Shinsekai is an area in downtown Osaka dotted with all sorts of restaurants, bars, cafes and game arcades. It is also home to many Kushikatsu restaurants. Filled with more locals than tourists, the bright lights, flashy decor and ringing music may lack sophistication but ooze extreme excitement and enticement! And it was in this vibrant district I had one of my favorite meals in Osaka, earning itself a special mention right here.We ventured away from the hustle and bustle into an alley where Yaekatsu 八重勝 sits. No blinking neon lights, no mechanical mascots, and no loud animated music blasting in the background either. Instead, you’ll find Masa San, the owner himself, darting around hurriedly, organizing seats for his long line of hungry customers in front of this popular restaurant.
Note the communal pots of sauce. Rule of thumb – NEVER dip twice! Instead, dunk your entire stick into the sauce for a thorough bath. That same stick shall never cross path with that pot again! And what if you’d like more of that wonderful fruity Worcestershire dip after taking a bite? Well, see the tub of cabbage chunks? These crunchy palate cleansers double up as ‘scoops’. So use them to pick up more sauce!
Also yummy are the huge juicy prawns, the gooey Camembert cheese, the tender white fish and beef fillet. These deep fried skewers come out of the fryer sans grease… no excess oil trapped in the batter, and none of that nauseating funky taste and smell of stale oil. Which means you can chow down more without feeling queasy! The menu plastered on the walls boasts about 30 different varieties… good luck if you don’t read Japanese 😖 or bring a friend who does 😉! Look out for the pan of skewered beef tripe bubbling in a sweet miso stew and start with that! The springy tripe is braised for hours in the gorgeous bean paste. It tastes absolutely wonderful! So good we had 2 orders of it! The only downside dining at Yaekatsu… you’re pestered (albeit apologetically) to order and finish up quickly, so to accommodate the rest of the hungry people out in the queue! Guess its something you’d appreciate if you’re out there in the line, but not so much if you’re halfway through your meal. No, not exactly the place for a leisurely meal… but for a quickie, this guarantees satisfaction!
Yaekatsu @ 3-4-13 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka
* Do note that Shinsekai is the third largest gay district in Japan and may not be suited for kids or the faint at heart, especially when night falls! But if you’re game for some fun and booze after dinner, head to SPRING 春 for some unadulterated entertainment before you hit the sack!