We try the crazy flavor and find that you’ll need to be strong of mind to enjoy it, even if you’re not pure of heart.
It’s hard to get a handle on the psyche of our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun. On some days, he seems like an earnest young man, like when he’s being a devoted father by bringing his infant daughter to work or participating in exercises to raise his empathy towards vision-impaired individuals.
But then there are the days when P.K. seems a little less traditionally virtuous, like when he decided to pose for a photo shoot wearing only a single postage stamp, or when he tossed a piping-hot, freshly cooked crepe on a handsome man’s face just to see what would happen.
Or the day he rushed out of the office to be first in line to eat Japan’s new girl’s sweat flavor fried chicken.
Yes, while the rest of us were still reeling from the fact that such a thing existed P.K. was already making his way to the branch of karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) chain Tenka Torimasu in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood. As he walked towards the takeout window, he silently built up his nerve to place the unusual order.
P.K. was happy to see a poster advertising the new flavor, which also featured photos of creative partner idol singer group Kamen Joshi. “One order of girl’s sweat karaage, please,” he nervously told the clerk and handed over 400 yen (US$3.60), all the while feeling stares on his back from everyone who’d been in earshot.
So how does it taste? Really good, actually. Despite the gross name, Tenka Torimasu’s girl’s sweat karaage isn’t made with actual perspiration. Instead, the sauce is a mixture of salt, lemon juice, and cheese.
Salt is already an ever-present fried chicken seasoning, and in Japan adding a squirt of lemon juice is a popular way to spruce up the flavor of karaage. And as for the cheese, if you’re a fan of cheeseburgers you already know that hot melted dairy goes just fine with meat dishes. So really, Tenka Torimasu’s new flavor is pretty awesome in the flavor department…
…until you remember its name. The salt doesn’t cause much of a problem, but the idea of sour, oily sweat (because of the lemon juice and cheese) is pretty revolting.
Because of this, it’s impossible to answer the question “Does the girl sweat karaage taste good?” with a simple yes or no. Your taste buds will tell you it’s delicious at the exact same time your brain is screaming that the whole thing is wrong.
▼ P.K. suddenly recalls that he’s eating GIRL’S SWEAT FLAVOR FRIED CHICKEN.
So to recap, there are two tests of mental fortitude involved in consuming this snack. First, you have to be able to overcome the near-paralyzing awkwardness of asking another human being for some girl sweat flavor food, and then you need to be capable of focusing your mind so completely on the flavor as to block out any thoughts of what it’s supposed to be replicating. Do both of those, and you’ve got yourself some tasty fried chicken.