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Tasty questions with Takehiro Ito, Tanuki’s Cave


Tanuki’s Cave has legendary status in Auckland. Located down under Queen Street it has a bunker-like quality making it a cosy haven for tasty bites and your choice of Asahi, Sapporo or sake. Their yakitori (skewers, cooked over charcoal) comes 2 sticks per order making it perfect for intimate dinners. They have vegetarian and safe options like chicken, steak and pork belly as well as hearts, liver, giblets and tongue for the more adventurous. If you get a chance, try the chicken hearts! The Koala and I celebrated one of our wedding anniversaries at Tanuki’s Cave…meat on sticks and flowing booze for two. It was perfect.

pompoko1tanuki is a Japanese racoon dog and has significant meaning in Japanese folklore. A great dinner and movie paring for Tanuki’s Cave would be Pom Poko, an animation about Tanuki’s and their magical testicles. Yes, you read that correctly, I said testicles. Did I mention it’s a kid’s movie?

Takehiro Ito is the is the Head Chef at Tanuki’s Cave and below are his  answers to the tasty questions I cooked up for your enjoyment.


Describe your restaurant’s food:

Traditional, creative, Japanese.

What is your restaurant’s signature dish?

Our simple yakitori chicken.

Name your favourite comfort food:


What did you have for breakfast? 

A banana.

What is the most delicious thing you’ve eaten this week? 


What is an underrated ingredient? 

Scotch fillet.

What are 3 sources of inspiration to you?

Yakitori sauce, mince, and our famous spinach salad dressing.

Favourite restaurant?

There’s a potluck dinner tomorrow night (and you’re not working) what are you bringing?

Saikyo-yaki salmon (saikyo miso is a sweet miso marinade from Kyoto).

What is your most memorable meal?

Crayfish sashimi in Japan.
Images used with permission from Tanuki’s Cave.
This entry was posted in: Interviews


I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.


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