Kushi Katsu – An Exciting Way to Enjoy Fried Food in Japan

When Japanese cuisine is mentioned, no doubt most people first think of sushi, takoyaki, rice, and ramen. Others may remark that part of the reason for this country’s long lifespan and low obesity rate is due to the abundance of healthy food in the average Japanese person’s diet. While this is partly true, there are plenty of fried foods here as well that are great for the occasional snack. Fried chicken, locally called “karaage”, is widely popular, and katsu dishes such as chicken, pork, and shrimp often adorn bento boxes and curries.

Kushi katsu is a dish from Osaka that, although similar, is slightly different from regular katsu. So what is it?

Kushi Katsu

Richard, enjoy my life! on Flickr

Kushi katsu is a dish from Osaka but you can easily get it outside of Kansai as well. It is said to have originated as a type of street food and gained popularity because it was easy to eat on the go, affordable, and filling. It’s typically served on a stick and is often referred to as the Japanese version of a kebab.

nakashi on Flickr

Kushi katsu can be anything as long as it’s fried, on a stick, and comes with special kushi katsu sauce, often tonkotsu sauce. Menu items include pork, beef, chicken, tomato, quail’s eggs, radish, eggplant, mochi, ham, and even banana. You can order them separately and they all come together on a dish.

If you eat them with sauce, there is a special rule. You must only dip your food into the sauce once! When you dip it, get a good amount on there as it’s considered rude to re-dip the item. The reason may be because once you’ve bitten into the katsu, the inside of it may get into the sauce.

Where to Eat It In Osaka

If you’re in Osaka, trying kushi katsu is a must! There are various places where you can try this famous dish; the most popular include Kushikatsu Daruma in Shinsekai, Yaekatsu that is also in Shinsekai, and Ueshima in Nishi-Shinsaibashi. Each restaurant has their own style and may taste a little different! As always in Japan, be sure to take plenty of cash as these restaurants don’t accept credit cards. The “no dipping twice” rule is universal for kushi katsu restaurants, so be careful.

Where to Eat It Outside Osaka

The best place to try kushi katsu if you’re not in Osaka is at a restaurant called Kushi Katsu Tanaka. It’s an informal, comfortable chain restaurant with drinks, a lively atmosphere, and all the kushi katsu you can eat. Since it’s open well into the night, it’s a popular place to go for an evening out.

The menu serves katsu at between 100 and 300 yen per piece, though this can vary across restaurants. Various dishes including noodles are also available, though of course the kushi katsu is their main attraction.

There is also a fun game you can play with dice to try and get larger portions or discounts on their whiskey highballs! If you’re drinking, be sure to play and try to win!

Kushi katsu is a delicious dish that is quite varied, so whether you’d like to eat egg, meat, or vegetables, you’ll definitely find something you like with this delicious fried food in Japan.

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