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HELP! Need best Japanese fried chicken (kara-age) in LA!

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A friend of mine and I had a bet...and I lost. And the wager was the loser takes the winner to the best japanese fried chicken in town. The only place I know is FURAIBO - anyone else have suggestions?

Thanks alot!

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  1. that famous japanese chicken...hmm.. think the best is a place called The Loft (in the torrance area)...

    3 Replies
    1. re: samtron608

      Not The Loft, that is Hawaiian fried chicken, Japanese is better and different.

      1. re: Burger Boy

        I'd put my uncle's Hawaiian-style sesame chicken wings up against the best karaage - draw! I like both styles, but I wonder if 26 Beach has entertained the thought of a karaage chicken burger?

        1. re: Burger Boy

          Yeah, Hawaiian Fried Chicken is a totally different beast, although my favorite version is at Back Home on Lahaina

          --Dommy!

      2. So many good places in town. My current favorite is at Yamadaya with a bowl of Yamadaya all stars, extra portion size.

        1. I've always like the version at Musha and Raku in WLA also has had very good karaage in the past.

          -----
          Raku Restaurant
          11678 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

          Musha
          424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          1. Bincho's is pretty tasty. I like to ask for a side of his spicy sauce on the side to dip it in...

            3 Replies
            1. re: baloney

              Another vote for the version at Izakaya Bincho.

              -----
              Izakaya Bincho
              112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

              1. re: mollyomormon

                Bincho's good, but it's all about the chicken at Torihei.

                Another half vote for Musha as well.

                -----
                Musha
                1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                Musha
                424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Torihei
                1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

                1. re: daftpunkxl

                  I didn't even know Torihei had fried chicken....I'm always getting the grilled stuff. Isn't the request for fried chicken in particular?

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                  Torihei
                  1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

            2. Concur with Izakaya Bincho and Musha as great options. I also really like the versions at Orris (though I usually ask for the curry sauce otherwise paired with the shrimp rather than the sweet and sour yuzu sauce that normally comes with it) and Torihei.

              -----
              Orris
              2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              Torihei
              1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

              20 Replies
              1. re: New Trial

                Can someone help me with the pronunciation? My friend says it's pronounced Kara - Gey is that correct?

                1. re: orangepeel85

                  "Car-ah Ah gay"

                  1. re: orangepeel85

                    "Ka-Ra-A-Geh" in very short syllables.

                    1. re: orangepeel85

                      Servorg has the correct pronunciation for non-Japanese speakers (like saying sah-kee instead of sah-keh). Tripeler has the correct pronunciation. Don't forget to roll the r-sound like you would in Spanish.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        Good advice about rolling the "r" sound. Actually, if you can imagine it, that sound is halfway between an R and an L.

                        Also realize that plenty of cornstarch in the coating is what makes kara-age so crispy.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          Rolling the r is the term language teachers use to describe this sound. I had a Spanish teacher back in middle school who would beat this into our heads - she beat my head so hard that I didn't learn much!

                          Cornstarch IS one of the keys - another is just having juicy chicken parts! Crisp on the outside, spurting with chicken juice from the inside - youch!

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            Except, if the kara-age is made properly, it ain't cornstarch, it's katakuriko (potato starch) that makes a difference. I know a lot of Japanese restaurants in the US use corn starch as a substitute since katakuriko is more expensive.

                            1. re: E Eto

                              I didn't know that. My mom slummed for all these years... :)

                        2. re: bulavinaka

                          My wife absolutely tears me a new one if she catches me rolling my r's when pronouncing J words...

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Yeah, if you overdo it you sound like you are impersonating a gangster.
                            Just imagine the R sound with just one quick roll, and don't overdo it.
                            However, I can't imagine anyone working at a Japanese restaurant in California expecting perfect pronunciation from a non-Japanese person. Just make sure to get the vowels right, and keep them short.

                            1. re: Tripeler

                              >>I can't imagine anyone working at a Japanese restaurant in California expecting perfect pronunciation from a non-Japanese person.<<

                              You're right - I think to just get close is great. Considering that the vast majority of "Japanese" food is eaten by non-Japanese, to get it close would almost draw tears from any homesick Nikkei.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                "...any homesick Nikkei."
                                From what I understand, a Nikkei is a Japanese-American, so why would they be homesick in the US?

                                Actually, the way a lot of Americans pronounce Japanese, it certainly draws tears from folks from Japan.

                                1. re: Tripeler

                                  From wiki (and my J-school teachers):

                                  >>Nikkei is derived from the term nikkeijin (日系人?) in Japanese,[6][7] used to refer to Japanese people who emigrated from Japan and their descendants...<<

                                  Usually infers someone who has made the permanent move from Japan to elsewhere, and includes their immediate descendants.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    Yes, that's right, but I wouldn't consider restaurant workers from Japan to be in that category since I believe few end up immigrating, and most end up returning to Japan. However, it would apply to their offspring...
                                    Nevertheless, in Japan the expression "Nikkei" means that the person is of Japanese descent, no matter how many generations.

                                    Interesting how "kara-age" led us to this...

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      IMHO, food is culture - without food, most of our culture is lost...

                                  2. re: Tripeler

                                    You might be thinking of Nisei...?

                                    Another vote for Izakaya Bincho. Asa Ramen and Yamada-Ya are good too, but Bincho is definitely a step or three above. BTW, I think technically "karaage" is deep-fried <something>, not specifically chicken ("tori no karaage"). Asa does a good geso no karaage (deep-fried squid tentacles) as well.

                                    Tripeler has the correct pronunciation. AFAIK, there's only one way to pronounce any given vowel (not counting dipthongs) in Japanese. I don't know if there is such a thing as "correct pronunciation for non-Japanese speakers" as I don't think "karaage" is a word that has truly become a part of the English lexicon (compared to, say, "Copenhagen" as the English version of "København"). Although I will never accept "sah-kee" as being correct anything. It's one thing to be unfamiliar with certain foreign phonemes; it's another to be careless.

                                    -----
                                    Izakaya Bincho
                                    112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                                    Asa Ramen
                                    18202 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90248

                                    1. re: mrhooks

                                      >> I don't know if there is such a thing as "correct pronunciation for non-Japanese speakers" as I don't think "karaage" is a word that has truly become a part of the English lexicon (compared to, say, "Copenhagen" as the English version of "København"). Although I will never accept "sah-kee" as being correct anything. It's one thing to be unfamiliar with certain foreign phonemes; it's another to be careless.<<

                                      Just being polite to the Servorg - I think his wife is JA - if so, she ought to slap him silly for pronouncing words in that way.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        Oh, it gets much worse than my half Japanese half Korean born in the USA wife. My wife's mother has a doctorate in linguistics from a major US University and taught Japanese (eventually as a full professor and chair of the department) at one of our two biggest local Universities here in Los Angeles (for 37 years)...

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          I guess they've given up on you then... ;-)>

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            I'm still trying to get it right, having lived in Tokyo only since 1977.

                      2. I think the karaage at Gaja is pretty decent (that's the okonomiyaki place in Lomita).

                        1. Shin Sen Gumi