Let it never again be said that America is the only country that has an unhealthy relationship with fried foods.

While you may not find such cynically, blatantly unhealthy fare as fried butter and fried Oreos  here in Japan, you will find that many square meals consumed in Japan are going to come with some kind of fried food. A lot of times the default is karaage, a dish that is basically the Japanese analogue to American fried chicken, and an item that Japanophiles the world over desperately, vainly argue is somehow healthier than American fried chicken by virtue of its, uh… Japanese-ness or something?

The truth is, karaage is every bit as unhealthy as fried chicken from anywhere else and the Japanese are just as prone to gorging on it to the point of discomfort. Don’t believe us? Exhibit A: This all-you-can-eat fried chicken restaurant we went to for, uh… “research purposes.”

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More specifically, our beloved Mr. Sato went to check out the all-you-can-eat fried chicken cholesterol-fest at Wataribouzu in Tokyo’s Gotanda, because, come on, the rest of us have families here.

The interior decor and menu of Wataribouzu resembles that of any other minor izakaya Japanese pub, Mr. Sato writes, except that for a mere 690 yen (US$5 or so), you can chow down on as many pieces of fried chicken as you could possibly want.

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While the restaurant’s menu is varied and pretty expansive, the all-you-can-eat chicken deal comes with just a side of rice and miso soup – but that’s really of little concern when you can order as many pieces of the chicken as you want right up front. Other restaurants in Tokyo that offer all-you-can-eat options often try to approach something vaguely resembling a profit by limiting your orders to single plates at a time, putting an effective cap on how much you can actually order before your time expires, but not so here – if you want your first plate of fried chicken to contain 20 pieces, just ask for 20 pieces.

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Around lunchtime, when the all-you-can-eat menu is offered, Mr. Sato says Wataribouzu can get pretty packed, so if you do plan on going, it’s wise, he points out, to order as many pieces as you think you can handle right up front, lest you get stuck waiting up to 15 or 20 minutes for a second batch.

As for taste? Mr. Sato says the karaage is excellent, marinated in the restaurant’s signature soy-based sauce and perfectly fried for a crunchy outside and juicy, soft interior. Also, he, uh… mentioned something about 11-yen beers (for the first round, anyway) through the month of July, as the restaurant celebrates its 11th anniversary, but you couldn’t possibly care about that, right?

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If you’re planning on taking advantage, keep in mind that Wataribouzu is open only for dinner on weekends and lunch hours on weekdays are from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. , so show up early if you plan on ordering a bunch of plates, as they’ll probably cut you off at 1:30 p.m.


Restaurant information
Wataribouzu / わったりぼうず
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Nishi Gotanda 1-7-1, Ribio Gotanda Pragma G Tower basement level 1
東京都品川区西五反田1-7-1 リビオ五反田プラグマGタワーB1
Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-5 a.m.; Saturday 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sundays/holidays 5 p.m.-midnight; days preceeding holidays 5 p.m.-5 a.m.

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