Picnic Popcorn Chicken Karaage

Posted January 19, 2017 by Stephanie
12 recipes for a Japanese inspired picnic

actifry fried chicken recipe -

The very first time Mike and I went to Tokyo, I insisted that we go on a bento picnic. Bento (kind of like a full meal pre-portioned out and packed up very nicely) is kind of a big deal here in Japan.  People lovingly make it for their school kids and spouses. There are even some hardcore moms who do very cute and intricate kyaraben. But, fear not, if you don’t have a special someone making you bento, you can do what loads of business people do: pick up a bento at the many combini (convenience stores). Or if you’re looking for something just a bit more fancy, at lunch time, almost every restaurant will put out a table in front of their establishment and sell bento-to-go.

actifry fried chicken recipe -

Our very first bento picnic was a casual affair. I wanted to do homemade but, on that very first visit, we stayed in a tiny hotel room and making bento wasn’t an option. So we went to Lawson to pick up some onigiri and karaage-kun (fried chicken). We decided to go to Yoyogi Park to check out the gingko leaves. Everyone around us had picnic tarps, but we didn’t think that far ahead…luckily we spotted an empty picnic table. I love eating outdoors. There’s something about working up an appetite, then enjoying food in the clean, crisp air.

actifry fried chicken recipe -

Speaking of working up an appetite, Mike and I have been doing some hardcore urban hiking lately, in an effort to stay active and healthy while eating all the delicious food in Tokyo. What’s urban hiking, you ask? Well, um, it’s just what Mike and I jokingly say when we’re going to go for a long walk. And we’ve been going on some very long walks, as documented by my activity tracker and phone pedometer. We’ve been averaging about 18k steps a day and one day we even hit 40k! And it’s all in the name of food, glorious food.

actifry fried chicken recipe -

See, I’m not really one to diet or restrict myself when eating, especially when we’re in what I consider one of the most delicious cities in the world. Still, it’s a new year and I want to be extra active and healthy. So far we’re sticking to that in the most causal form of exercise. It helps that we really love walking, especially when there are things to look at or if we’re on our way to an out-of-the-way restaurant.

actifry fried chicken recipe -

I’m really not willing to give up food, especially food like fried chicken, so, through a combo of walking and making fried chicken using an T-Fal Actifry from Best Buy Canada, I think we’re doing pretty good. The other day, I whipped up some healthier chicken karaage, picked up some stuff from the store across the street and Mike and I went on a walk ending in a picnic. It was a pretty perfect day.

actifry fried chicken recipe -

Hope you guys are staying on top of your 2017 goals, if you have any. If you’re looking for some fitness gear, make sure you check out!

PS – How perfect is that egg that I got from the convenience store?! The onigiri was on point too :)

Giveaway: Best Buy Canada is giving away an Actifry!

To Enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite snack/meal to eat while on a picnic. I want to hear ALL the details! I’ll randomly choose a winner and notify them through email. Open to Canadian residents only. Contest ends January 25th at 12pm PST. Please be patient as it may take me a while to approve comments. Good luck!

Congrats Dave! Actifry parties here you come! Keep your eyes peel for an email from me :)

actifry fried chicken recipe -

Notes on the chicken: I used my recipe for chicken karaage and popped it into the top shelf of the Actifry for 18 minutes. They turned out crispy and juicy :)

This post was sponsored by Best Buy Canada. Thanks for supporting I am a Food Blog!


  1. Elise says:

    Very cute! My choice for a picnic meal is usually wraps, calzones or hand pies. Anything that can rattle around in a backpack for a few hours and be no worse for wear is nice for my type of picnicking. :)

  2. Kristel says:

    My favourite picnic is at a place in Montreal that has fried chicken and all the usual suspects in southern fare, plus some terrific sweet tea of course. You place your order and it comes in a basket with a blanket and everything else you could want, for you to take across the street to a park full of squirrels (because, Montreal). Such a wonderful experience!!

  3. Emily R says:

    My Mom had a long lunch hour when I was a kid, and on hot summer days she would come home and whip up a quick picnic for us to eat in a beautiful little space just down our street. I don’t even remember the food, but she always made chocolate milkshakes that we drank straight from our Thermos. One of my favourite memories :)

  4. Caitlin says:

    We love having chips and ginger beer!

  5. Ok so I’m not much of a hiker ? But we love to grab fun takeout and head to Mont-Royal or Parc Lafontaine (Montreal seriously has some killer parks … and takeout, ha!) to enjoy in the great out doors. Duck fat fries and a hot dog from dirty dogs, burgers from Burger de Ville or dumplings from Harbin. See… I really need to be able to fry chez moi!

  6. Melissa says:

    Let’s be honest. Nothing beats a sandwich!!

  7. Dee Kay says:

    My favourite picnics are on the Toronto island. I’ve made and brought everything from fried rice to dumplings to ribs and everything else in between! Cant wait for the weather to warm up again and picnic season to start.

  8. Amy says:

    My absolute favourite thing to eat while on a picnic is banh mi! When we were little, my mom would always buy a few of these delicious sandwiches for us to eat while we were out exploring national parks or even doing touristy things like visiting Niagara Falls. It’s definitely got the nostalgic factor for me, and I can’t help but grab a few sandwiches when we’re heading out for a picnic or road trips too!

  9. Corisa Jubinsky says:


  10. Lisa says:

    Gotta be sushi! So portable and it’s a full meal. And don’t forget, wine in to-go mugs. Subtle, yet effective.

  11. Jessica says:

    Every year we go to a local music festival with friends and I always make chicken karaage for everyone. It’s a huge hit, but frying it in a pot of oil on the stove in the middle of summer is not the best. I’ve heard the Actifry also makes really good hashbrowns.

  12. Jenny says:

    Chips and guacamole. Or possibly chips and salsa. Maybe chips and onion dip…there may be a theme here!

  13. Jonnie Hartling says:

    I love finger foods at a picnic; cheese, crackers, grapes, salami, etc. They’re so easy to pack, carry and eat.

  14. Diana says:

    My favorite picnic situation includes epic sandwiches (my personal fav is turkey on multigrain bread with dijon mustard, fig jam, mixed greens, onion, sharp cheddar, avocado, and sprouts), carrot sticks, hummus, crackers, cheese, pickled veggies, and craft hard cider (or kombucha if law prohibits it). Thinking of this makes me miss Summer terribly! I’m going to Tokyo in less than a week, and I can’t wait to follow your lead and try doing a bento adventure :)

  15. Debra mccloud says:

    My favorite picnic foods are salads that I can scoop up with crackers or tortilla chips.

  16. Dave says:

    When I first moved to Vancouver it was summer, and after work I would grab an order of Saba sashimi, and a bowl of rice. I’d walk down to English Bay, sit on the grass, chow down, and just unwind. Memories!

  17. Brenda Penton says:

    Sandwiches, potato chips and salads. This what what I grew up eating at picnics.

  18. Grace Lee says:

    I love to bring an assortment of cheeses and crackers, along with celery sticks and cucumbers dipped in spicy hummus. Add some sweet potato salad sandwiches (my mom’s recipe, they’re amazing) for a complete picnic meal!

  19. Maggie C says:

    omg the recipe you shared for the chicken karaage sounds soooo good! Karaage is always something I order when I’m at my favourite Jap restaurant!
    One of my favourite things to eat at a picnic are homemade sweet potato fries! The Actifry would work beautifully!

    Thank you for the chance!

  20. Jan Chan says:

    I always wanted to make cute bento for picnics but 90% of the time I end up with some onigiri, grilled chicken or boiled egg and veggie sticks. This summer I’m hoping to work in some mason jar desserts into our picnic basket!

  21. Janet says:

    When we were little my parents used to take us on picnics and carry everything to make rice, curry and tea on the hibachi. Now with my own children, we usually pick up a baguette, cheese and deli meats if we are being fancy. If we are not being fancy then it’s fried chicken in a bucket, by the lake.

  22. Linda says:

    My favourite snack at picnics is potato salad with bacon.

  23. Miranda says:

    I don’t picnic often, but one of my most fond memories was during my early 20’s when I was in Korea with two friends and we decided to go hiking. At the bottom, we find this convenience store that sold some snacks and carbonated wine in a can. So we buy the snacks and the fizzy canned wine, hike up for about an hour in humidity to the top. The view was less than memorable (spoiled by them BC views), but that nice cold carbonated wine definitely hit the spot. So much, that the wine was the only the I remember from that hiking adventure.

  24. Jeff says:

    Banh mi’s!

  25. Jen says:

    Back in the day it was KFC down at kits beach. Haven’t had that in years!

  26. Shelley says:

    Well it either goes one of two ways: for a planned picnic we usually do BLTs with lemony aoili and avocado, and a side of some fruits and veg.

    But unplanned pinics, near this particular park in Toronto, has been to pop into the nearby Korean supermarket, grab a tuna gimbap, maybe some japchae and a cold coffee.

  27. Nikki says:

    Goodness that looks tasty! I don’t really picnic, but we camp a lot so maybe that’s the same? My favorite camp snack is shamefully easy cheese and wheat thins, I never eat that kind of stuff at home so it’s exciting to eat it in the woods!

  28. Jess says:

    Crusty round bread filled with deep fried chilli cakes and pickled onions! LOVE!

  29. Ada says:

    I have so many favourites even on a picnic. Some that I definitely remember well are all homemade, including quinoa salad, gourmet sandwiches, and chilled Japanese soba.

  30. Jeanie says:

    I dont go on picnics often when I do – Churchs Chicken and devilled eggs!! :))

  31. Heidi says:

    I like to bring lots of different stuff on picnics. I’m waiting for warmer weather to plan some more. Last year, I really enjoyed japanese-style potato salad in a sandwich. Yummy without needing to break out utensils.

  32. Denise says:

    Ever since I saw that spam musubi I’ve been obssessed with it. And bonus that it is portable and great for picnics!

  33. BEV WONG says:

    I am such an antipasto fan! Bring on the variety of cheeses, meats, olives, olive bread and all the crackers and spreads. So much fun eating on a picnic and every bite just tastes is so different and unique. Yum!

  34. Donavan says:

    I love eating banh xeo outside. It’s not super easy to pack but fun to eat in a large group.

  35. Amy Heffernan says:

    My ALL time very favorite snack/meal to have on a picnic has always been the classic ham and cheese sandwich. Not only do I love it but the it is also the kids number one choice! CLASSIC!!
    Some watermelon on the side is always tasty!
    Email–> [email protected]

  36. Ryan Paul says:

    Potluck picnics are the best and my go-to is always a Japanese mayo potato salad with lots of celery, pickles and occasionally kim chi!

  37. Danielle Chan says:

    My choice would be a chicken salad wrap! I love the look of beautiful picnic spreads, but I only picnic in the fall and leaves have a tendency to get everywhere!

  38. mia ferrera says:

    Very cool.I love onigirazu and onigiri for picnics. Plus homemade kimchi and pickles.

  39. Anna-Luise Gomm says:

    I like wraps, pepperoni sticks, and quinoa salad.

  40. Carrie says:

    Fried chicken and coleslaw!

  41. Jennifer Kuo says:

    My favorite picnic/hiking food as a child was always tea eggs! Now they’re still among my favorite picnic foods, but I also love onigiri with mentaiko, and packable fruits like grapes, apples, and berries :)

  42. Laurie says:

    I don’t really get a chance to picnic much because I work in agriculture so usually if it’s warm enough to eat outside, it means I’m working. Luckily though I spend most of my work day outside so often when we take a lunch break it’s sitting on the tailgate of the truck on the edge of a field (my favourite is a flowering potato field).
    Lunch often consists of a sandwich or crackers and cheese since I don’t have any refrigeration or microwave available to make anything fancy. Every day I pack a thermos with lemonade though- something about that cold lemonade just hits the spot when you’re spending all day outside!

  43. Yan says:

    Definitely banh mi! Super cheap and easy and a huge crowd favorite. :)

  44. Nora B says:

    Sliced cucumber!

  45. Natasha says:

    Amazing Pictures , Love your blog & cant wait to try out Chicken Karaage ?


  46. curtis stenger says:

    Best picnic meal for me/us is a bottle of wine, bread, cheese and goggly eyes!

  47. Liz says:

    My favourite food to eat while on a picnic are the classic picnic sandwiches packed with all kinds of cold cut meats and cheese! Don’t forget the tomatoes and lettuce for a healthy, balanced meal. :) If I’m feing extra fancy, the sandwiches are made with different kinds of bread as well – not just plain white bread every time.

  48. peachie says:

    I like salads and wraps with chicken salad wrap being one of my favorite snacks on picnics

  49. Stephanie says:

    My favourite meal to eat on a picnic is a ham and cheese sandwich!

  50. Andrea says:

    I love to bring hamburgers and hot dogs for a picnic along with a fresh salad. We also bring fruit to keep us refreshed and as a snack we bring chips. As a family we try to have picnics whenever we can in the summer because it’s so much fun and that way we can stay active by playing outside too.

  51. K H says:

    Ahhhh, you can’t go wrong with good ol’ southern fried chicken on a picnic! But I’d love to try an Actifry version instead!

  52. Alana says:

    I just learned about urban hiking from nick and molly! hehe! this little picnic looks like the perfect way to fuel up after a long “hike”!!

  53. Angela Larose says:

    My favourite picnic food is really good salad topped with warm chicken. Trick is to keep the chicken separated and warm… and add right before eating. Strawberries, goat cheese, some seeds or nuts, spinach! Yum! And of course some white wine!

  54. Miriam says:

    My favourite meal to take on a picnic is a classic–fried chicken and watermelon! Warm, hearty chicken x refreshing, juicy watermelon is the besssst.

  55. Andrea says:

    I always go a bit overboard when preparing for a picnic, but I find it so easy to cut up some cheeses and charcuterie, bring loads of fresh fruit and if we can a portable BBQ and some marinated meat. Of course there may also be growler of beer. Love us some fresh local beer while dining outside!

  56. Caroline Biggs says:

    Salami and Cheese and crackers :) we keep it simple.

  57. Christina says:

    Any sort of cheese .. and wine!

  58. Kelly says:

    I love having pb and js! Classic combo

  59. Joyce says:

    Blue cheese! The stinkier the better! Because I love stinking Terry off the picnic blanket! Haha :D I also love packing a toasted ham and Swiss sandwich with strong Dijon on the side for light dipping! ..and lastly I like bringing cans of stouts! Oddly, I find them refreshing!
    (I am quite impressed those eggs were from a convenience store! I would have totally expected the yolk to be overcooked!)

  60. Melissa Black says:

    We LOVE fried chicken, guacamole and organic corn chips. yummy now I am super hungry!

  61. Nicole says:

    My favorite snack to take on a picnic — okay, my favorite snack ANYWHERE — would have to be Cape Cod reduced fat potato chips. Not that unique, and oddly specific, but you can’t beat a potato chip. For whatever reason, the reduced fat chips are way tastier and crispier than the others. Plus, you get a ton of those prized folded-over chips!

  62. Brent says:

    My favorite picnic feast is almost exactly what you have pictured – some onigiri with leftover fried chicken is the most fulfilling thing I could see in a lunch box or picnic basket!

  63. Colette says:

    A simple wine, cheese and cold cuts while on a picnic is the perfect meal!

  64. Jeanne says:

    My favourite picnic food is KFC fried chicken …relaxing on the dykes

  65. Laurel E. says:

    Cheese and crackers, big fat sandwiches and vino!

  66. Kirsten says:

    I actually used to like to plan themed picnics! Most of them were backyard picnics in the summer so we could get away with some libations too. Some favourites off the top of my head:

    -a Tom Bombadil/Goldberry picnic (from Lord of the Rings): fresh-baked bread, herbed compound butters, local raw honey, forest fruit, sparkling water with herbal simple syrups…

    -Paris picnic: good quality baguette/French bread, a nice Cab Sav, a few hunks of nice cheese, pastries

    -pressed sandwich picnics (weighing down the sandwiches with our old university textbooks)

    -Italian-ish/charcuterie picnic: prosciutto, a few varieties of olives, prosecco, thin crackers (usually rainforest crackers), bocconcini, fresh figs if available…

    To name a few! I have a couple Studio Ghibli bento boxes, we should do a bento picnic too when the weather gets nice enough! Or even set up a tent inside and eat in there, peering through the window at the sunny-but-cold weather.

  67. Lois says:

    I love to eat a good wrap with some fruit and snacks on a picnic!

  68. Wendy T says:

    Love having banh mis.

  69. Esther says:

    We usually pack a sandwich and a granola bar. On occasion, we have packed fried chicken (yum) and brownies!

  70. Kevin Huynh says:

    I can’t wait to try your recipe for chicken karaage!! On picnic’s my girlfriend and I think spam musubi and some Vietnamese salad rolls make for a great light portable snack. They’re quick and easy to make. The salad rolls are really refreshing after every bite. Plus they make for a great couple activity if you make them together. Once in a while we’ll have some korean fried chicken, but we’ll have to go for a long hike to feel like we’ve earned such a meal!

  71. Sarah says:

    My favorite picnic = fresh bread, butter, cheese, meat, and brownies for dessert! Oh and watermelon!

  72. Tanya Nayler says:

    dying to get one of these “fryers”

  73. Tanya Nayler says:

    I like get a round crusty loaf of bread hollowing it out a bit, then stuffing it full of veggies and tons of cold cuts. I then press it overnight and are ready to go!

  74. Gabriela says:

    The best picnic eats always consist of great wine in cheap plastic cups and crusty baguette, with a healthy serving of cold cuts and cheese for sandwiches on the fly, which taste infinitely better if you’re at a quaint park somewhere in Spain sitting near a fountain watching row boats float by. :)

  75. Rachael says:

    Karaage chicken is my go to when i don’t feel like sushi but want japanese, i am so excited to make it at home!! Thanks for sharing :)

  76. Matt Greenblatt says:

    I love to make chinese hot pepper chicken (la zi ji) but as a finger food on little Popsicles!

  77. Cherry says:

    My favorite thing is a very refreshing smoothie made from frozen fruits; unfrozen banana and some yogurt with almond milk =) even some oats to make it extra filling!

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