Not your regular fried chicken.
Said to have originated in the early 1920s, from a restaurant in Beppu, ’toriten’ is a much loved local delicacy that can safely be considered as a key staple of Oita soul food.
Toriten (literally chicken tempura) looks very similar to karaage, fried chicken that can be found all over Japan, however, once you take your first bite you will quickly realize that it is very different. Seasoned with sake, ginger and garlic powder before being coated in tempura batter and fried, toriten has a much lighter and fluffier texture than regular fried chicken.
Both toriten and karaage are very popular dishes in Oita, in fact, the residents here apparently eat more chicken than any other prefecture!
Served with ponzu (citrus) sauce, mustard and a squeezing of kabosu juice on top, toriten is perfect as a light snack or as part of a main meal. Restaurants all over the prefecture sell toriten, each with their own unique take on the dish, we highly recommend trying it when you're here!
A perfect summer dessert.
Yaseuma is a sweet desert which originated in Oita during the Heian Period (794-1185) and is still widely enjoyed to this day.
Made from local wheat flour, salt, water and sugar and then cut into thick, wide, fat noodles which are then covered with kinako (finely ground soy bean flour) and sugar resulting in a chewy and delicious dish.
The dish gets its name from a Heian dynasty folktale, where a nanny named Yase, would make it for the child she was caring for. The child would call ‘Yase, uma, uma!’, with ‘uma’ being the child’s work for something to eat.
Yaseuma is best served chilled, in the summer.
The citrus fruit of Oita.
Kabosu is a type of citrus fruit that is widely cultivated in Oita. The fruit has a refreshing scent and used in a variety of Japanese dishes to complement their original flavors.
Kabosu are generally harvested from late August in fields and from March onwards in greenhouses, meaning that they can be produced year-round while their color is still green, if left to ripen, they will become yellow.
With a bitterness similar to that of lemon, kabosu can be found in several dishes around Oita, including sashimi, hot pot, grilled fish and miso soup. Kabosu juice is also widely used in snacks, sweets, and drinks.
Kabosu is noted for its unique fragrance.
A truly unique dining experience.
Beppu is known for its hot springs, in particular, its seven ‘hells’, but did you know that you can eat food cooked from the steam that these hot springs produce?
'Jigoku Mushi' is a style of cooking where food is placed on trays and then immersed into chambers filled with naturally occurring steam produced by the local hot springs. From vegetables, eggs, chicken, yakisoba, pork buns, to even pizza, there is no shortage of foods to choose from to be cooked in this manner.
People have been using this natural method of cooking for centuries and it is said that the natural qualities of the steam used can enrich the food and bring out its natural flavors.
Meals are lowered into steam chambers to cook.
Full of hearty goodness.
Dango-jiru is another staple of Oita cuisine, it is a miso-based flat noodle soup which can include ingredients such as Shitake mushrooms, carrots, onions, Iriko (baby sardines) and Satoimo (a type of Japanese root vegetable).
The noodles used are the same as those in Yaseuma, however the similarities end there with Danjo-jiru being a savory, hearty meal and Yaseuma a sweet dessert that’s best enjoyed cold.
The thickness of the noodles and their chewy, soft texture leads many people to compare this dish to dumpling soup. Dango-jiru is a very popular dish and can be found throughout the prefecture.
Dango-jiri is a hearty, nutritious soup that'll be sure to warm you up!