Kushiage is deep fried meat and vegetables skewed on a small bamboo stick. The word “kushi” means skewer, and “age” means deep-fry. It is also known as kushikatsu, meaning cutlet on skewer. Depending on deferent regions in Japan, the ingredients, the way of cooking, and the way to eat vary.
Kushiage eaten in the Kanto region commonly uses pork cut into three to four centimetre square, with onion or long onion skewed alternately. The ingredients skewed on a stick will be covered with bread crumbs, and will be deep-fried. It is often served with shredded cabbage on a plate, and worcester sauce poured on kushiage.
In Kansai region, especially in Osaka, kushikatsu is a famous local menu. There is an old neighbourhood called Shinsekai in the south part of Osaka city near the famous tower Tsutenkaku, and it is believed that the area is the home of kushikatsu. There are many small kushikatsu restaurants in Shinsekai, and some tourists visit there only to eat delicious kushikatsu.
At a food stall in Edo period (1603-1868), there was already a menu that deep-fried skewed ingredients. However, it is said that a proprietress of the restaurant called Daruma, which opened in 1929 in Osaka city, served skewed and deep-fried meat to manual labourers, and it eventually came to be called kushikatsu.
Nowadays, most kushikatsu restaurants in Shinsekai use prepared batter made with beaten egg, and flour, in order to make as many kushikastu at a time. The way to eat kushikatsu in Osaka style, is to dip kushikatsu in special sauce in a stainless container on the table at the restaurant. But there is a rule that you cannot dip the sauce twice after you have a bite.