I’m kind of embarrassed I haven’t written more about the food I’ve been eating. Because I have been EATING. I want to do these places justice though, so be patient with me plz. Ok, so lets begin: one of my favorite restaurants in the town of Minamitane is Sama Sama. I have no idea what Sama Sama means, but when I hear it, I think of yakitori.
This is a plate of mixed yakitori shio (chicken skewers seasoned with salt…somehow they taste like more than the sum of their parts). If you’ve watched “The Mind of a Chef” season one with David Chang on Netflix, you know what the first skewer on the left is: a painstakingly unraveled chicken wing. The next is chicken with green onion, then a dark meat skewer, a thin-sliced pork belly skewer, and the last is white meat with wasabi. The Japanese word for what these are is oishii (meaning delicious). Oishii is one of the first words I learned in Japanese and I use it all. the. time.
That’s Masa-san, the cook/owner grilling some yakitori on the left, and a close-up of his handiwork on the right. Are you guys seeing how atmospheric this place is? It’s cozy and feels like every piece of it has been sort of, I don’t know, collected? The fact that it’s run entirely by two people helps too.
Breaded and deep-fried Camembert cheese. Yup.
All the salads in Japan are awesome. The national obsession with freshness is really highlighted in salads: no brown edges or soggy bits here. Sliced pork and sesame dressing on top.
This is yakitori tare (pronounced ta-ray) – similar to the yakitori shio, but topped with a sweet, brown sauce called tare which is sort of similarish to teriyaki. I should probably look that up.
That up there is a Korean style green onion and cheese pancake, cut into wedges. Nice and crispy on one side, cheesy on the other.
They have these mini table grills you can order to grill your own meat over Japanese white binchotan coal. Masa-san fills them with hot coals and sets a lava stone on top to use as the grilling surface. This one’s being used on some duck.
Masa-san torching some marinated mackerel, table-side.
These things are out of control. Chicken wings that have been carefully slit open and stuffed with gyoza filling.
Deep fried chicken. Wing. Gyoza.
Bottles of sake and Masa-san. This place has basically charmed my face off, and Masa san is a great cook. If you ever go to Tanegashima, head to Sama Sama and eat all the things. Actually, if you’re anywhere within a thousand-mile radius of Tanegashima it would be very much worth the trip to eat at Sama Sama. Just go, ok?