Hong Kong has opened its doors to the first renowned authentic kushikatsu restaurant from Osaka, Japan: Jan Jan Kushikatsu. Kushikatsu is basically a fancy way of saying fried skewers, which may sound simple enough to make, but what sets kushikatsu apart from other deep-fried Japanese fare is the special oil, batter, and dipping sauce used. Nestled in an unassuming building in Wan Chai with practically no signage is where you’ll find Jan Jan. Be prepared for a big Japanese “welcome” the moment you walk through the door and into the homey restaurant.
Vibe At Jan Jan Kushikatsu
Normally when you enter a restaurant, you’re not greeted with a loud “welcome” by every one of the staff members. At Jan Jan Kushikatsu, you are (and it’ll certainly put a smile on your face). The interior is quite small, but far from feeling cramped, as space in Jan Jan is utilized well with seats around the kitchen and two larger private-esque dining tables that are slightly closed off. The decor is minimal in a way that reflects the restaurants Japanese roots.
Expect a whole lot of sake and beer on Jan Jan Kushikatsu’s drink menu. We tried the Sparkling Sake (HK$153) for the first time and, to put it mildly, it was pure heavenly bliss (so good that we had about five bottles at dinner). Sparkling sake not your thing? There are almost 15 other types of sake available and if you’d rather beer, Jan Jan has ice cold Sapporo on tap to quench your thirst.
If you think fried chicken is an American thing, wait till you’ve tried the Karaage Chicken (HK$30) from Jan Jan. Honestly, some of the best fried chicken I’ve had – there wasn’t an overpowering amount of batter, which meant a whole lot of chicken in each piece. Despite not resembling a traditional salad at all, the Japanese Tomato Salad (HK$44) had quite a sweet taste which could be balanced out by adding a dash of salt to each piece.
We tried three variations of chicken kushiyaki (basically non-deep fried skewers). The first of which was the Chicken Meatball (HK$27). While we liked the taste of the chicken, we found the texture slightly off-putting, as there were gristly pieces of meat throughout. The Ume & Chicken (HK$29) had a good balance of flavours and was likely the healthiest dish we had all evening (aside from the tomato). Lastly, we loved the subtle glaze on the Chicken Wing (HK$22), which added the perfect amount of flavour to the chicken.
Moving onto the fried skewers (kushikatsu), we were ready to indulge in some deep-fried greasy-goodness. One of the standout items was the Half Cooked Egg (HK$22). Though clearly not on a skewer, this egg had a delicate crispy exterior that complimented the silky texture of the encased egg. I’m not sure if it’s because we waited too long to bite into the Cheese (HK$21) skewer, but it didn’t have that ooey-gooey melting effect we were hoping for. Nevertheless, it was still just as good as you might expect deep fried cheese to be. Another favourite was the Lotus Root (HK$27), which had a good crunch to it. You could really taste the difference between the kushikatsu and regular deep-fried tempura – the skewers here were lighter and weren’t drenched in grease.
Jan Jan Kushikatsu is a great addition to the growing Wan Chai food scene, serving up an authentic kushikatsu experience that won’t break the bank. The cozy interior is reminiscent of restaurants in Japan, making for a welcomed escape from your typical food joint in HK. With its friendly service and high quality food, a visit to Jan Jan Kushikatsu is well worth your time.
Jan Jan Kushikatsu
2/F, 100 Queen’s Road East
Tel: 2157 1408