Kushiro Zangi-Topped with an original sauce, this fried chicken has a savory taste.
The word "Zangi" is used almost exclusively here in Hokkaido, and it refers to a type of fried chicken (Called Karaage in Japanese) enjoyed here in Japan. In general, this dish is prepared with a soy sauce, garlic, and ginger sauce used to flavor the chicken, and then the whole thing is fried in a thick batter. But often, when made at home, there are many different seasonings used and the amount of batter varies.
The taste of zangi in Kushiro, however, is a completely different story. I visited the zangi specialty shop "Toriyoshi" to get a better idea of the taste. The shop's owner, Mr. Uchimagi Tetsuya, started out as an apprentice at a shop where the unique Kushiro zangi flavor began. Five years later he opened his own shop which has continued to use the unique flavor passed down to him during his apprenticeship. This year the shop celebrates its 38th year in business.
The Kushiro zangi is made with a salt base seasoned chicken, this is dusted with starch and fried. The fried chicken is then seasoned with a special sauce made at the shop and is served up to customers. Mr. Uchimagi also explained the origin of the term zangi. "In 1960, the originator of the dish was making fried chicken which still had bones in it. The Chinese name for the dish was "Zachi or Zagi" however he added a bit of the word "un" (Fortune) to the mix and the zangi was born!"
▲ These zangi are made with Hokkaido chicken fried in hot lard. You can choose to enjoy them with or without bones.
The crispy skin hides a deliciously tender meat beneath it's surface. But the high point of these zangi is the special shop sauce. Flavoring with pepper is an important point to remember when you enjoy them!
▲ The special shop sauce has been around since the shop opened. Be sure to add pepper for the best taste!
Here in Kushiro it is common for zangi to be brought home as a souvenir after a night of drinking. They also taste great at birthday parties alongside sushi and cake! "In Kushiro it's very common for zangi to be a take-out item."
▲The friendly Mr. Uchimagi, who graciously talked about zangi for my entire visit.
If you're ever visiting Kushiro be sure to stop by and enjoy the unique taste of Kushiro Zangi!
● Zangi Specialty Shop "Toriyoshi"
Sun Plaza Building 1st floor, 2-15, Sakae-cho, Kushiro
TEL : 0154-22-8472
Hours of Operation: 5:00p.m. to Midnight
Days when the shop is closed are undecided, so please call ahead.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Chikki)
(Photographs provided by 仙北慎次)