Tako Karaage at Sushi Nami Royale in Halifax, Nova Scotia
I have had a good number of excellent dishes at the Sushi Nami Royale Restaurant in Halifax, but this appetizer dish of extremely tiny, whole baby Octopus deep-fried in starch coating and served in a Kakejiru broth was so good I forgot to photograph it until I was half-way through. Perhaps you can take my word for the fact that original presentation was excellent.
Tako, is, of course, Japanese for ‘Octopus’, while ‘Karaage’ refers to a Japanese cooking technique in which various foods, especially chicken, but also other proteins are deep fried in oil after being coated in with flour, potato starch, or corn starch. Sometimes, as with Agedashi Tofu, the fried items are served in a light sauce or broth.
Here, the broth was not described on the menu but it was certainly reminiscent of a Kakejiru, and the dish itself was garnished with black sesame, scallion and Katsuobushi flakes. There was actually rather a lot of the broth, and it ended up softening the starch coating on the octopus considerably, but this was not detrimental to the result at all.
The baby Octopus themselves were delightfully tender and sweet (thus clearly deep-fried for just the right amount of time) and the seasoning so subtle as to allow the full flavor to come through. The texture of the coating after being softened by the broth was surprisingly good and I didn’t miss the usual pleasant crispy contrast even a little. All in all, this dish was excellent.