「青春の唐揚げ」 (Seishun no Karaage)
“The Karaage of Youth”
More fried chicken! Can it get any better than this?
So I won’t lie… I went out and got some fried chicken (not karaage) last weekend and I feel very satisfied. However, after watching this week’s episode, I have an itching for a chicken burger or wrap. Unfortunately, I can only find those that McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s these days so I’ll pass on that and just pick up some real karaage somewhere else. I have never tried any of the recipes on Shokugeki no Souma yet, but if I were to pick one, this one (and the potato-wrapped bacon from the first episode) would be my choice. It’s so simple, and I bet a lot of the flavor is in the sauce and deep-fried chicken itself. If you can perfect a good sauce, and use fresh oil with your batter, I don’t see how this cannot be replicated. We don’t know all the exact ingredients that Souma puts into his karaage batter and sauce, but I think a lot of these can be made to taste and it’s up to you how you like your fried chicken. I know a lot of people might prefer it spicy and tangy, whereas others might prefer something sweeter. And what did I say last week about those chicken thighs? Why would Mozuya even think of using chicken breast? I know a lot of people gravitate towards it first when preparing chicken, but it’s actually a very unforgiving piece of meat because it gets dry very quickly. It also lacks flavor compared to the thighs of the chicken and doesn’t absorb flavor as easily. It is indeed healthier, but I mean – you’re eating fried chicken; might as well go all out.
The concept is also simple but so different than the one that Mozuya has in place. I like how Souma attacked their business model and used that against them because there are other ways to attract customers rather than taste. Of course, your chicken has to taste great but it may not be the primary reason someone visits your restaurant. Price, marketing, convenience and service might all be considerations. Mozuya seems to have it all – they have the ideal locations, their service is probably great, and they got the taste down packed. Fortunately, Souma wanted people to experience a grab-and-go bite which allows you eat the fresh karaage straight out of the fryer. The ability to also showcase your kitchen and cook in front of others also works to Souma’s advantage because now people are entertained and it smells great. It’s similar to his triumph creating soufflés with his eggs because people needed to eat that immediately after serving. Souma knows this street and knows that the market is made up of students hungry after school, families getting off of work and if you’re hungry, why not stop for a quick snack? I love that! As a business student and someone that works in foodservice every day, I love that Souma has found a need in the market place despite all odds against him and created demand within his community again. As a famous visionary once said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” And I think that’s very applicable in this situation. If you can’t ask people what they want to eat or reinvent the wheel, you show them something new and hope they bite.
I already introduced Eizan Etsuya last episode but some added details about his character this week were his position amongst the Elite Ten and what he’s known for; which is being the Toutsuki Alchemist. He’s been advising and consulting food companies since he was young and even invites Souma to join him but gets declined. Just another rival for Souma on his journey to becoming the top student at school~ I suppose he’ll get another chance to challenge (or get challenged by) Etsuya in the future, but perhaps the Autumn Elections will need to come first. Surprisingly enough, Souma does make it into the Autumn Elections, and that was unexpected since I thought there are certain seats on the Elite Ten that don’t take his skill seriously or undermine him. Luckily, Souma has enough going for him and he probably impressed more than enough individuals during death camp to get a spot. There’s only a few episodes left so I think this competition will take us to the end of the season. Let’s hope our last rival for Souma is a good one.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Rice wrap and karaage? I thought it looked more like an omelet or crepe… orz. Another triumph for Souma; thinking outside the box and not only beating Mozuya on taste but also their business model.