We have no beef with a gyudon place that makes karaage this good.

Here at SoraNews24, we spend a lot of time thinking about, searching for, and, of course, eating fried chicken. So imagine our surprise when we found out there’s been a great source for karaage, Japanese-style fried chicken, right under our noses this whole time.

You’ll have to forgive us for not noticing sooner, but we think it’s understandable because this fried chicken has been hiding in somewhat plain sight at, of all places, Sukiya, one of Japan’s big three gyudon (beef bowl) fast food chains.

▼ Sukiya’s gyudon, their most famous menu item

What’s more, not every Sukiya branch serves fried chicken. It wasn’t until a friend of our Japanese-language reporter Takashi Harada tipped him off to the existence of Sukiya karaage that we even thought to go looking for it, utilizing the location finder on the company’s website. Once we’d arrived at a karaage-offering branch, we tapped over to the side menu tap of the touchscreen order terminal, and there it was, karaage (からあげ)!

▼ You can sort of tell it’s not part of every branch’s restaurant by the way the karaage button sticks out from the rest of the order options.

A two-piece order of karaage is just 110 yen (US$0.73), which is a genuine bargain. At 290 yen, though, the six-piece order is an even better value, so since this was one of those happy occasions where buying more fried chicken was the economically sensible choice, that’s what we did.

Back at the taste test center, we opened up the bag and plated our Sukiya karaage.

It passes the visual test, looking every bit as tasty as the karaage from a fried chicken specialty shop, despite being a Sukiya side project. More importantly, though, it tastes great! The skin is crispy but the meat flavorful and juicy. They’ve even sorted the seasonings superbly, with initial saltiness transitioning to properly powerful garlic, which is especially welcome after the disappointing lack of potency we experienced with Burger King Japan’s Ninniku Garlic Burger the other day.

Sukiya’s karaage is so good that we’d be perfectly happy making an entire meal out of a plate of it and some white rice. At the same time, the ultra-affordable two-piece order size means that adding a few morsels of fried chicken as an accompaniment to a beef bowl is also an option.

Now knowing how good Sukiya’s karaage is, we’re bummed out that it’s not available in every branch, but we’re guessing that’s an equipment and training issue, since there are no other deep-fried foods on the menu. For now, the best thing to do is to check out the location finder on Sukiya’s website here.

In the right column of icons is one for karaage (からあげ).

Click on that, and it’ll bring up a list of all the branches that do serve karaage…

…which you can then further sort by putting city, neighborhood, or train/subway station names into the search box, by which we’ve been able to confirm that, among others, in Tokyo, Sukiya’s Shinjuku NS Building, Shibuya Nichome, and Hacchobori Yoonchome branches all serve karaage.

So it might take a little research and legwork, but it’s worth it the next time you’re feeling more like Team Karaage than Team Tonkatsu.

Photos © SoraNews24
Website images: Sukiya
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]