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Release | Takako Chiba

What is the difference between “Zangi” and “fried chicken”? 14 recommended Zangi places!


What is the difference between “Zangi” and “Karaage (usual Japanese fried chicken)”? 

The answer to the question is: “there are no definite descriptions to distinguish the two.”

However, Hokkaido-born people call fried chicken deep-fried after seasoned as “Zangi” from when they are children. Therefore, we oppose people who call Zangi a “Karaage”. Zangi is Zangi!


Table of Contents

- What is “Zangi”?
- The origin of the name “Zangi”
- “Zangi” is not only chicken - octopus, salmon, and deer
- What is “Hokkaido Zangi Union”?
- 14 + 1 places to find delicious Zangi in Sapporo


What is “Zangi”? 

“Zangi” is a fried chicken if we briefly describe it. We season chickens with a strong flavor, put batter, and deep-fry it. It was originally a homemade dish in Hokkaido. Every house has different recipes and just like “mother’s hamburg” or “mother’s curry”, to people in Hokkaido, nothing can go beyond “mother’s Zangi”. 
Soy sauce, garlic, and ginger are often used for seasonings. However, some people use sugar, honey, sesame oil, etc., and duration of immersing also differs depending on people. 

鶏もも肉▲Homemade Zangi often use chicken thighs. 
* The photo is an image

We use flour or starch for the batter (some people use eggs), and the distribution also differs in each house. 
“That is exactly like Karaage!” People outside of Hokkaido may think. However, Zangi which is written in our Hokkaido genes is slightly different from Karaage. 

鶏肉を油で揚げているところ▲When mothers cook Zangi at home, they make a lot and serve on a huge plate. 
* The photo is an image

Japan Karaage Association defines Karaage as below: 
“Karaage is a way of cooking using oil or dishes prepared by that cooking method. It puts flours or starch thinly to cover ingredients then deep-fry. Often people imagine chickens for ingredients, but Karaage does not limit ingredients. There are fish Karaage, vegetable Karaage, etc., Karaage which does not use chickens can also be called Karaage.”
(Quoted from Japan Karaage Association’s website)
And Japan Karaage Association introduces Zangi like this:

“If we say like this, people in Hokkaido make a questioning face. In Hokkaido, Karaage (to be distinct, dishes similar to Karaage) is called Zangi. Recently, the difference between Zangi and Karaage became vague and same food or similar food with stronger flavors are called Zangi as a dialect. If you have a chance to have Karaage in Hokkaido, tell the waiter that you want ‘Zangi’!”
(Quoted from Japan Karaage Association’s website) 
As they say “to be distinct, dishes similar to Karaage”, Japan Karaage Association might have a feeling that Karaage and Zangi are somewhat different. 
Restaurants in Hokkaido often have Zangi on their menu. Some restaurants give definitions for Zangi as well.  
Hokkaido Zangi Union”, an organization involved in various activities relating to Zangi as they believe Zangi is an important food culture in Hokkaido rooted in indigenous mentality, defines “Zangi is a local name for Karaage”. 

The origin of the name “Zangi”

Why do we call chicken Karaage “Zangi” in Hokkaido? 
There seem to be no relations between letters. 
There are several theories to the origin of the name Zangi. 

- “Zhaji” from Kushiro
Kushiro is said to be the origin of Zangi in Hokkaido. They called a deep-fried bone-in chicken in their menu as “Zhaji”. Zhaji is Chinese and means deep-fried chicken. It is said that they added the sound “N” in Zhaji and became “Zangi”. 

Hokkaido Likers has introduced the origin place of Zangi “Torimatsu”, so check out this article as well.

ザンギ* The photo is an image
- “Senzanki” from Imabari Region in Ehime Prefecture
There is a chicken Karaage dish called “Senzanki” in Imabari Region of Ehime Prefecture. 
The theory is that immigrants from Ehime to Hokkaido had their local dish “Senzanki” and it spread as “Zangi in Hokkaido. 

There are many theories about the origin of the name “Senzanki”. One of the theory says that it came from the Chinese word Zhaji like Zangi. 

今治たかはしのせんざんき▲Senzaki from Imabari City “Takahashi
* Photo by Imabari Yakitori Moriage-Tai

今治市はち八のせんざんき▲Senzanki from Imabari City “Hachi Hachi
* Photo by Imabari Yakitori Moriage-Tai

今治市わかとりのせんざんき▲Senzanki Imabari City “Wakatori
* Photo by Imabari Yakitori Moriage-Tai 

If I look at the pictures of “Senzanki” I can notice similarities from Zangi from the color looking like it has a strong flavor and the circular shapes. “Senzaki” also uses various seasonings by likings, such as soy sauce, sake, onion, ginger, and sesame oils.
However, the origins of Zangi are all theories and there are no reference documents or definite proofs. 

Therefore, just keep the theories of origins to your “Hokkaido Zangi common stories” for drinking talks…

“Zangi” is not only chicken

Everyone is certain that Zangi is chicken, but there are many other variations of Zangi in Hokkaido such as “Octopus Zangi”, “Salmon Zangi”, and “Deer Zangi”. Many restaurants offer those unique Zangi. 

Also, not all regions in Hokkaido use the name “Zangi” for chicken Karaage. The name is actually regional. The southern part of Hokkaido and Tokachi Region use Karaage rather than Zangi to call fried chicken. 
I asked the Hokkaido Zangi Union head of secretary Hideki Kanai about the Zangi culture in Hokkaido: 
“There are many variations of Zangi depending on each home and restaurants. It uses soy sauce as a base, and add different seasonings such as miso, salt, or some people serve it with sauces. Zangi is basically a homemade dish, but many restaurants make their original Zangi even in Chinese, Vietnam, or Italian restaurants. I guess, if it was Karaage, it did not spread like this. I guess this came from the tolerance of people in Hokkaido to adopt everything."
“People started cooking Zangi with different ingredients such as octopus and salmon. I think this is also unique to people in Hokkaido; they are very flexible.”
“Furthermore, the name of Zangi is not used in all Hokkaido. Southern Hokkaido and Tokachi Region call a fried chicken a Karaage. Kushiro, the origin on Zangi, and Sapporo, Ishikari, and Sorachi area use Zangi most times. Here is my theory: areas use the name Zangi are all coalfield area. People who work for coal mine tend to prefer strong flavors, and Zangi became the popular dish in the area.” 

By the way, what is “Hokkaido Zangi Union”?

“Hokkaido Zangi Union” is an organization to keep loving Zangi and it was established in October 2010. When we hear the word “union”, we imagine that the organization is very official. However, it was originally a community for Zangi lovers. The name “Hokkaido Zangi Union (Renmei)” can be shortened as “Do-Zan-Ren” in Japanese and it sounded nice, so it became the organization’s name.  
In Hokkaido Zangi Union, they host parties in restaurants renowned for Zangi once in a month. The restaurant offers their proud Zangi of course, but also a limited menu for Hokkaido Zangi Union gatherings.
Approximately 30 to 40 people gather at each party. They talk about Zangi as they enjoy Zangi. 
“Anyone can participate in the party. To describe it briefly, it’s like a pan-industry social event through Zangi. However, because of this party, people make new relations, and a limited menu created for the party became the signature menu of the restaurant. The relationship started in Zangi is growing.” Kanai told me. 

14 + 1 places to have delicious Zangi in Sapporo

As I wrote about Zangi, I am now craving for it. 
“Ok, let’s go have some Zangi!” However, I could not think of particular places to have “Zangi”, it’s just everywhere.
So I asked Kanai from Hokkaido Zangi Union to pick up his recommendations to have delicious Zangi. 
- Yakitori Dining Itadaki Kokkochan Kita 1-Jo 

焼鳥ダイニングいただきコッコちゃん北1条店のザンギ▲Salt Zangi which blends few kinds of umami flavors.
Yakitori Dining Itadaki Kokkochan Kita 1-Jo
Zangi Menu: Kokkochan’s Shio (salt) Zangi
Address: 2F, 3 Chome-3-11 Kita 1 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-213-0101

- Zangi Senmonten Ichi

ザンギ専門店Ichiのザンギ▲The unique stick-shaped Zangi

Zangi Senmonten Ichi
Zangi Menu: Happy Zangi
Address: 15 Chome-4-7 Kita 20 Johigashi Higashi-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-214-9200

- Zangi udon Ikkyu Sapporo TV Tower

ザンギうどん一久さっぽろテレビ塔店のザンギ▲The authentic Sanuki Udon specialized store’s Zangi topping. 

Zangi udon Ikkyu Sapporo TV Tower
Zangi Menu: Zangi udon noodles with grilled cheese
Address: Sapporo TV Tower B1F, 1 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-222-8819

- SappoLodge

SappoLodge(サッポロッジ)のザンギ▲The superb Zangi with chopped pickled gingers

Zangi Menu: Gari (pickled gingers) Zangi
Address: 1 Chome-1 Minami 5 Johigashi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-211-4314

- ZANGI Ichiban!

ZANGI一番!のザンギ▲Mixed Zangi with major three parts of Chicken

ZANGI Ichiban!
Zangi Menu: Chicken thigh Zangi, Chicken breast Zangi, and chicken breast strips Zangi
Address: B1F, 1 Chome Kita 4 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-213-0102

- Vietnam Gohan Chirin-Do

ベトナムゴハン チリン堂のザンギ▲The Vietnam style Zangi cooked by the owner who has lived in Vietnam

Vietnam Gohan Chirin-Do
Zangi Menu: Vietnam Zangi
Address: 3 Chome-1-11 Minami 9 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-839-1121

- Toramasa

寅昌のザンギ▲The addicting soy sauce flavored Zangi

Zangi Menu: Toramasa’s Zangi
Address: 5 Chome-4 Minami 4 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 090-2071-4930

- Kita No Megumi Tochinomon

北の恵み とちのもんのザンギ▲The Hokkaido Zangi Union’s official Zangi looks colorful

Kita No Megumi Tochinomon
Zangi Menu: Benishoga (red pickled ginger) Zangi
Address: 3F, 3 Chome, Minami 5 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-215-1174

- Hirochan’s Sapporo Shio Zangi Sumikawa Honten

ひろちゃんの札幌塩ザンギ澄川本店のザンギ▲Their batter is crunchy even after it got cool. *The place offers takeaways only. 

Hirochan’s Sapporo Shio Zangi Sumikawa Honten
Zangi Menu: Shio (salt) Zangi
Address: 3 Chome-1-20 Sumikawa 5 Jo Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-815-0326

Fujiwara(フジワラ)のザンギ▲The exquisite French-style Zangi

Zangi Menu: Fujiwara Zangi
Address: B1F, 2 Chome-1-4 Minami 1 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 
Phone: 011-211-6301

- Hokkaido Burger Restaurant Hokkaido Village

北海道バーガーレストランHokkaido Villageのザンギ▲Zangi Hamburger is very filling

Hokkaido Burger Restaurant Hokkaido Village
Zangi Menu: Juicy Zangi Cheese Hamburger
Address: 1F and 2F, 2 Chome-1 Kita 3 Johigashi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-522-8629

- Chuka Ryori Hotei

中国料理布袋のザンギ▲A fist-sized filling Zangi

Chuka Ryori Hotei
Zangi Menu: Zangi
Address: 9 Chome-1-3 Minami 1 Jonishi Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-272-4050

- Hokkaido Dining Michinoie

北海道ダイニング ミチノイエのザンギ▲The place is particular about Hokkaido produced ingredients 

Hokkaido Dining Michinoie
Zangi Menu: Zangi Teishoku
Address: 10F, 2 Chome Minami 1 Jonishi Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Phone: 011-205-2636

A bonus place is Hokkaido Likers’ recommendation. It’s a Zangi from a bento shop and the name is “Sapporo Zangi”. 
- Bentos​

ベントスの札幌ザンギ▲Strong flavor, huge, and crunchy Zangi. Have it with sweet vinegar and soy sauce. *The place offers takeaways only.
Photo: Tomoya Suwa

Zangi Menu: Sapporo Zangi
Sold at Bentos shops

The conclusion to summarize is that there is no distinct difference between “Zangi” and “Karaage”. However, as a Hokkaido-born person, who was particular about the name “Zangi” and as a person who has experienced different flavors of Zangi, would like to say Zangi and Karaage are different!
Those who will visit Hokkaido, please try Zangi if you find it at restaurants.
When you have it, you will understand that Zangi is Zangi! 

And those who are born in Hokkaido, be proud of the name Zangi and if anyone says that is a Karaage, say that Zangi is a Zangi and it’s different from Karaage! 


Related Links

- Hokkaido Zangi Union​
- Japan Karaage Association​
- Imabari Yakitori Moriage-Tai​
  • What is the difference between “Zangi” and “fried chicken”? 14 recommended Zangi places!

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Takako Chiba