Release | nobu Kawashima
Torimatsu, the birthplace of Zangi provides bone-in chicken with special sauce!
Zangi, a Hokkaido-style fried chicken, is one of the most important local food in Hokkaido. It is said that Kushiro is the birthplace of Zangi, and “Torimatsu” in Kushiro City is the first restaurant which provided Zangi. Many people imagine Zangi to be thigh without bones, but the traditional Zangi seems to use bone-in chicken and provided with special sauce.
Why did Zangi born?
“Torimatsu” is a fried chicken specialized restaurant which provides not only the signature menu Zangi, but also fried thigh and chicken wings. The place is now famous as a birthplace of Zangi, tourists from all over the world visit this place, sometimes holding guidebooks and take-out Zangi.
▲Torimatsu is located in the downtown of Kushiro. It’s a perfect place to stop by when you go around two or three pubs in the neighborhood, too.
I visited the restaurant and researched the history of Zangi. The manager Mr. Takakura answered to my questions.
▲The manager Mr. Takakura. He is the second generation of Torimatsu, protecting the restaurant and the taste of Zangi.
When the first generation established the restaurant, it was a Yakitori bar at first. In 1960, right after the bar opened, there was a sale of a broiler. He tried the broiler, chopped the body into many parts and provided as a fried chicken. This was the beginning of Zangi. It became very popular right after the sales, and the bar changed from Yakitori specialized to Zangi specialized.
By the way, the name of Zangi comes from a mix of Chinese word “Zaji” and a Japanese word “Un”, meaning good luck.
▲Freshly fried Zangi, made with high-temperature lard and chickens produced in Hokkaido.
The traditional Zangi is bone-in chicken!
When Zangi was first born, Zangi used chopped chicken pieces of the whole body. Therefore, chickens were bone-in and parts were not limited.
The style of Torimatsu’s Zangi has not changed. Zangi here is bone-in.
However, many people prefer chickens without bones today, so there is such thing on the menu, too. Be careful to order “Zangi without bones”, not the normal “Zangi”. If you order “Zangi”, bone-in chickens will be provided.
▲Torimatsu’s Zangi. You can not expect which parts will be on the plate!
▲Zangi without bones. Very soft and easy to eat.
The traditional Zangi is eaten while it’s hot, using the special sauce
There are salt, pepper, red pepper, and sauce on the table of Torimastu. You are allowed to eat with whatever seasoning, but I’d recommend eating with sauce. Zangi is already flavored slightly, based on salt, but using this special sauce is the traditional style of Zangi.
▲The rule for traditional Zangi is using this sauce! You can not stop eating once you learn the flavor.
The sauce is not syrupy like ones of Yakitori. It’s more watery like Worcester sauce. But yet it’s something different, having the complicated flavor of different umami. The watery texture won’t ruin the crispness of Zangi, making chicken juicier.
The sauce of Torimatsu is originally created. The first generation walked all around Japan and studied the best flavor. The manager Takakura inherits the flavor of this special secret sauce.
▲The manager Mr. Takakura cooks Zangi, using two fryers. His craftsmanship is protecting the traditional flavor.
Nowadays, many kinds of Zangi is provided at restaurants all over Japan. The ingredient is not limited to chicken; it’s now spread to various ingredients such as seafood. The standard in chicken is those without bones.
However, the origin of Zangi is bone-in chickens eaten with sauce.
There are as many opinions about how to enjoy Zangi, as there are people. However, don’t you like to try the traditional taste of Zangi? It may totally change your opinion towards Zangi.
Text, photo / Hokkaido Likers Photo-writer nobu Kawashima