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.

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.