Kushikatsu (串カツ)

This section will describe one of the Japanese dishes kushikatsu.

Kushikatsu is a skewer dish with bite-sized meats and vegetables on the skewer breaded with flour, eggs and bread crumbs, which is deep-fried. Kushikatsu' refers to different dishes, though, depending on the regions.

Kansai region

Bite sized meat, sea food and vegetables are put on a skewer, one ingredient on one skewer, breaded and deep-fried. Many restaurants use sticky potatos to make a soft breading. Kushikatsu is allegedly originated in Shin-Sekai (Osaka) in Naniwa Ward, Osaka City and its original style is to dip kushikatsu in a thinned Worcester sauce in a deep container made of stainless steel and so on. Downtown areas in the Kinki region, particularly in Osaka, kushikatsus are usually served at bars with no stools or, even if there are stools, at bars that have only counters, where the sauce in the containers are shared with other customers. Although it is getting rare recently because of consideration for hygiene, at some traditional kushikatsu bars, towels to wipe your hands with are hung from the ceilings.

Another feature of kushikatsu bars is, in consideration for hygiene, they all have a sign that says, 'Dippng in the sauce twice is banned.'
This sign itself is now recognized as something special and indispensable to kushikatsu bars. It is common that raw cabbages cut in square (free of charge) are served and they are eaten as refreshment during the meal. For a customer who desperately wants to dip it in the sauce more than once, cabbages can be used to scoop the sauce.

Outside the Kinki region, in the Chukyo region including Nagoya City, if you order a kushikatsu at a bar that serves both kushikatsu and dote-ni (cow line meat stewed in miso, sugar and sake), the kushikatsu will be served dipped in the dote-ni broth flavored with hatcho miso (bean paste). Some people believe that a misokatsu, one of the specialities of Nagoya originates from this style of eating kushikatsu dipped in the dote-ni broth.

Recently, upscale restaurants are getting popular where various types of creative kushikatsu are served a la carte or in a course menu. At these restaurants, in many cases the kushikatus are flavored with their own seasonings, such as different types of salts, tartar sauce, miso or sesami-based sauce as well as Worcester sauce.

Such nouveau types of kushikatsu includes a type served as a fondu-style hot pot dish. A pot with oil in it is set on the table and customers are supposed to cook kushikatsu themselves. There are also restaurants that serve kushikatsu in a buffet style.

Kanto region

In the Kanto region, kushikatsu refers to a skewer of pork sliced in three to four centimeters cubes and onions or green onions arranged alternately one by one, breaded and deep fried like a pork cutlet. Like pork cutlet, the kushikatsu is generally served with sliced cabbages with the sauce poured on top of it. Some other vegetables may be used but the seafood or any other ingredients are not used.

It is not common to deep-fry a skewer of only one ingredient, as in Kansai.
The deep-fried skewers of a single item, such as meat, vegetables, seafood, etc. are not called kushikatsu but usuallly called 'fried something' or 'fried skewer.'

[Original Japanese]