Kushiage

I guess I’m a sucker for anything crumbed and deep fried, which is unfortunate as it’s not something anyone should eat every day… though I would if I could. Kushiage fits that bill: deep fried skewers of fish, meat and vegetables served with a variety of sauces. Kushiage, also commonly known as Kushikatsu and is said to have originated in Osaka in the late 1920s. From there, it spread throughout Japan, taking on some slight regional variations, most notably in Tokyo and Nagoya where the types of sauces are different.

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A selection of Kushiage sauces (plus mustard and salt)
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Shiitake mushroom, fish and pork belly skewers

You don’t really come across Kushiage restaurants as often as other kinds of restaurants but if you like fried food, its generally worth going out of your way for it. At this particular place, we had a set course with a variety of different skewers.  We were also given a specific dish for the condiments, arranged in a very particular order. The menu included instructions for which sauce should go where so it was all very precise. I believe this style is more common in Tokyo whereas with Osaka style Kushiage, there is usually a single shared dipping sauce container (with strict rules for no double dipping).

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Shrimp, stuffed capsicum and pork belly
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Salmon, konyaku and… I unfortunately forgot what the last one was.

My favourite from the pictured set was the Shiitake mushroom, but it was all delicious and the perfect accompaniment to beer.

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