These Are the Star Contenders of Japan’s Recent Karaage Grand Prix Event
They each have something special to offer!
The Hanshin Koshien Stadium held its third Koshien Karaage Festival last July 5 until July 10 at the Mizuno Square. A total of 12 stores, from all over the country, competed in Karaage Grand Prix ®—Japan’s largest karaage competition. Six of these stores participated during the first half of the event (July 5-7), while the other six joined during the second half (July 8-10).
Love karaage? Here’s a list of the must-try karaage stores that were featured in the event:
First Half: July 5 - July 7
Kamishimaya (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
First time at Koshien!
The Zangi (Hokkaido-style karaage) is marinated in original blend Hokkaido soy sauce. It has a crispy outer surface and is made with ingredients delivered fresh each day from Hokkaido via air transport. We highly recommend you try the shop’s salt-flavored zangi and Hokkaido miso-flavored zangi.
Karaage Kei (Shinagawa, Tokyo)
[East Japan Soy Sauce-based Sauce Category] 4th-7th, 9th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
The owner, born in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, recreated the authentic Nakatsu karaage flavor from Tokyo. He set up his shop on Togoshiginza Shopping Street—the longest shopping street in Tokyo. Since then, Karaage Kei became known as a specialty store for delicious karaage. The shop’s secret? Each chicken piece is carefully selected and marinated in an original garlic and soy sauce-based secret sauce for two days.
Kouen (Kasukabe, Saitama)
[Salt based Sauce Category] 6th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize, 10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
Kouen’s karaage with seafood and salt-based sauce is made using an authentic Chinese technique. Each chicken piece is marinated in a sauce that contains scallop, clam, oyster, and crab soup stock, and then deep-fried. Every bite overflows with the deliciousness of seafood!
Yukichi no Karaage (Owariasahi, Aichi)
Koshien first timer! [Central Japan Soy Sauce based Sauce Category] 3rd-8th, 10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award, 9th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize
The eight-time winner of the Gold Award in Karaage Grand Prix ® has come to Koshien for the first time! Their specialty is the Nakatsu-style karaage, which has crispy skin, juicy meat, and flavors that spread in your mouth.
Karaage Gocchi (Tokai, Aichi)
Received First Prize of Salt based sauce Category in 8th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Awards in 5th-7th, 9th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ®
Gocchi is an up-and-coming shop of a company that manages supermarkets and chain restaurants. Having won several awards in the Karaage Grand Prix ® for the last six years, it can be said that the quality of their products is guaranteed. The chefs spent their time and energy perfecting the recipe for this juicy karaage.
Moriyama (Nakatsu, Oita)
[Salt based sauce Category] 1st-5th, 7th, 9-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize, 6th, 8th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award, 10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Grand Champion (chosen from among 1st-9th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize winners)
Moriyama has been the ultimate go-to karaage shop of locals in Nakatsu. Their salt-based sauce, which is used on their meat, has a secret recipe that includes ginger, homegrown garlic, and other condiments. The garlic is grown by a contracted farmer and doesn’t leave a weird aftertaste. The shop greatly contributes to the popularity of the Oita-style karaage.
Second Half: July 8 - July 10
Torisho Kobe Konan Branch (Kobe, Hyogo)
[Chicken Nanban (fried chicken with vinegar and tartar sauce) Category] 8th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize, [East Japan Soy Sauce based sauce Category] 10th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize
Torisho Kobe Konan Branch serves piping hot, freshly-fried, and locally-farmed chicken meat. These karaage pieces are Nakatsu soy sauce-flavored and aren’t heavy on the stomach. They even taste just as good when they’re cold! Their easy-to-eat Munekorobo is also a must-try when you visit the shop!
TORIKARA STAND (Nishinomiya, Hyogo)
[Central Japan Flavor Variety Category] 7th, 9th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
TORIKARA STAND uses local chicken meat from Tajima and preps it by removing its excess fat and tendons. Fresh vegetables and plenty of herbs are added to make the karaage light, juicy, and tender.
Kissy no Tori Karaage (Kobe, Hyogo)
[Central Japan Soy Sauce based Category] 7th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
The shop’s karaage is marinated in a special, fruit-infused, and soy sauce-based sauce for 30 hours. This allows the ingredients time to sink in the meat and give the karaage its fruity sweetness. The sauce and batter are also mixed together before aging, so you can savor the flavors upon taking a bite. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, this karaage is simply irresistible!
Tebakaratei (Kobe, Hyogo)
[Chicken Wings Category] 4th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
Garlic is not used in seasoning Tebakaratei’s famous salted chicken wings. Instead, they are covered in a light layer of batter and are deep-fried to crispy perfection. The meats used by the shop are very juicy and contain a lot of collagen.
Karaage Shigemori (Kobe, Hyogo)
[Central Japan Flavor Variety Category] 5th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® First Prize
Karaage Shigemori has won first prize in the Karaage Grand Prix ® for six consecutive years already, which none of the shops have ever done before. They make use of tender and rare shoulder meat for their karaage and seasons the meat with yuzu kosho (condiment made with yuzu zest and peppers) mayonnaise. Don’t miss the chance to try this famous Kobe karaage!
Manpukutei (Iwade, Wakayama)
[Central Japan Soy Sauce based Category] 5th, 9th-10th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award, [Central Japan Flavor Variety Category] 8th Karaage Grand Prix ® Gold Award
Manpukutei offers large and tasty chicken skin senbei. They are made with locally-produced chicken skin, marinated in original sauce, and are fried until crispy. These savory treats are available in salt and roasted soy sauce flavors.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™ (4 July 2019)