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Wait! Follow This Important Rule when Eating Kushikatsu

Kushikatsu refers to meat, seafood, vegetables, and other ingredients that are cut into bite-sized pieces, put on a bamboo skewer, coated in batter, and then deep-fried. It may be very easy to eat, but there are rules you need to follow when eating them at many restaurants. The most important rule is to never "double dip", or dip the kushikatsu into the sauce a second time once you have taken a bite.
Oftentimes, the sauce is put in a stainless steel container and that is used by all customers visiting the restaurant. So, double-dipping is forbidden on hygienic grounds. If you think that the sauce on your kushikatsu is not enough or if you just want to dip again, then scoop some sauce using the cabbage that comes with the kushikatsu and use what the cabbage has scooped for dipping.

1. Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma – Where Osaka’s Kushikatsu Began

Kushikatsu might have already become one of the most popular specialty foods of Osaka, but its origin can apparently be traced to Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma. This restaurant uses special batter for coating, premium oil for frying, and three amazing sauces to bring out the maximum flavors of the ingredients. Note that you may be faced with a long line of customers when you visit, depending on the time of day. It has its main restaurant in Shinsekai (the business district in Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka) and many other branches scattered around central Osaka, so it would be best to choose the branch that is most accessible according to your sightseeing itinerary. If you find it difficult to choose from the wide array of ingredients they offer (about 40 ingredients, including pork, wild-caught shrimp, cheese, onion, and scallops), then go for the set menu that is priced at around 1,500 JPY.

1. Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma – Where Osaka’s Kushikatsu Began

2-3-9 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

2. Kushikatsu Murafuji – They Have All-You-Can-Eat Kushikatsu

Out of all the kushikatsu restaurants in the Shinsekai area, Kushikatsu Murafuji is definitely recommended if you are looking to try kushikatsu without having to worry about your wallet. One stick of ham or mochi (rice cake) kushikatsu at this restaurant is priced from 30 JPY (incl. tax), while a stick of meat, seafood, or vegetable kushikatsu costs 60 JPY (incl. tax) – 100 JPY (incl. tax). You can also enjoy all-you-can-eat kushikatsu at an absurdly low price of 1,000 JPY (for 60 minutes)! This all-you-can-eat service applies a system that will let you order eight sticks of kushikatsu at once, and when you’ve finished all of them, you can order your next round of kushikatsu. You are required to order a drink, so the price of the drink (soft drinks are from 200 JPY (incl. tax)) will be added to your total bill. But even with that addition, there is still no doubt that this restaurant offers outstanding value for your money.

2. Kushikatsu Murafuji – They Have All-You-Can-Eat Kushikatsu

3-1-14 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

3. Yaekatsu – Shinsekai’s Famous Restaurant Where There’s Always a Line of Customers

Yaekatsu is a kushikatsu restaurant founded 50 years ago in the Shinsekai area (considered the mecca of kushikatsu). This restaurant is popular for its fluffy kushikatsu that is deep-fried at high temperatures. Here, a stick of kushikatsu is priced from 100 JPY to around 450 JPY, with 30 different kinds of kushikatsu always available. Recommended is the classic beef kushikatsu that costs 300 JPY (incl. tax) for a set of three sticks and the tender shrimp kushikatsu that costs 450 JPY (incl. tax). The dote-yaki of beef sinew stewed in white miso that costs 300 JPY (incl. tax) for a set of three sticks is also famous. Yaekatsu is a famous restaurant that everybody loves, irrespective of age or gender, so expect to see a long line of customers waiting outside its doors from the morning. When you go inside this 50-year-old restaurant, you will be met with a bright and welcoming vibe, so even first-timers will surely have fun. You can order everything on the menu to go, but note that the kushikatsu might get a bit cold.

3. Yaekatsu – Shinsekai’s Famous Restaurant Where There’s Always a Line of Customers

3-4-13 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

4. Hirotaka

If you want to relax while you eat instead of lining up and then eating in a hurry, then how about checking out Hirotaka? Here, there is a huge table where you can eat kushikatsu amongst a calm vibe. The interior of the restaurant may have a refined atmosphere, but do not worry, as you can eat vegetable, meat, and seafood kushikatsu here at reasonable prices that range from 80 JPY (excl. tax) to around 300 JPY (excl. tax) for one skewer. You have to try the Tsutenkaku Ebikushi (priced from 850 JPY (excl. tax) to around 1,100 JPY (excl. tax), depending on the size) that is claimed to be the largest shrimp kushikatsu in Shinsekai! Aside from kushikatsu, there are also extensive menus for other dishes, wines, and cocktails, so you can enjoy eating kushikatsu in an atmosphere evoking an izakaya (Japanese-style tavern).

4. Hirotaka

Sunny Court Ebisu 1F North, 2-2-8 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

5. Gojoya – A Place for Artisan Kushikatsu

Gojoya is not your standard joint, as it is quite a fancy kushikatsu restaurant. Using different ingredients that are in season every month, this established restaurant serves more than 300 kinds of artisan kushikatsu every year. The menu is basically omakase (chef's choice) style. The recommended kushikatsu are fried one after another, so you need to say “stop” when you’re already full. The menu changes every month, but you are bound to encounter kushikatsu that you won’t find in other restaurants like horse mackerel and peach, or salted cabbage and corned beef. They will give sauce, ponzu (citrus-flavored soy sauce), and salt for your exclusive use, so you can enjoy your kushikatsu with the seasoning that you think best matches the ingredients. Take note that there are only counter seats at Gojoya, and reservations are required.
The average prices for the kushikatsu are 1,200 JPY for 10 sticks, 1,800 JPY for 15 sticks, 2,400 JPY for 20 sticks, and 3,000 JPY for 25 sticks (all prices excl. tax).

※Photo is for illustration purposes

YASUHIRO AMANO/123RF

5. Gojoya – A Place for Artisan Kushikatsu

Takesan Bldg., 2-1-11 Uchihirano-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

6. Shichifukujin Minamimorimachi – Where You Can Enjoy Kushikatsu and Specialty Dishes

Shichifukujin is a restaurant offering more than 40 kinds of crispy and great-tasting kushikatsu (100 JPY (excl. tax) and up) that are carefully cooked by the chefs. Savor the kushikatsu by smothering it in the secret sweet sauce that has been continuously improving in taste since the restaurant was established. Pair your kushikatsu with a beer or highball! The first glass of any alcoholic drink only costs 100 JPY (excl. tax) (your total bill must be at least 500 JPY to enjoy this discounted price). Another recommended dish here is the original curry, which is made with your favorite kushikatsu placed on top of slow-cooked curry (500 JPY (excl. tax)).

6. Shichifukujin Minamimorimachi – Where You Can Enjoy Kushikatsu and Specialty Dishes

2-10-23, 1F Higashi-tenma, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

7. Katsu Hankyu Sanbangai Branch – Offering a Wide Variety of Vegetable Kushikatsu

This is a restaurant that offers a rich variety of kushikatsu that combine meat and seafood with vegetables, such as asparagus, lotus root stuffed with meat, and shimeji mushroom wrapped in pork. Recommended here is the Omakase Course (average price is 3,000 JPY (excl. tax) for 10 sticks). The chef will fry the special ingredients according to the eating pace of each customer, and he will keep on frying and serving you kushikatsu until you say stop. There are five homemade sauces available. You need not worry, though, because they will teach you which sauce goes well with every kushikatsu. From the counter seats, you can get a good view of the kushikatsu being fried.

7. Katsu Hankyu Sanbangai Branch – Offering a Wide Variety of Vegetable Kushikatsu

Hankyu Sanbangai South Bldg. B2, 1-1-3 Shibata, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

8. KARATTO – A 100-Year-Old Hideaway for Adults

With jazz music playing in the background, the century-old Shinsaibashi KARATTO is considered a refined retreat for adults. Here, the crispy-fried kushikatsu of sashimi-grade seafood, vegetables, beef, and other specialty ingredients is made even more delicious by the secret sauce that has a robust taste. You should try the KARATTO Set (1,800 JPY (excl. tax)) that comes with the restaurant’s famous dote-yaki (beef sinew stewed in miso) and 10 sticks of recommended kushikatsu. Enjoy your meal with a glass or two of carefully-selected wine. There are English-speaking staff, as well as English and Traditional Chinese menus.

8. KARATTO – A 100-Year-Old Hideaway for Adults

1-3-23 Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

9. Kushikatsu Bon Kitashinchi – A Michelin-Star Restaurant

Kushikatsu Bon Kitashinchi is a kushikatsu restaurant that defied the image of kushikatsu as a common food and was awarded a Michelin star. Here, you can taste luxurious kushikatsu dishes that generously use luxury ingredients such as Chateaubriand, foie gras, and fresh seafood. The Omakase Course with around 20 sticks of kushikatsu is priced from 14,000 JPY (incl. tax). Handpicked seasonal luxurious ingredients are fried in a custom-made copper pan with excellent heat conduction, using a blend of cottonseed oil and lard. Savor fancy kushikatsu in a refined space that is perfect for experienced diners!

9. Kushikatsu Bon Kitashinchi – A Michelin-Star Restaurant

Dojima Merry Center Bldg. B1, 1-3-16 Dojima, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

10. Kushikatsu Semmonten AGEHA Grand Front Osaka – Great-Value Kushikatsu Course for Lunch

Kushikatsu Semmonten AGEHA is an artisan kushikatsu restaurant that will get you hooked on the incredible texture of its kushikatsu. Located inside Grand Front Osaka, a famous sightseeing area, this is a place where you can dine on great-value kushikatsu meals during lunchtime. A set meal of kushikatsu with unlimited servings of rice, salad, and dessert costs 1,500 JPY (excl. tax) and up. Meanwhile, from the regular menu, you have to check out the limited artisan kushikatsu (200 JPY (excl. tax) – 400 JPY (excl. tax) for one order) that changes every month! There are many seasonal kushikatsu items at this restaurant that you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy the kushikatsu with their special sauce, dashi (stock), or salt.

10. Kushikatsu Semmonten AGEHA Grand Front Osaka – Great-Value Kushikatsu Course for Lunch

Grand Front Osaka South Bldg. 7F, 4-20 Ofuka-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

There are now many different kinds of restaurants you can go to if you want to eat some kushikatsu. They range from casual kushikatsu restaurants that you can easily enter, up to a restaurant that has a Michelin star under its belt! So, what kind of kushikatsu do you like? In any case, enjoy Osaka’s special kushikatsu!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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