Virtuoso Life - November/December 2017 - 138
Japan. Here, freshly prepared bowls contain a creamy broth, made
by simmering pork bones for hours, mixed with a tangle of chewy
noodles, bright-green scallions, and thin slices of roasted pork.
Order via the ticket machine and then slurp your steaming bowl at a
streetside table under the pavilion.
THE DISH: KUSHIKATSU
Deep-fried skewers and a single dip.
Osakans adore fried things on sticks, or kushikatsu, which you can
spot on menus everywhere from elegant Michelin-starred restaurants to rowdy train-station dive bars. One favored local chain that
specializes in the battered, deep-fried skewers: Kushikatsu Daruma, which attracts crowds outside its restaurants, each guarded
by a menacing-looking chef statue with arms crossed and a skewer
in each hand. In operation since 1929, this skewer specialist offers
combination platters with a variety of meat, fish, and vegetables
(chicken meatballs, quail eggs, shrimp, asparagus, and cheese, for
instance). Add a few pieces à la carte - the lotus root is a favorite -
and dunk everything in a slightly sweet, Worcestershire-and-soybased dipping sauce. Just remember the cardinal rule of kushikatsu
(and Seinfeld): no double-dipping!
THE DISH: YAKISOBA
A steaming stir-fry with noodles.
A variation on the okonomiyaki theme tosses noodles onto the grill
with a variety of ingredients and seasonings, resulting in a sensational stir-fry known as yakisoba. Street vendors along Dotonbori
serve this dish, but one yakisoba spot worth seeking out is located
steps away on Hozenji Yokocho, a peaceful stone-paved alleyway
that's home to cozy restaurants, pocket-size bars, and an ancient moss-covered Buddha statue. The unassuming restaurant,
Houzenji San-Pei, has a handful of booths and bar seats facing the
grill, where chefs are in constant motion. What goes on the grill is
up to you - noodles with crisp bacon, seafood, or even a cracked
egg - but the typical order involves noodles stir-fried with bits of
cabbage, onion, carrot, pork, and a sprinkling of red pickled ginger.
Dinner is served on tabletop grill pans, which keeps the food (and
the entire restaurant) hot, so pair your yakisoba with an ice-cold
Top to bottom: A fierce caricature of the
founder greets patrons at fried-skewer
chain Kushikatsu Daruma; the restaurant's
Classic Combo A (beef, shrimp, asparagus,
rice cake, fish sausage with cheese, pork
cutlet, chicken meatball, quail egg, sausage)
plus lotus root, red ginger, and tomato; and
seafood yakisoba at Houzenji San-Pei.
V I RT U O S O L I F E