How to eat kushikatsu (deep fried skewers) at Kushikatsu Tanaka | Enjoy one of Osaka’s specialties with some drinks!
Kushikatsu is one of the most popular foods in Osaka. It is a perfect accompaniment to alcoholic beverages, made by coating meat, seafood or other ingredients in a light batter and deep frying them. In this installment, we visited the popular restaurant Kushikatsu Tanaka, known all over Japan, to find out how to enjoy the classic kushikatsu!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is kushikatsu?
- 2 Check the menu
- 3 Order a drink
- 4 Enjoy your drink with a otsumami (side dish)
- 5 Kushikatsu assortment
- 6 Add plenty of sauce
- 7 Put the skewers in the skewer collector when finished
- 8 Enjoy some Kushikatsu Tanaka specialties
- 9 Tanaka specialty udon (thick noodles) to finish off your meal
- 10 Enjoy the specialty sauces at home
What is kushikatsu?
Kushikatsu is made by skewering meat, vegetables, or other ingredients, coating them with batter, and deep frying them in oil. They are then dipped in a rich, sweet and spicy sauce. There are various theories about the origin of kushikatsu, but the most famous story is that it was created for nearby workers at Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka in the early Showa period (1926-1989) to provide an inexpensive way to satisfy their appetites.
Kushikatsu is known as a specialty of Osaka, but today it can be enjoyed at izakaya-style restaurants throughout Japan. Kushikatsu Tanaka, which we visited for this installment, is popular kushikatsu chain with locations in Tokyo and other parts of Japan. This restaurant is distinguished by red and yellow lanterns at the front of the restaurant and the bustling atmosphere that can be heard even from the outside. Enjoy the good old-fashioned Japanese atmosphere.
Upon entering the restaurant, check out the menu first. There are many tempting menu items, from kushikatsu to standard Osaka specialties and even some eye-catching surprises! English menus are also available at all locations.
Order a drink
The first thing to order is, of course, drinks. We recommend a cold beer or a whiskey & soda highball.
Enjoy your drink with a otsumami (side dish)
Once everyone has made a toast, order some otsumami before moving on to the main attraction, the kushikatsu.
Smoked horse meat さいぼし saiboshi
Saiboshi is smoked horse meat. It is an Osaka specialty that is hard to find elsewhere. Enjoy it with garlic soy sauce.
Simmered beef tendon 牛すじ土手 gyusuzidote
Gyusujidote is another Osaka specialty. The beef tendon slowly simmered in a special sweet miso melts in your mouth.
You can order each kushikatsu individually, but this time we ordered the Standard 8-Kushikatsu Assortment recommended by the restaurant. We enjoyed them with a whisky and soda highball.
Lotus root レンコン rennkonn
The popular renkon kushikatsu is both crispy and crunchy at the same time.
Onion 玉ネギ tamanegi
The large half-moon shaped ones are tamanegi skewers which are packed with a great sweet taste.
Pork 豚 buta
Buta kushikatsu features the succulent umami of pork wrapped in a batter that fills your taste buds.
Beef 牛 gyu
Lightly flavored gyu kushikatsu has a slight amount of fat, making them easy to eat.
Shrimp エビ ebi
The springy deep-fried ebi kushikatsu has an amazing taste!
Quail egg うずら uzura
Deep-fried boiled uzura kushikatsu is popular with children as well!
Red pickled ginger 紅しょうが benishoga
The beni shoga is a standard menu item in Osaka. You are sure to love its unique sourness and flaky texture!
Asparagus アスパラガス asuparagasu
This item is made with a whole fresh asparagus. Hold the part wrapped in aluminum foil and enjoy.
Add plenty of sauce
Before, at authentic Osaka kushikatsu restaurants, a deep container filled with sauce was placed on the counter, and the kushikatsu could be dipped only once into the container, a style that was well known as “no second dipping”. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sauce is now served in a dispenser.
Originally, the kushikatsu were immersed in a container full of sauce, so it’s OK to cover the kushikatsu with sauce until it turns brown!
Put the skewers in the skewer collector when finished
Be sure to eat the kushikatsu while it’s still piping hot! Place the finished skewers in the skewer collector set on the table.
Enjoy some Kushikatsu Tanaka specialties
In addition to kushikatsu, enjoy some famous otsumami at Kushikatsu Tanaka.
Potato salad ポテトサラダ poteto sarada
This is a potato salad with lumpy potatoes and flavored soft-boiled egg in a bowl. You can make your own potato salad by mashing the ingredients with a pestle rod.
Have fun arranging the ingredients to your liking, whether you enjoy your potatoes coarsely crushed or finely mashed!
We made coarse potato salad! The lumpy texture of the potatoes is amazing.
Pork, leek and cheese omelet チー平焼き（チーズ入りとん平焼き） chiipei-yaki
Osaka’s famous tonpeiyaki (pork and leek omelet) with cheese and mayonnaise, topped with plenty of leek.
Fish & chips フィッシュ＆チップス fissyu & chippusu
Fries topped with soft and fluffy fried white fish.
Octopus dumplings たこ焼き takoyaki
At Kushikatsu Tanaka, you can even make your own takoyaki at your table! Takoyaki is an Osaka specialty, in which octopus is wrapped in flour mixed with dashi (soup stock) and grilled into a ball shape.
First, light the stove of the takoyaki cooker. The staff applies the oil on the griddle in advance. The dough contains aburakasu (deep-fried meat bits), so mix it thoroughly before pouring it onto the griddle.
Once the griddle is heated up, pour in the batter. Pour all the batter in without worrying about keeping it neatly in the shape of a circle.
Place the octopus and beni shoga in the poured batter.
The key to making takoyaki well is to take your time. If you try to turn them over when they are not cooked, they will lose their shape and become a mess. It is better to wait patiently while enjoying other dishes.
Ideally, the takoyaki should be flipped over to form a nice round shape. The takoyaki in the middle is harder to heat and will take longer to cook. After turning over the 8 surrounding pieces, turn over the middle piece.
Since takoyaki is packed full of the umami of dashi, it is recommended to eat the first takoyaki without sauce. After that, you are free to top it with their special takoyaki sauce or whatever you like!
Tanaka specialty udon (thick noodles) to finish off your meal
Udon noodles with deep fried meat bits かすうどん kasuudon
Another specialty of Kushikatsu Tanaka is kasu udon. Finish off your meal with a bowl of udon immersed in the gentle taste of dashi broth.
Kasu is made by squeezing oil from beef hormone, and is actually healthy as it is high in protein, low in fat, and full of collagen.
Enjoy the specialty sauces at home
Kushikatsu Tanaka’s specialty sauce brings out the umami of the kushikatsu. It is actually available for purchase in stores. This sauce is also popular among tourists from overseas, as it helps them remember the taste of Japan after they return to their home countries.
Kushikatsu Tanaka offers not only kushikatsu but also a variety of other Osaka specialties. There are locations all over Japan, so be sure to visit one during your stay in Japan!
* The published information is current as of December 2022. Prices and other details are subject to change.
Kushikatsu Tanaka is chain of kushikatsu restaurants located in Tokyo and other parts of Japan. This family-owned chain offers reasonably priced kushikatsu with a commitment to the highest quality of batter, oil, and sauce. We visited Kushikatsu Tanaka Higashi-Gotanda.