“Kushikatsu” has long been loved by the people of Osaka. It is very reasonably priced with one stick for about 100 JPY at the general restaurants. They are eaten deep-fried and smothered in sauce. It’s the best match with ice-cold beer! Here are some recommended restaurants as well as important rules to remember when eating kushikatsu.
Ingredients such as meat, seafood and vegetables are cut into bite-sized pieces, placed on a skewer, dipped in batter and deep-fried. This is kushikatsu. It’s very easy to eat, but there are certain rules that apply at many of the standard shops. The rule is, “never dip your kushikatsu into the sauce twice” (once you put take a bite, you must not dip it in the sauce again). There are many cases where the sauce is provided in a stainless steel container that is used by all the customers in the restaurant. So for hygienic reasons, it’s forbidden to dip twice. In the cases where you feel that the sauce isn’t enough and you want to dip it again, you can scoop some sauce with the cabbage that is provided with the kushikatsu and dip it in there.
Although Kushikatsu has now become one of Osaka’s famous foods, it is said to have originated at “Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma”. The batter that covers the ingredients, the oil used for frying and the sauce are the three specialties that bring out the maximum flavor of the ingredient. Take note that depending on the time of day, there can be a queue. It began with the main branch located in Shinsekai (the business district in Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka City), but there are many other branches scattered around the Osaka metropolis so you should choose the most accessible based on your sightseeing plan. If you cannot choose among the wide variety of ingredients (about 40 kinds like pork, natural shrimp, cheese, onions, scallop etc.), the set menu starting at 1,500 JPY is also recommended.
Among the many kushikatsu restaurants crowded together in the Shinsekai area, if you would like to eat cheaply, recommend “Kushikatsu Murafuji” is recommended. You can order single kushikatsu like ham or mochi from 30 JPY each (tax included) and you can eat kushikatsu with meat, fish or vegetables for 60 JPY - 100 JPY each (tax included). Furthermore, all-you-can-eat kushikatsu course (60 minutes) is priced at an extraordinary 1,000 JPY! You can order 8 kushikatsu at once and when you’ve eaten them, you can order more. Also, since you are required to order a drink (soft drinks are from 200 JPY (tax included)), that also gets added to the total fee, but even so, there’s no doubt that the cost performance is astonishing.
This kushikatsu restaurant established 50 years ago, is also located in the kushikatsu battle ground of Shinsekai. It’s famous for its fluffy kushikatsu, fried at high temperatures. The prices range between 100 JPY - 450 JPY, and there’s usually about 30 varieties. We recommend the standard beef kushikatsu (3 sticks) which costs 300 JPY (tax included) and the tender shrimp kushikatsu which costs 450JPY (tax included). Also, the dote-yaki beef stew cooked in light brown miso (3 sticks) for 300 JPY (tax included) is also popular. It’s an immensely popular restaurant loved by men and women of all ages and there's always a queue from the morning. The 50 year old building welcomes you with a bright and welcoming atmosphere, so first-timers are also bound to enjoy themselves. The kushikatsu might get a bit cold, but they also offer to go boxes.
If you would like to relax and take your time to enjoy the savories, then how about the kushikatsu dining “Hirotaka”? Here, you can eat at their spacious tables and the calm atmosphere makes it also welcoming for women. The interior has a refined ambience, but you can eat vegetable, meat and fish kushikatsu for a reasonable price of 80 JPY - 300 JPY each (tax excluded). You should definitely try the self-proclaimed largest in Shinsekai “Tsutenkaku shrimp skewer” (depending on the size, the price fluctuates between 850 JPY - 1,100 JPY (tax excluded)). Apart from kushikatsu, they also offer substantial food, wine and cocktail menus, so you can enjoy kushikatsu in the mood of an izakaya.
“Gojoya” is a high-class, fancy kushikatsu restaurant. This well-established restaurant offers artisan kushikatsu, using seasonal ingredients and offer over 300 varieties in a yearly period. The menu is basically left in the hands of the chef. The recommended items are fried in succession, so be sure to say “stop” when you're full. The menu changes every month, so you can encounter kushikatsu flavors that you will not find in any other restaurants. For example, horse mackerel and peach, salt cabbage, corned beef etc. This restaurant can provide sauce, ponzu and salt to have on hand for your own exclusive use, so you can pick the flavor that best matches the ingredients and savor your kushikatsu. It’s a counter-only restaurant so if you wish to visit, be sure to make reservations.
The average prices are 10 sticks for 1,200 JPY, 15 sticks for 1,800 JPY, 20 sticks for 2,400 JPY and 25 sticks for 3,000 JPY (all tax excluded).
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What did you think of it? Even though it’s kushikatsu, there are big range in prices. If the rules make you a bit uneasy, don’t be afraid to consult with the restaurant staff.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information.