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Where to Get the Best Kushikatsu in Osaka

Updated: 3 days ago

If you are wondering where to get the best kushikatsu in Osaka, look no further. It's the must-have street food in Osaka - the fried, skewered treat sought out by locals, late-night izakaya hoppers, and curious travelers.


Similar in name to pork or chicken katsu - i.e. breaded meat - the katsu part is indication that you're about to get some really good fried food.


Everyone says to go to a place called Daruma. Fine, do that. But you'll get tourist filled seats and what looks to me like McDonald's chicken nuggets. And that's cool, it's a street food, so maybe that's what you want.


But what if I told you there was a secret kushikatsu spot in Osaka just a few blocks from popular Dotonbori where you can get next-level kushikatsu?


Note: Always Pack Tissues represents many tried and tested travel sites as what is called an 'affiliate' partner. That means if you click on my ads I may get a commission from a resulting sale.


fried food on a stick

What To Expect


Hidden in plain sight on a back alley, a drape of Japanese banners signals the entrance to an old-style building that I believe was once a geisha house.


With private rooms, moody wood trimmings, and a long bar for serving guests, the ancient yet upscale vibes hit you in the face immediately upon entering.


a wooden bar filled with diners looking in on a kitchen with white coat chefs

After ordering a beverage (they have tea, beer, wine and sake for sure), you choose from two set menus - the average menu, or the mega menu.


These of course have different names like Menu A or Menu B or something along those lines, but just ask the chef the difference and he'll tell you.


Don't expect English here, but they do know the occasional key word. For instance, the difference was 'beef' versus 'chicken'. This goes a long way as the courses begin to come out of the kitchen.


But let's back up. For those who don't really know yet, what is kushikatsu?


What is Kushikatsu?


In its essence, kushikatsu is food on a skewer, fried with a breading. Think chicken nuggets on a stick.


But it doesn't stop at meat. You'll find seafood on sticks, meat on sticks, vegetables, and so on.


The batter and oil used for frying makes a huge difference in what you will get.


Kushikatsu Manners


I was told this over and over on the blogs:


Don't double dip!

Ok, so when you sit down to a kushikatsu experience you will get sauces. It's unclear exactly what goes with what, but you be your own guide. Just remember to dip in the sauce once per stick.


Also, remember to always ask the chef if you can take a photo before taking one. Japan has strict etiquette to follow, especially in dining, and taking photos without permission is one of the no-no's.



Where Is The Best Kushikatsu in Osaka?


So, where is the best kushikatsu in Osaka? If you ask me, it's at Kushinobo Osaka Hozenji. It's located here:


1 Chome-5-6 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan

It's super important that you use this address in Google Maps to find it, as there appears to be a whole chain of places that look completely modern and unlike this location, but with the same name. If you don't see ancient cuteness overload when you walk in, you're at the wrong place.


How The Set Meal Works


Let's go with the terms 'Menu A' and 'Menu B' for kicks and giggles. Menu A features chicken, shrimp, vegetables, etc and you get something like seven skewers.


fried food on a skewer with soup

Menu B is the heftier meal with a price tag to suit (If I recall, $40 per person versus like $28) and it includes beef and more skewers, let's say 10. The numbers may not all be exact, but the idea is one gives you more food.


Menu B also provides an extra sauce that was stupid good, so I think that's an excellent upsell too.


Starters and Condiments


The meal starts with a nice hot towel for cleaning up, a bowl of soup, then each person gets a plate for sauces including soy, vinegar, salt, mustards, and so on. Each has a unique flavor pairing with what is to come.


set meal spread of salad and rice with pickled vegetables

Then, out comes a round of items including white rice, salad greens, and the typical pickled vegetables.


The Kushikatsu Courses


Next you'll receive vegetables, seafood and meat.


We had things very familiar like a fried shrimp or chicken. We also had really impressive fried vegetables like this asparagus. Wow!


fried asparagus

Each dish was more delicious than the last. Take a gander at some of what we received:



The artistry in preparing each dish kept us drooling and taking photos. Some items came wrapped in foil, hot from a stove top. Others had a mayonnaise or other adhered teaser to help us figure out what was inside.


It's kind of like going out for dim sum. You're not really positive what is inside each one until you bite into it.


That said, this is for adventurous eaters.


Each skewer came out in a fairly rapid pace, served with a plate and a little ceramic fish to stick the empty skewer in. When you put the stick in the fish mouth, it seemed like it was the indication to the chef that you were ready for the next round.


The Process


Watching the chefs, they had a simple three-part process.


First, they battered the food, followed by breading.


batter, breading and fry oil

Lastly, they drop it into the fry oil.



Finale


At the end we received matcha ice cream and a little chewy bean biscuit.



green ball of ice cream

Looking for Other Kushikatsu Experiences?


Check out some of these group tours around Osaka:



All in All


For a food that is likely meant to be taken in on a drunken crawl through Osaka's lively nightlife scenes, I loved experiencing this upscale version of a classic bar food. The price tag was obviously a little higher than what you get on the street, but SO worth it.


The experience at Kushinobo Osaka Hozenji top to bottom was so enjoyable. The food was delicious, the wine was excellent, the atmosphere was unbeatable, and it never got loud or crowded. We didn't see a single tourist, only locals, and it was very pleasant.

happy couple in a restaurant

10/10 Kushinobo Osaka Hozenji was repeatable and I'll be back on the next adventure to Japan.


Lastly, do not stress over getting a reservation. Just show up!



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