Went to Gardena branch of Marukai this morning. We saw a long line out of the food court. It is the grand opening of Tenkatori USA. Karaage looks really good. Will probably try it in the near future.
Is this a chain from Japan that’s famous for good karaage?
Are the Karate Associates a big deal in Japan (genuine question, actually)?
there is a karaage association.
Looking really hard online for a Cobra Kai gif in response to this one, but I be too lazy right now…
Very juicy karaage. The guy said they will be there until April and may or may not stay depending on business. Not sure it is good enough to warrant a trip but if I was shopping at Marukai I would get a snack to munch on.
Tried some last weekend. It’s quite good. May try their drumstick next time (off-menu item).
Do they offer the full menu now?
When I went there was only 4 items available.
Yes. It’s a lot calmer now even though still busy.
Finally made it out to Tenkatori. This is indeed the chain that has garnered some high ratings in Japan.
The first thing we noticed was besides them mentioning that they change out their frying oil daily, it showed in the taste and color (below).
The staff was very friendly and helpful in explaining the different cuts.
Butsugiri Karaage (White & Dark Meat on the Bone):
Butsugiri is Japanese Fried Chicken on the Bone, and the Chicken is chopped up into small enough pieces to be easy to handle. They also don’t differentiate between White & Dark Meat, so each order will have some White and some Dark Meat.
It is juicy, FRESH (no greasy feeling or old oil taste), and has really great flavors! This was our favorite of the entire menu.
Karaage (Boneless Dark Meat):
The traditional Karaage is the standard Japanese Fried Chicken you see in most Izakaya restaurants. It is Boneless Dark Meat Chicken. Normally I love Dark Meat the most, but Tenkatori’s version while fresh and super juicy was just… not that crunchy, and lacked the depth of flavor of the Butsugiri (on the bone).
It was very good, but I think Torihei’s Karaage is better.
Teba no Momo (Chicken Wing Drumstick):
While they offer simply “Teba” on the menu (which is the Chicken Wing), they actually separate out the Wing into 2 parts (the Wing portion and the Wing’s “Drumstick” / Drumette). You can ask for either one. We ordered the Drumstick portion.
While it was on the bone like the Butsugiri, it was interestingly not as flavorful. It was still good, but just not as good as the Butsu.
On a side note, the “Gaburi” on the menu is essentially a larger piece of Chicken, either the entire Breast or Leg & Thigh. Our server mentioned that it was added because in America, they found that Americans prefer larger pieces of Fried Chicken. We didn’t order it this time, because the other menu items seemed to be sufficient for us.
Overall, I’d agree with @A5KOBE: It’s some very good Japanese Fried Chicken, but it’s not worth the drive unless I was already in the area.
I really appreciate how fresh it tastes - they fry each order when you order it (so it’s not pre-made, nor are you ever getting old Fried Chicken that’s been sitting out). I just wish it was a touch crispier, and besides the Butsugiri, I’d rather go to Torihei for their regular Karaage.
(Inside Marukai Market Food Court)
1740 W Artesia Blvd.
Gardena, CA 90248
Tel: (310) 627-7822
There was zero line when I shopped last Sunday (Jan. 3). I didn’t know about it though and had already eaten prior. Has anyone purchased the $20 family pack? Do you get a mix of all of their available options?
I doubt there would be a line after New Years since the crowds were probably prior to. Have you been to Gardena Marukai before New Years? The lines usually go to the back wall. Might get shanked by a granny for taking the last kazunoko.
It’s precisely why I waited until after the new year to shop there. One thing I learned about living in Japan was the formidable competition against older women for cherished food.