Kushikatsu(串カツ) are deep-fried skewers of… almost anything, served with a dipping sauce. They’re a specialty here in Osaka, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving this tasty food around the Shinsekai area. One of the best-known restaurants is Kushikatsu Daruma, which opened way back in 1929 has been owned and run by the same family for four generations, these days they have a number of establishments in Osaka. I love kushikatsu and I’ve been way overdue to visit Daruma, but I’m happy to say I’ve finally been!
We visited the Dotonbori restaurant, it’s usually very popular with a gigantic queue stretching outside into the street, but visiting in the afternoon on a Thursday allowed us to walk straight in. The mascot character posing outside is Mr Ueyama, who is actually the company president – he’s famous for striking this cross-armed pose and grimace. Ueyama-kun features in the recent Yakuza 5(龍が如く5) game, possibly with a different name. I can’t find any footage but screenshots suggest he gets in a scrap or two
Inside, the air was thick with the smell of fried food and the sweet kushikatsu sauce. Daruma use a special recipe consisting of: secret batter, tasty oil and sauce – this unique taste is what makes them famous!
Inside wasn’t anything too special looking, but you go for the food, not the decor! You can buy single skewers which cost between ¥120 to ¥240 each, or get one of the sets – I went for the Hozenji set which was ¥1800 for twelve skewers and a side order of edamame beans.
The service was pretty fast, within about ten minutes this huge tray of kushi arrived 😀 My set included:
- Classic kushikatsu
- Tonkatsu(pork cutlet)
- Chicken meatball
- Rice cake
- All-natural shrimp
- Quail egg
- Cheese and chikuwa fish paste
- Sweet potato
- Karaage(deep fried chicken)
You’ll find a huge vat of sauce on every table, so dip away but don’t forget the golden rule of kushikatsu… no double dipping!. All of our kushi was so tasty, I can see why people queue for so long to eat at this place. Maybe I’ll check out the original Shinsekai restaurant next time.
Here’s an awesome promotional video for Daruma I found while trawling youtube for Yakuza 5 footage!
Dotobori Daruma is open every day, from 11:30 to 22:30, enjoy!