"B-kyu gourmet" is a phrase in Japan that refers to cheap but delicious food favored by working-class people, and kushikatsu is a famous B-kyu gourmet standard in Osaka. Kushikatsu is a fried skewer dipped (only once!) in sauce. Here are 5 restaurants that have become highly recommended thanks to word-of-mouth reviews.
Yaekatsu is well-known even among the many kushikatsu restaurants in existence. It's loved by locals and tourists alike, and it's so popular it normally has a line. Their batter uses flour as well as ingredients like egg and yamaimo (mountain yam) to create a light and delicate coating, while each ingredient is cut large. The sauce, made with Worcestershire sauce, adds a fruity touch to the flavor and goes well with the hot fried coating. Two recommended kushikatsu are the irresistible, soft and flaky lotus root or the chewy, addictive seitan. They're known for their grilled beef tendon stewed in white miso. The sweet-spicy seasoning of the beef tendon has a layered richness that's definitely a standard of Osaka B-kyu gourmet that you'll want to try.
2. Shinsaibashi Karatto
Shinsaibashi Karatto is inside a renovated warehouse that was built 100 years ago, so you can eat kushikatsu in a retro atmosphere. Unlike standard kushikatsu places where you eat the skewers with sauce, this restaurant offers salt instead. While they have regular ingredients like beef, pork, and wieners, they have rare items like banana or avocado and condensed milk for sweet skewers. Also, the first-rate mozzarella skewer is incredibly popular! It's a treat that will make your mouth water thanks to the crisp coating and the melted cheese that engulfs your taste buds. This is a recommended shop for people that want to have a slightly stylish kushikatsu date.
3. Kushikatsu Matsuba Souhonten
Kushikatsu Matsuba Souhonten is a particularly popular restaurant even among the 100 shops lined up in Umeda Shokudogai, just a 3 minute walk from Umeda Station. It's tachinomi-style (standing-and-drinking), and you pick the kushikatsu you want to eat from those placed on the stand once they're done. The springy, thick coating and the juiciness of the ingredients hasn't changed since the restaurant first opened. The recommendation is the "wakadori," or "young chicken." The soft, juicy bone-in chicken matches perfectly with the curry-seasoned coating. They don't just top up the sauce, but instead they create new batches of their original blend. You can eat your kushikatsu with plenty of sauce, and make no mistake but it make you want to drink more beer! This is a restaurant that you can casually drop by when you don't have much time.
3. Kushikatsu Matsuba Souhonten
4. Kushikatsu Daruma
Kushikatsu Daruma is an Osaka chain restaurant begun in 1929 that has 13 branches throughout the city. Of course, they're known for kushikatsu, but they're also famous for their doteyaki, a dish made from beef tendon and konnyaku (konjac jelly) stewed in miso. It's so popular that people go there not for their kushikatsu but for their doteyaki. Since it's stewed over many hours, the richness of the beef and the strong flavors of the miso go extremely well with liquor. They have an excellent line-up of more than 40 kinds of kushikatsu. Vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, and more, all of them are crisp and juicy and covered in a light batter. Even though kushikatsu is fried, their skewers are easy-to-eat, which is one reason this chain is so popular. If you see one during your trip, definitely stop by.
Shichifukujin is so popular that every seat gets taken the second it opens for lunch. They offer not just kushikatsu and doteyaki, but also oden (stewed ingredients like eggs, daikon radish slices, potatoes, etc.). It's a popular drinking place thanks to its working class atmosphere, and there are many local regulars. The recommended kushikatsu here is egg. Usually eggs at kushikatsu means quail eggs, but here an entire chicken egg is served on a skewer and fried. It's definitely a satisfying, filling treat. Also, the slightly rare konnyaku katsu is something you should definitely try! The spicy konnyaku katsu is covered in the miso used in the doteyaki. You'll grow addicted to the spicy-sweet juiciness!
Most kushikatsu cost around 100 JPY per skewer in most restaurants. Please try this reasonably priced, filling Osaka gourmet dish.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.