a lot of dishes, and they’re trivial to clean up if you do it right away, but quite stressful if you leave them around. I was done in no time!
Almost done!

Clean dishes
Clean pans
You’ll still have your second jar of beer waiting for you for when you finish the dishes. That’s why we buy the spare.
Beer and dishes


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Filed under beer, food and drink, Japan, recipe

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