Where to Find Japanese Fried Chicken in NYC ... And How to Make It at Home
Tokyo and New York City have a lot in common. In each cramped city, millions of people pay sky-high rents for tiny apartments, and a lot of those tiny apartments have even tinier kitchens. This partly explains why there are so many great restaurants in both of the neon cities: People don't want to deal with cooking at home when they have no counter space.
But what if you're craving authentic kara-age (Japanese fried chicken), good versions of which are somewhat hard to come by in NYC?
I've been underwhelmed by much of the kara-age I've tried in this city, so I took matters into my own hands and scoured the internet for a recipe. And I found it: Amid all the versions floating around online, I can absolutely attest to the quality and authenticity of the one depicted in the video below. When I fried up some chicken the other day, the result was better than any of the kara-age I've eaten since I moved back to the States from Japan. It was also easy to make with a bare minimum of counter space and equipment--just make sure you have sugar and soy sauce on hand to marinate the bird, which is the key distinguishing factor between this Japanese fried chicken and the regular version.
A couple of cooking notes:
- His recipe calls for white wine, but mirin or sake will also work in the marinade. I used mirin.
- If you use fresh ginger, keep the ratio of garlic higher, about three to one.
- A little extra sugar is recommended.
- The type of oil you use for frying will impart a lot of flavor. Using coconut or peanut oil would probably be delicious. Due to a supply shortage, I used a three-to-one blend of canola and olive oil. Frying in olive oil alone is not recommended because of its low smoke point. Do not set your stove on fire.
- If you have the time and supplies, kara-age goes great with Japanese curry and rice. It also keeps well in the fridge as a snack.
- Lastly, consider checking out YouTuber RunnyRunny999's channel--you'll find lots of well-done Japanese cooking videos.
If this seems too hard, check out the kara-age at these NYC establishments, which should hold you over until you can find or make the real thing:
Ichibantei, 401 East 13th Street
Udon West, 11 Saint Marks Place
Shinobi Ramen, 53 Morgan Street, Brooklyn
Jin Ramen, 3183 Broadway
Sunrise Mart, 4 Stuyvesant Street: Don't be put off by the pre-packaged bento here. It's the best kara-age I've found in New York.