Love at Deep-Fry and First Dip

Osaka

The street food scene of any city is incomplete without a deep-fried dish. For Osaka, that’s Kushikatsu (串カツ) or Kushiage (串揚げ). Joining the ranks of Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki, Kushikatsu is a beloved experience that locals and tourists can’t get enough of. Kushikatsu is anything—and we mean anything—that is skewered, battered, and deep-fried. Run down a list of ingredients and it has probably been made into Kushikatsu: beef, shrimp, onion, cheese…the only limit is your appetite. Manners first: no double-dipping! Most Kushikatsu restaurants have just one sauce dispenser for the whole table, so keep it clean. Use the complimentary cabbage leaves to ladle a bit more sauce when things get a bit dry. Now that you know proper Kushikatsu etiquette, it’s time to go through our list and satisfy your craving for all things deep-fried!

  • Dine
  • Cafes & Restaurants
  • Gastronomy
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  • Quintessential
  • Kushiage
  • Local Experience

Updated 2 years ago

Kushikatsu Daruma (Shinsekai)

4 saves

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Osaka’s love affair with deep-fried food started in Shinsekai, a colorful neighborhood that was built with New York and Paris in mind. Daruma features more than 40 kinds of Kushikatsu, from Classic Beef that is tender to bite to Red Ginger that is refreshingly acidic. Upsize your beer to a large as you make your way through the long list! It’s believed that the owner of Daruma served it first in 1929. Kushikatsu was a cheap, quick fix for workers that favored hearty ingredients, but now you never know what’ll leave the deep-fryer next! There are over 10 locations for Daruma in Osaka, but Shinsekai is where they keep their heart, home, and roots. It’s popular with the shopping crowd so there’s always a line, but turnover is quick. It’s an unspoken rule to free up your seat as soon as you’re done.

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Tengu

てんぐ

2 saves

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Serving only 15 (or less) kinds of Kushikatsu, Tengu takes a different approach from Daruma. Share the counter with locals and maybe make a few new friends. (Sharing the same dipping sauce bonds two people for life.) The menu is all in Japanese, but you’re already in the midst of the frying action so just point at what you want. Tengu keeps it so simple, but satisfying. All is as it should be: the batter is crisp and absorbs the sweet sauce nicely because the Kushikatsu recipe adds panko breadcrumbs into the usual egg, water, and flour mixture.

  • +81 6 6641 3577
  • 3-4-12 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan
    大阪府 大阪市浪速区 恵美須東 3-4-12

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Yakko

2 saves

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Crisp, light, and oh-so-easy to eat, Yakko’s breading helps make this shop a contender on the competitive Kushikatsu game. At around JPY120 to JPY280 (USD1.10 to USD2.56) per order, the binge is light on the wallet as well. This is why the narrow counter is always packed and food is always fresh from the fryer. As is custom, a tub of sauce waits patiently for a dunk, welcoming each skewer with a sweet, fruity flavor. Pierce straight through to Yakko’s best with the Pork and Onion (串カツ), Gizzard, (砂ずり), and Kiss Fish (キス) Kushikatsu. The cooks are relentless in their frying, so sometimes one of them might pull out a smoke. Just shrug it off to a local experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Matsuba Sohonten

松葉総本店

2 saves

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Osaka truly outdoes itself by taking something as banal as frying to a tradition worth mastering. At Matsuba (串かつ松葉), they have such expert craftsmen. The classics are in complete attendance, of course, but a few new flavors make their debut: like camembert or chicken in curry powder. They may seem like strong flavors, but the light batter and vegetable oil keep flavors clean. Ordering at Matsuba is slightly different. The Kushikatsu is already fried and laid out ready to pick from. Movement is pretty quick so a new warm batch is always on its way. Prices can be identified by the kind of stick used—short 12 centimeters and split 15 centimeters sticks, can mark a difference from JPY100 and JPY200. Don’t worry if you get confused, there’s a guide on the counter to help you.

  • +81 6 6312 6615
  • 9-20 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
    大阪市北区角田町9-20

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Gojoya

五條家

1 save

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Kushikatsu takes ingenious forms at Gojoya—and we’re talking about more than sticks and ordering. Gojoya gets creative with their craft, as they serve up to 300 different combinations per year. Safe to report, every course is a surprise. At about JPY120 (USD1.10) per skewer, they’re offering quite a steal. Gojoya only caters to 12 people on their intimate counter, so call ahead for reservations. You won’t want to miss out on their fresh take on a local classic!

  • +81 6 6945 5045
  • 2 Chome-1-11 Uchihiranomachi, Chuo, Osaka, Japan
    大阪府大阪市中央区内平野2-1-11

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Yaekatsu

八重勝

1 save

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

In a world of lean Kushikatsu breading, Yaekatsu adds a little fluff on their sticks. Their not-so-secret ingredient is shredded yam. The taste contrasts in an interesting way with Kushikatsu like flaky Lotus Root and tangy Worcestershire sauce. Yaekatsu deviates from Kushikatsu a bit with their Tote-yaki, which is beef tendon stewed in white miso. Their shrimps are also skewered and fried impeccably. Patrons are arranged in a square arena around the chef, as everything is in full view: the food, the chef, and the other hungry diners. Drop by early for a seat at the counter because lines can get pretty long!

  • +81 6 6643 6332
  • 3-4-13 Ebisuhigashi Naniwa-ku Osaka, Japan
    大阪府 大阪市浪速区 恵美須東 3-4-13

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Karatto

カラッと

1 save

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Squeeze into a quiet alley away from frantic downtown Osaka, and into Karatto. Go ahead and bring your friends here, as tables have ample space for a round of sake and Kushikatsu. Their skewers are ridiculously heftier than those usually seen on the scene, and their banana, avocado, and mozzarella creations will have you reaching for one stick more.

  • +81 6 6258 2255
  • 1-3-23 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan
    大阪府 大阪市中央区 心斎橋筋 1-3-23

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Omiya (Ebisuhigashi)

近江屋

1 save

Osaka, Japan • Recommendation • 

Omiya has a special thing going with their yam batter and lard fry. Their Kushikatsu is crisp outside, but fluffy inside. They offer a wide array of unique seafood, like eel, easily setting theirs apart from the other Kushikatsu joints. The classics we all know and love are also on the bill: beef, pork, lotus root, shishito (pepper), and tuna. Feel free to dunk it well into the sweet sauce and fall in love even more. A party in Omiya is a party in your mouth!

  • +81 6 6636 1194
  • 2-4-18 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan
    大阪府 大阪市浪速区 恵美須東 2-4-18

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