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Why Double Dipping Kushi-Katsu is Frowned Upon, and How to Avoid It

Why Double Dipping Kushi-Katsu is Frowned Upon, and How to Avoid It

Date published: 5 September 2019

Kushikatsu is one of those classic dishes in Osaka, a city famed for its variety of culinary delights. It's something you definitely want to try if you take a trip there. Before you do, however, you'll want to know a few notes of etiquette, including the local rule against double dipping. Buckle in and study up: It's time to learn how to enjoy kushikatsu!

So what is kushikatsu, anyway?

So what is kushikatsu, anyway?

In Japan, food with a "koromo" - the crispy coating after frying - is called "katsu". Katsu that's on a "kushi", a skewer, is hence called kushikatsu. Affordable and tasty with beer or other drinks, they're well-loved in and around Osaka.

They're made by deep-frying skewered and battered food. The “koromo” is usually thin, adding a light crunch to the main ingredient's flavor.

All sorts of things can go on skewers, from the standard beef to seafood, vegetables, and more! And they're all about 100 yen apiece, so no need to worry about the budget! There are, however, more establishments nowadays that deal in more high-class ingredients: Wagyu beef, cheese, and even desserts.

So, why isn't double dipping allowed?

So, why isn't double dipping allowed?

You generally eat kushikatsu by dipping it into sauce. Restaurants generally won't have sauce in bottles, but in a tray like the one pictured above. Now, when dipping it in, you want to watch out for double dipping. If you do, the staff will warn you about it!

Most restaurants have rules against double dipping. Why? Well, since the sauces are shared among all customers, the rule exists for hygiene reasons. It's part of the kushikatsu dining etiquette and is a defining characteristic of kushikatsu in Osaka to many.

Dipping Like A Pro
Step 1: Dip It Diagonally!

Dipping Like A Pro
Step 1: Dip It Diagonally!

If you want to avoid double dipping, you want to get a lot of sauce on your first dip. The trick is to lay the skewer down and put it into the sauce at a diagonal angle. This will get the sauce going right down into the core of the katsu.

Step 2: Add More with Cabbage!

Step 2: Add More with Cabbage!

Most kushikatsu joints provide all the cabbage you can eat, absolutely free. While they're meant to clean out your mouth in between kushikatsu chomps, they're actually an essential item for transporting more sauce to your plate.

First, scoop up the sauce with it, using the cabbage like a spoon - and there you go, extra sauce without dirtying the tray! Use this technique to have all the sauce you want, but remember that double dipping applies to cabbage, so use a new leaf each time.

Retro Style Restaurant, “Daruma Sohonten”

Retro Style Restaurant, “Daruma Sohonten”

So, what restaurant started the trend against double dipping? That would be the place we've visited for this article, Kushikatsu Daruma. It has plenty of branches in the Shinsekai area, known well for its Tsutenkaku tower and less well for the fierce kushikatsu competition. Each establishment has lines of eager diners, as well as menus in English, Chinese and Korean. Among them, we have to recommend the Sohon branch, in operation for 90 years. It stands in a cramped alley, with only a counter to house its patrons. It's here that more than anywhere else, you can enjoy an old-style Japanese atmosphere as you munch on your kushikatsu.

If you come here, you'll want the Souhonten Set. A bargain for the price, it has 9 skewers with ingredients such as beef, shrimp, and sausage. There's some beef tendon with a bit of a sweet, spicy kick to it known as the Doteyaki that comes with it to try, too. Pick up the lager beer of the day, too, as a perfect match to the spicy kushikatsu.

Mind Your Manners!

Mind Your Manners!

Remember to place skewers you're finished with in the bamboo tube on the table. It gets them out of the way and makes it a lot easier for the staff to clean it up, so remember this bit of etiquette along with the rule against double dipping - mannerly dining will make your kushikatsu experience all the better!

  • Kushikatu Daruma Sohonten
    創業昭和四年 新世界元祖 串かつ だるま総本店
    • Address 2-3-9, Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan
    • Phone Number 06-6645-7056

    Hours: 11:00~22:00LO
    Closed: Open Daily

Text by:Bikoo-System

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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