Sherilyn Siy


Explosively delicious yakitori

Sherilyn Siy
Sherilyn Siy   - 3 min read

There is nothing like the smell of chicken skewers grilled over charcoal to make my mouth water. I have all reason to believe yakitori is just waiting to be discovered by global foodies.

My kids spoke fondly of the best yakitori they have ever had when they had to stay with our neighbor the day I gave birth. They've been known to say, "Have another baby, Mommy, so that we can have yakitori again!" Our neighbor bought yakitori from a shop five minutes drive away that's open only once a week. Since my kids are pretty young, I didn't think much of their evaluation but was curious enough to try it.

Mahatoma is not a stand-alone shop but an extension to the Tadokoro home, fitted with charcoal grills and a small take-out counter. Tadokoro-san sports rebellious looking long hair and a black shirt, looking every bit like a guy who loves yakitori and knows exactly what he's doing. I ordered chicken thighs (momo), ground chicken balls with yuzu (yuzu tsukune), and because it it stands out in the menu, ground chicken with bacon and cheese (bacon and cheese tsukune), all dipped in tare, a sweet salty sauce usually made with mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar.

The smell filled our car and it took all self-control not to eat it right there and then. My kids were absolutely correct -- this is the best yakitori I've ever had. The meat was tender and tasty to the last bite. The smoky flavors are enhanced by the sauce. Say yes when Tadokoro-san asks if you would like the free chili miso paste. It is the bomb and buying a big tub of it separately costs ¥150.

Mahatoma is open only once a week, Saturday, from 10:00 to 20:00. While Tadokoro-san can be expected to be there on the one day they are open, it is best to phone your order ahead of time so he can get your order ready. Everything in the pretty extensive yakitori menu (i.e. different parts of the chicken incluing the neck, skin, kidneys, heart, cartilage, tail; Mahatoma has some pork items as well) costs ¥100 each except for three special items that cost ¥200 each (wings and tail).

Getting there

Mahatoma's yakitori stand is equidistant from both Komagawa Station served by the JR Line and Koma Station served by the Seibu Chichibu Line. It would take about 30 minutes or so to walk from either station. The walk from nearby attractions such as Koma Jinja, Kinchakuda or the Old Koma Town House is quite manageable but otherwise, driving is recommended. From the main road number 15, turn into Lawson. You will see a big facility called Hiruma Clinic. Mahatoma is a green house opposite the clinic. There is a huge empty lot where customers can park briefly to pick up their orders.

Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2...