Would you expect a pizza buffet restaurant to make delicious fried chicken?

If there’s one thing that Japanese restaurants know how to do, it’s adapt to the times–even if that means selling face masks instead of tapioca bubble tea. So when Shakey’s Pizza Japan noticed the rising trend of karaage fried chicken specialty stores in Tokyo, they decided to jump on it in December 2020 by opening their own fried chicken shop.

Since Shakey’s Pizza Japan only offers all-you-can-eat pizza, though, our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato was a bit skeptical that a Shakey’s fried chicken bento box would be any good. So he headed on over to the first-ever Karaage Shakey’s store in Tokyo’s trendy Kichijoji neighborhood to find out.

▼If you’re getting your bento box to go, we recommend going to the takeout window here.

Since the Karaage Shakey’s mascot is proudly displayed outside the storefront, it’s easy to spot. This mascot actually doesn’t have a name yet – the company asked for possible names online, and it will be chosen soon.

▼ “Give me a name!” it says. Whoever comes up with the names will get some free T-shirts!

Karaage Shakey’s has a variety of flavor options, from their original “Shakey Kara” seasoning to seven different fried chicken flavors.

▼ Here’s a glance of the menu; the most you’ll have to pay for one menu item is 1,440 yen (US$13.47). Not bad!

You can get three pieces of flavored chicken for 450 yen or five for 730 yen; or you can get a lunch box with three or four pieces for 620 yen and 690 yen, respectively. The lunch box also comes with rice, cabbage, and grated carrot. The best part: you can mix and match any of the seven chicken flavors!

▼ There’s sweet vinegar and tartare, Sichuan Mala, sriracha and mayonnaise, ume (sakura mayonnaise and yukari red shiso), sweet chili sauce, ethnic spice, and caramel nuts.

So without further ado, here’s Mr. Sato’s taste test. He ordered a four-piece fried chicken bento to try as many flavors as possible.

▼ It comes nicely wrapped so it won’t pop open in transit.

Here’s what the bento looks like inside. Mr. Sato said his lunch box also came with spaghetti!

▼ He ordered one piece each of the sweet vinegar and tartare, sriracha and mayonnaise, ume, and caramel nuts flavors.

As far as size goes, they weren’t the biggest karaage fried chicken morsels that Mr. Sato had seen, but it would definitely be hard to eat these in one bite. The outside had a good crunch, and the soft chicken inside didn’t have a ton of juice.

▼ If you’ve ever experienced first-degree burns from hot karaage juice, you’ll know that less juice can sometimes be better.

Mr. Sato didn’t think Karaage Shakey’s chicken stood out from the fried chicken crowd, but considering Shakey’s is mainly known for their pizza, you could say that’s a good thing. It means they can make a decent fry as well as a decent pie.

Out of the four flavors he chose, Hidenori’s favorite was the caramel nuts. Honey and chicken is a tried and true flavor combination in Japan, and the sweetness of the caramel sauce was no different. With the added crunch of nuts on top, it was nothing short of addictive.

▼ Our mouths are watering just looking at it.

He does caution that it’s better eaten by itself since the sweetness doesn’t pair so well with rice, but all in all, Mr. Sato was satisfied with his Karaage Shakey’s experience. He’ll definitely be making a return trip for more of their fried chicken morsels, and next time he might even use this recipe for the chain’s Mojo Potatoes to add even more Shakey’s flavor to the meal!

Restaurant information
Karaage Shakey’s Kichijoji Branch/カラアゲシェーキーズ吉祥寺店
Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 1-15-2, Daiya Valore Bldg B1F
東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺本町1-15-2 ダイヤバローレビルB1F
Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]