Incomparable to your average nugget, chicken karaage (a.k.a. Japanese fried chicken) is known for its consistently crunchy coating, yet with succulent meat on the inside. Although mostly synonymous with deep-fried chicken, technically speaking, karaage covers this particular style of deep-fried food in Japan as a whole. With links to traditional Chinese-style deep-fried foods, karaage generally includes various meats and fish pieces rolled in potato starch, followed by a seasoning marinade, then deep-fried to crispy perfection. Pick some up from street food stalls and convenience stores, enjoy them as a part of a home-cooked meal or in bento lunch boxes, karaage is incredibly popular as an appetizer or a meal.
Chicken karaage has pleased the deep-fried needs of Japanese people since the 1920s. As legend goes, its popularity is said to have spread from a humble restaurant in Oita, Kyushu, the city that’s also now home to the annual Karaage Festival. Locally known as “zangi,” Hokkaido’s specialty spiced karaage is extra juicy, made from high-quality chicken that’s locally-bred. Meanwhile in central Japan, Nagoya’s purebred “cochin” meat from native chickens are considered the “Kobe beef” of Japanese chicken, also making for outstanding karaage. Perfectly matched with beer or some Japanese sake, try karaage at an izakaya during a bar hopping tour, or learn how to cook it for yourself during a karaage cooking class. Explore our food experiences with deep-fried karaage, because who could possibly pass up Japan’s fried chicken when it tastes this good?