Japan 122 – Kushikatsu (串カツ), Fugu Sashimi (河豚刺身) & Tsutenkaku(通天閣) @ Shinsekai (新世界) Osaka

After Osaka Castle, we went to Shinsekai (新世界). Shinsekai (新世界) is Osaka’s “new world” in literal translation, which is a district that was developed before the war and then being left neglected in the decades afterwards. At the district’s center stands the Tsutenkaku Tower (通天閣), the nostalgic symbol of Shinsekai. In current day, Shinsekai is part of Osaka’s must see, with the colourful signboards all over by shops raning from low-cost restaurants,cheap clothing stores, cinemas, shogi and mahjong clubs, and pachinko parlors. Shinsekai is also known to be the “closest thing in Japan to a dangerous neighbourhood” due to its poor and criminal history right after the war. 
It was the food that brought us to this neighbourhood. Shinsekai has several fugu (blowfish) restaurants, but the neighbourhood’s real culinary forte is kushikatsu (串カツ).
Tsūtenkaku (通天閣)
Tsūtenkaku (通天閣)
So we popped into one of the many kushikatsu (串カツ) restaurants in Shinsekai (新世界) for a quick lunch. The neighbourhood is filled with kushikatsu restaurants offering various
kinds of meat, fish, and vegetables all breaded and deep fried on small
sticks for around ¥150 each. Kushikatsu (串カツ) is one of Osaka’s specialties, with various skewered, battered and deep fried foods. You could choose anything from chicken, pork, seafood and beef, to pumpkin and asparagus, to the cheese and rice cakes. Many of Shinsekai’s kushikatsu restaurants are open 24 hours, and the most happening during the night when the lights are on.
We ordered a selection of kushikatsu (串カツ) to share among the 3 of us for about ¥2,550 (¥850 per person). I found the skewers are just alright even with the dipping sauce at the side, like most other fried food I’d tried. Don’t think I’d be particularly addicted to this dish but it’s still a must try if you’re in Osaka.
The kushikatsu (串カツ) restaurant
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Pork Crackling anyone?

Our selection of kushikatsu (串カツ)

Inside the kushikatsu (串カツ) restaurant
After the kushikatsu lunch, we walked around the Shinsekai area and saw the giant Fugu (blowfish) lantern at the intersection. So, we decided to try the most dangerous dish in the world at Zuboraya, which was the restaurant with the giant lantern.
With a powerful neurotoxin that’s over 1,200 times stronger than cyanide, and no available antidote, Fugu is definitely the most dangerous food could be served on a dining table. The restaurant preparation of fugu is strictly controlled by law in
Japan and several other countries, and only chefs who have qualified
after three or more years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare
the fish. We ordered a plate of Fugu Sashimi for ¥2,000. The fish is cut into translucent slices and arranged in a circular pattern. We were jokingly talking about what could go wrong by eating such a poisonous dish, and hesitated for a bit before popping a slice of the thinly sliced sashimi into our mouth. The sashimi was actually quite tasteless and a little rubbery in texture. No signs of dizziness or any tingly sensation, we were glad that we were still alive after eating the Fugu Sahsimi…
The colourful intersection of Shinsekai (新世界)
The colourful intersection of Shinsekai (新世界) with the huge Fugu lantern of Zuboraya
Fugu menu at Zuboraya
Fugu at Zuboraya
After kushikatsu and Fugu Sashimi, we continued to walk around the area and explored the colourful bits of this old part of Osaka, although its name suggests that it is the new world. What a contrast isn’t it? 
Address: 1 Chome-18-8 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0002, Japan
For my other posts on Osaka, please click here.
For my other posts on Japan, please click here.
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