Day 21: Kushikatsu
I knew even before I tried kushikatsu that I was going to like it. After all, I had heard it described as ‘a deep fried kebab’.
The Kansai region, around the Japanese city of Osaka, is where this food is particularly popular and that’s where I decided to do my investigations into this magical sounding dish.
The ‘kushi’ in the name refers to the bamboo skewers which the ingredients are put on. Normally the ingredients we’re talking about are chicken, pork, seafood or vegetables… or a combination.
The loaded-up skewer is then dipped into egg, flour and breadcrumbs and then deep-fried in vegetable oil.
The kushikatsu I tried was a combination of pork and onion, which had been put on the skewer together before being cooked. The flavours seemed to mix together a bit during the cooking and it was hard to tell where one ended and another started when you shoved the whole thing in your mouth.
As you might expect, this meal is popular as a snack and amongst drinkers because of its greasy nature and the ease in eating something you can just pick up with one hand. Around the nightspots of Osaka, it’s a main fixture at bars, cafes and on the streets.
I had it at a restaurant in a town called Koyasan, an hour or so south of Osaka.
The pieces of kushikatsu were served with rice, some vegetables, miso soup and hot tea. The whole meal cost 750 yen (US$7.55) which seemed like a good deal considering it’s quite a tourist town and this restaurant was close to the main temples.