The Art of Eating Chapter 4: Japanese Fried Chicken (TORI BIEN)

With September just around the corner I’m sure a lot of my fellow students are starting to feel the pressure of returning to school after these months away. For unfortunate students, like me, you might be cramming trying to brush up on some necessary skills again before the fall semester starts. Still, it’s important to take breaks and always good to spend time with friends before seeing them off to wherever they might be studying. Most of my friends leave me alone in New York once the school year starts and travel to different states for university, so the end of August always feels like a bit of a goodbye. As a (albeit temporary) goodbye to the city as well, it feels only right to have a day on the streets with good food and good company. On Tuesday I’m with my friend, Catherine, who won’t be far from New York this school year, but also won’t have the time to visit often for the next few months. I alone in my friend group enjoy walking tens of thousands of steps across the city, and since she’ll be gone, I make it an excuse to drag her around for the day. We stop into a lot of cute shops to cool off from the heat, but for lunch we make our way to 9th street and drop in to TORI BIEN for some food. The inside of the store itself is rather small– there’s no seating there, but conveniently they have benches placed outside, so you can choose to sit on those and eat if you want. It’s a cute restaurant with the perfect vibe for our afternoon out! 

TORI BIEN exterior with benches for customers

Despite not having indoor seating, the food at TORI BIEN comes already packaged once it’s cooked, so it’s not inconvenient to bring it somewhere else. My main meal, the Kara-age Onigiri Bento comes in, well, a cardboard bento box with all the components neatly separated. It’s cute and reminds me of the lunches other kids used to get when I was still in school. Catherine’s meal also comes partially in a box, but the fries she ordered are separate from it in a little paper bag that reminds me more of the lunches I used to get when I was younger, with my mother’s signature, disposable paper bag. Still, everything is easy to grab and take with you. The food itself also has more of a handheld vibe. My box of food comes with items like onigiri, a triangle shaped rice ball, and boneless fried chicken. The onigiri is super delicious. It’s perfect because the seaweed wrap gives it a nice crunch, but the rice inside is the perfect, soft consistency. It has fish flavoring too, so it’s not bland. The fried chicken is super crispy and I love that it’s boneless because that makes it easier to clean up when I’m done!

Handheld fish onigiri with seaweed wrapper

Catherine and I decide to rest on the bench for a few minutes and eat there before we continue our journey through the streets of New York, but there’s also a couple of nearby parks if you’re looking for more of a true picnic vibe. Catherine also orders fried chicken, TORI BIEN’s specialty, but it comes in a sandwich instead of loose, like my box. There’s a layer of sauce on the top of the bun, but the meal still isn’t messy. It’s similarly good to just grab and eat; and even if it wasn’t, they definitely provide you with sufficient napkins. The sandwich itself is wrapped up in a nice, thick sheet of paper that makes it convenient to hold as well.

Kara-age Sandwich with sauce, fried chicken, lettuce, and pickles

Overall, no matter where you chose to eat your meal from Kara-age, the flavors are delicious and it’s perfect to enjoy with friends. They offer an assortment of fun options and everything is perfect to take on the go!

Planning on taking your friends out on an end-of-summer picnic or just looking for some great Japanese fried chicken? Use this coupon code when you visit TORI BIEN to get 15% off your order with your student ID:

If you want to see more about my trip to TORI BIEN check out my video on the Campus Clipper TikTok page!

By: Peter Schoenfeld

Peter Schoenfeld is an illustrator and self proclaimed food fanatic from New York. If he’s not trying new food, he’s drawing it (and if he’s not doing either of those things, then you can probably find him curled up on the couch watching dramas). As an incoming sophomore at the School of Visual Art he focuses on creating art that connects people to his personal passions– like eating!

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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