Fried chicken has been having what has felt like a very extended moment in kitchens throughout North America, and it’s hard to see an end to that trend in Halifax, considering how well fried chicken pairs with our beverage of choice here. Perhaps nothing is more satisfying than a bit of chicken, a bit of grease and a beer. From the fried chicken sandwiches at Stillwell and Black Sheep to the sticky sweet dakgangjeong at Backoos, the city’s doing it well.
And one of those not-to-miss chicken experiences is the kara-aghe (often spelled karaage) at Kitsune Food Co. on Young Street. “It is very popular in Japan, like you see everywhere,” says Ami Goto, owner and chef of Kitsune. It is an incredibly popular bar snack at Japanese izakaya restaurants, often paired with sake or beer. “Our kara-aghe use chicken thigh marinated in several ingredients at least over night and deep fried with corn starch. It’s also gluten-free.” Goto uses tamari instead of soy sauce, avoiding wheat across the board.
The standard dish is pretty simple at Kitsune. Basically, it’s a stack of juicy, crisp-edged chicken morsels on a bed of rice. “Pour some homemade Ponzu sauce—a soy, citrus, vinegar sauce—with plenty of green onion and local made shiso micro green,” says Goto. This grassy herb, popular in Japanese cooking, has a sweet, grassy note with aromatic hints of basil and mint. It’s an incredibly simple dish executed marvellously at Kitsune.
Goto’s favourite way to eat kara-aghe is with lots of grated daikon on top, but you can also get it topped with Kitsune’s vegetable curry, which makes this a next-level winter comfort food. “Our curry is gravy-like, so it goes with kara-aghe really well,” says Goto.