Life in TransitA Digital Nomad in Asia

Piss Alley Yakitori, Shinjuku - Japan

Piss alley as seen from a Yakitori stall.

In Shinjuku, we found this narrow alley lined with Yakitori stalls, seating 6 to 10 people, serving delicious barbecued meat. Affectionately called “Piss Alley”, it also has a more politically correct name “Memory Lane”.

The tiny stalls were usually staffed by one chef and one assistant. There wasn’t room for more in most establishments, not unless you wanted to sit upstairs.

The latter was a less preferable choice, as we opted to squeeze in and rub shoulders with the people next to us in front of the chef, enjoying a local experience.

While stall hopping and enjoying a skewer or two of yakitori along with a glass of beer, we saw a TV crew making their own personal documentary interview the chef we nicknamed “towel guy”. Thus we decided to eat at his stall. He made room for four of us despite being packed. It was one of the best food experiences we had.

“Please try”, he would say as he offered us many varieties of meat to tantalize our palates. Worth noting, Teresa said they probably had other vegetarian skewers, it’s just that us guys ordered purely meat.

At one point, he cooked us a skewer of a very tender meat. It had the consistency of liver, but not the taste.

He looked at our confused faces and asked us to guess what it was. Richard ran his hand from his chest slowly downwards, and Towel Guy repeatedly said no.

“You have it, you have it,” he pointed at myself and Richard. “She doesn’t.”

Little did we know, we just ingested testicles. Good thing he waited until we had eaten before asking us to guess what it was.

While fatty pork was generally our favourite, you have to try their offerings from beef wrapped Enoki mushrooms to good old plain chicken yakitori. Don’t forget the beer to go along with it.

If food is in your itinerary while in Tokyo, “piss alley” is a place you must visit.

Talk a walk down the alley with me »

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