Japan takes skin care pretty seriously. Aside from all the parasols, cosmetic-grade sunscreens, and arsenal of lotions stocked at every drug store, some people look for a skin-beautifying boost in the foods they eat.
Collagen-rich dishes are particularly popular, especially when cooked in a hot pot. But what if you don’t just want food that contains collagen, but globs of it that contain food? Then this Tokyo yakitori restaurant has just the thing with its chicken skewers inside blocks of collagen.
The hook at restaurant Zenyaren, located in Otemachi, the heart of Tokyo’s financial district, is that it gathers various types of regional chicken skewers all under the same roof for diners to enjoy. As tasty as yakitori is, though, it’s usually served piping hot, right off the grill, which means it isn’t the most refreshing thing on a hot summer day. That’s why Zenyaren created its newest menu item, cool yakitori.
The two stick set, which costs 380 yen (US $3.75), gets you one skewer each of tsukune (minced chicken meatballs) and kashira (actually pork cheeks, but served at many yakitori restaurants). Both skewers are encased in a block of collagen gelatin.
This would probably be a good time to point out that there’s no solid medical or scientific evidence showing that eating collagen actually has any benefits for your skin. Even if you’re skeptical about the unspoken yet implied positive effect on your appearance, there’s still one more reason to give this unique dish a try. Being wrapped in gelatin keeps the meat extra juicy, since even as you bite into it, any liquid that squirts out gets absorbed into the coating to preserve all of its flavor.
Still, we can imagine some people being a little squeamish about eating something that looks so different from ordinary yakitori. Zenyaren is only serving up 20 sets of cool yakitori each day, and if you don’t order yours quickly, you can be sure 20 other customers looking for beautiful skin or tasty chow will.
Zenyaren / 全や連
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Otemachi 1-7-2,Tokyo Sankei Building, Basement level 2