Yakitori Tatsujin

Special thanks to Yakitori Tatsujin for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Of late, kushiyaki (串焼き) is gaining popularity partly due to the fact that this delicacy is similar to satay which Malaysians are familiar with. Operating at Macalister Road, Yakitori Tatsujin (焼き鳥達人) is one shop that specializes in this Japanese street food.
In case the name sounds familiar, Yakitori Tatsujin is indeed the continuation of Tatsu Jin at Kampung Jawa. Unlike other shopping mall kiosks, Yakitori Tatsujin presents a sense of casual ambience for dine-in customers.
The walls of the dining area are decorated with individual pages of Japanese manga (漫画), each meticulously affixed in neat fashion. The 7-foot-high paper collage took two days (and lots of glue) to complete.
The key aspect of kushiyaki is its tare (垂れ) sauce recipe. This sauce is thoroughly brushed on the meat before grilling. Intense savoriness of tare sauce is atypical of regular Japanese dishes because kushiyaki is often meant to pair with Japanese wine (酒). At Yakitori Tatsujin, each kushiyaki skewer is cooked over burning charcoal, such that the meat attains "toasty" aroma when served.
One of the most popular kushiyaki is Chicken Breast (ねぎま, RM4.00), which also includes thick scallion stalks. Tare sauce generally works harmoniously with poultry.
For red meats, try some Pork Belly (豚ばら, RM4.00) too. It would be preferable if the pork were cut into thinner slices. This allows the sauce to penetrate the meat more thoroughly.

Next, Grilled Mushrooms (椎茸串, RM2.50) are cooked to just the right amount such that they maintain a good amount of juiciness.
For something more unorthodox, try a skewer of Bacon Cherry Tomato (プチトマト巻き, RM4.50). The use of cherry tomatoes for kushiyaki is unheard of, but I welcome new ideas at all times. Cherry tomatoes are wrapped with delectable bacon strips, much to my liking.
Meanwhile, Bacon Kani (カニ巻き, RM4.50) is similar to the previous dish, whereby cherry tomatoes are replaced with crabsticks.
Bakuhatsu No Tako (爆発の蛸, RM24.00) is made from deep-fried calamari rings. The rings have been coated with tare sauce to give a unique sense of savoriness. This dish is quite addictive and is certainly recommended.
Saba (鯖, RM13.00), or mackerel, is a common choice for grilled fish in Japanese cuisine. The fish has lots of tiny bones, so use caution when eating.
If kushiyaki is not enough to satiate your appetite, go for something more staple like Hamaguri Ramen (ハマグリラーメン, RM10.90). The generous amount of clams is a delight indeed. The soup carries strong garlic flavor to suppress the fishy smell.
On the other hand, I think the ramen noodles deserve some room of improvement in terms of texture. I personally prefer more springiness instead of doughiness.
One of the main highlights during this meal is Masaki Mixed (RM35.00). This iced cocktail is made from Japanese liquor (焼酎), soda water, lemon juice and sour plum. This drink comes in a large kettle and is sufficient for around 8 tea cups. Consumed in small sips, the initial alcoholic appeal is gradually supplanted by fruity aroma and tangy flavor.
Of course, there are also several non-alcoholic beverages on the menu, such as this jug of Watermelon Juice (RM9.00).
Overall, Yakitori Tatsujin presents a reasonably wide range of kushiyaki choices. The taste is commendable in most cases. As the restaurant is targeting for the masses, the pricing is more affordable than other eateries of comparable setting.

Name: Yakitori Tatsujin (焼き鳥達人)
Address: 66, Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-409-8800
Business hours: 11:00am-2:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TatsujinPenang
Coordinates: 5.41512 N, 100.32694 E
Directions: From Magazine Road (Jalan Magazine), drive on to Macalister Road (Jalan Macalister). Yakitori Tatsujin is approximately 200 meters further down the road, on the right side of the road. Street parking is available along Macalister Road or its offshoots like Lorong Kinta and Macalister Lane (Lorong Macalister).

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