When thinking of kebab, the first thing to come to mind is usually delicious looking meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer. This style of kebab actually originated in Turkey and is known as Şiş kebap, or shish kebab.

Shish Kebab
Photo by Biser Todorov used under CC

But Japan has a whole new take on this Middle Eastern classic.

Japan loves its kebabs

Living in Tokyo one can become quite the Japanese kebab connoisseur. Kebab is one of the most common street foods you can find in the city—great for a meal on the go or a midnight snack. However, kebab in Tokyo is not the kind you would picture if you are from, say, North America. Japanese-style kebabs are not just meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer, but more akin to the Döner-style kebab sandwiches also found in Turkey. It is more similar to a gyro or a pita sandwich in its finished form.

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Japanese kebab
Photo by Devan Baird

The Japanese-style kebab is unique unto itself and should definitely be tried while you are in Tokyo for a night out. These Middle Eastern-influenced sandwiches can be found all over Tokyo, but one of the my favorites is Asian Kebab.

Kebab Store
Photo by Devan Baird

Asian Kebab

After trying many different places around Tokyo, Asian Kebab came out the winner. It offers the standard pita sandwich sold by food trucks and stands all over the city, but what sets it apart is the restaurant’s excellent customer service and consistent quality in taste and flavor throughout its many locations. Asian Kebab only uses chicken in their kebabs and does not mix chicken and pork together like many other places around Tokyo. This is great not only for the texture and the flavor of the kebab, but also for people following a halal diet or for those watching their consumption of red meat.

Choose your Cheapo Meal

For 500 yen or about $5 USD You can get a pita sandwich overflowing with meat, veggies and pickles. With all dishes here you can choose your desired spice level. Whether you want none at all or to breathe fire.

If you are looking for an even more Japanese-style version but with all of the same flavors you can always get the Kebab Don, or kebab rice bowl.

Photo by Devan Baird

This is a rice bowl with kebab meat, veggies, and pickles on top. This can be much more filling and definitely hold you over until dinner if you are looking for a cheap but delicious lunch. The Kebab Don is the only 100 yen more than the sandwich, but with quite a bit more food.

Definitely, one of the stand-out things about Asian Kebab is the customer service. They are always willing to adjust an order to your preference. Whether you would like to combine sauces or have an excessive amount of pickles on your rice bowl, the employees are happy to cater to your taste.  Interactions with the staff are pleasant and they are always happy to chat with the customers.

Another excellent item on the Asian Kebab menu is the Kebab Curry. For 700 yen or about $7 USD you can try this Middle Eastern take on a Japanese classic. (Japan is curry crazy!) Combining it with kebab flavors is a brilliant move and creates a unique spicy flavor, especially mixed with the dill pickles.

Where to Go

Out of the four locations my personal favorite is the Asian Kebab found near Roppongi Station, also known as Roppongi 662. This location is open for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Only a one-minute walk from the 1A exit at Roppongi Station. If you hit the Azabu Police Station you’ve gone too far.

Roppongi 662
Photo by Devan Baird

Other locations can be found in Tamachi, Shirokane, and Shibaura. Each location does have different hours so do check their website (listed down below) for availability.

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Whether you are living in Japan or just coming to visit, Japanese-style kebab is a must try. Cheap and filling, it is a great way to try a fusion of cuisines you can’t find anywhere else.

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