Deep-fried skewered meats and vegetables are a snack delight in Japan. Originating in the early 20th century in Osaka, the nation's street food capital, kushi katsu as they are known in Japan have spread throughout the country.
Typically a small skewer of selected meats and/or vegetables, kushi katsu differs from its deep-friend cousin tempura by virtue of its batter - kushi katsu batter makes use of a stronger flour and features breadcrumbs. The ingredients are coated in this batter, deep-fried and served with a dipping sauce.
Common kushi katsu ingredients include pork, chicken, beef, and various seafoods. Vegetables include onion, eggplant, takenoko (bamboo shoots) and lotus roots. The list of ingredients really is up to the chef and his or her establishment. Cheese sticks are now quite common and so too are sausages and processed seafoods like kamaboko and chikuwa.
Kushi Katsu Tanaka is a famous chain store specialising in kushi katsu, and their stores can be found pretty much everywhere. The Soka store that we visited is non-smoking and family friendly - very much in keeping with the slowly rising tide of satisfying families first that is currently spreading throughout Japan.
Specials and discount deals change all the time but during our visit, a serving of ice cream and as well as takoyaki balls were free of charge for school age children. Recently, we've noticed an all-you-can-eat offer too...
Unlike the kushi katsu from Osaka, the skewered pieces in Tokyo tend to be larger, and so it was here in Kushi Katsu Tanaka. Prices range around a very reasonable 100, 120, 150 or 200 yen per skewer. Kushi Katsu Tanaka also serve non-skewered dishes like noodles, karaage fried chicken and tofu.
If you are ever in the area, drop by for some cheap and tasty street food in a restaurant.