Nagoya is famous for quite a few foods and Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings is one of them. Sweet savoury sauce coated all over the deep-fried chicken wings is so tasty. The spiciness from the generous amount of pepper makes this dish so unique.
Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings makes it into the top 3 of the Nagoya’s specialty gourmet food. In Japan, people call it ‘Nagoya no Tebasaki’ (名古屋の手羽先), meaning Nagoya’s (‘Nagoya no’, 名古屋の) chicken wings (‘tebasaki’, 手羽先). The name only indicates something to do with chicken wings, but people know what it looks like and how good it tastes.
Origin of Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings
Nagoya no Tebasaki was accidentally invented by a restaurant owner in Nagoya. The restaurant forgot to order whole chicken, which was the key ingredient of a popular menu item, Tarzan-yaki grilled chicken. A whole chicken was cut in half, deep-fried, then grilled. The cooked chicken was basted with a tasty soy-based sweet sauce before serving.
The owner/chef of the restaurant looked at the massive pile of chicken wings that were meant to be used only to make chicken broth. As an alternative for Tarzan-yaki, the chef fried the chicken wings, basted them with the same sauce and served them.
Unlike Tarzan-yaki, the portion of the dish was small, and the price was cheaper than Tarzan-yaki. To the chef’s surprise (and delight), the fried chicken wings basted with the sweet soy sauce became the most popular dish at this restaurant.
The restaurant’s name is Furaibou (風来坊), and now has over 70 restaurants all over Japan, and one in the USA.
Many restaurant owners visited Furaibou and learnt how to cook the fried chicken wings so that they could serve the delicious dish at their restaurant.
Among those was the owner/chef who later opened the chain restaurant, Sekai no Yamachan (世界の山ちゃん) and became famous for spicy Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings (photo above). There are 69 restaurants in Japan and 7 in a few other Asian countries.
Furaibou and Sekai no Yamachan are equally famous in Japan. When you hear the word Nagoya no Tebasaki, people think of these two restaurants.
Furaibou Fried Chicken vs Sekai no Yamachan Fried Chicken
Both chain restaurants serve delicious Nagoya-style Fried Chicken. But there are subtle differences.
Chicken portions: Furaibou uses only the mid-section of a chicken wing (wingette) while Yamachan uses the mid-section with the tip intact. This is how you can easily distinguish Furaibou and Yamachan chicken wings. Note: neither of them uses the drumette portion (the meatiest portion).
Coating chicken for deep-frying: Furaibou does not coat chicken pieces with anything before frying. It is called ‘su-age’ (素揚げ), meaning bare frying. But Yamachan’s fried chicken is coated with potato starch flour.
Sauce: The sauce of the Furaibou version is sweeter than the Yamachan version. But the spiciness from the pepper is not as strong as the flavour of the Yamachan fried chicken. Yamachan’s chicken is pretty spicy.
Toppings: Furiabou chicken wings come with roasted white sesame seeds sprinkled over the chicken but the Yamachan version has no toppings, just a lot of pepper.
How to Make My Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings
I made both the Furaibou version and the Sekai no Yamachan version as they are very similar to make.
You will need:
- Chicken wings (wingette with or without tip)
- Corn flour (for the Yamachan version)
- Oil to deep fry
- Ground white pepper
- Roasted white sesame (for the Furaibou version)
- Sauce consisting of:
- Soy sauce
- Cooking sake
- Grated garlic
- Grated ginger
- Sugar (optional)
The process of making Nagoya no Tebasaki is not hard, but it involves deep frying the chicken twice, just like Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage Chicken).
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat off and leave until required.
- Dust the chicken wings with corn flour (for the Yamachan version). Deep fry chicken at 160°C / 320°F for 4-5 minutes.
- Drain oil and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then deep fry again at 180°C / 356°F for 3-4 minutes.
- Drain oil and coat both sides of the chicken pieces with the sauce using a brush.
- Sprinkle generous amount of pepper on the chicken, scatter sesame seeds (for Furaibou version) and serve.
You can mix and match two versions
As shown in the photo below, the first Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings that I made was a mixture of the Furaibou and the Yamachan versions. I used only wingettes which is the Furaibou way, but I coated the chicken with corn flour which is the Yamachan method.
I could have had the wing tips intact to be consistent with the Yamachan chicken. But my chicken wings in a pack from the nearest supermarket did not come with tips.
When I was shopping chicken wings, I could not find full chicken wings (i.e. drumette + wingette + tip) in a pack at all. They had either just wingettes or wings without tips (labelled as boomerang chicken). What’s going on with the chicken wings at supermarkets?
For the second trial, I bought chicken wings from a chicken shop so that I could also make the Yamachan version of Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings.
I don’t think my sauce is too sweet, and so it is closer to the Yamachan version. Furaibou’s sauce is sweeter. You can adjust the sweetness with sugar.
You can also adjust the amount of pepper to sprinkle on the chicken. Yamachan’s wings are pretty spicy.
Unlike traditional Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage Chicken), the chicken is not flavoured before deep-frying. It is the complete opposite as the flavour is added after frying the chicken. Perhaps because of this, the Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings has a stronger flavour than the traditional Karaage Chicken.
Although my first photo shows a pair of chopsticks, I think the best way to eat Nagoya no Tebasaki is by hand.
Nagoya-style Fried Chicken Wings is called ‘Nagoya no Tebasaki’ and it is a famous dish in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture. The sweet savoury sauce coated over the deep-fried chicken wings is so tasty. The spiciness from the generous amount of pepper makes this dish so unique.
My recipe contains two different styles of Nagoya no Tebasaki from the two famous restaurant chains – Furaibou and Sekai no Yamachan. Their Fried Chicken Wings are different in appearance, cooking method and spices. But you can mix and match two different methods.
Cook Time assumes that the chicken pieces are deep-fried in two batches.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 12 chicken wings (only wingettes, note 1)
- Oil to deep fry (note 2)
- Roasted white sesame seeds
- 12 chicken wings (without drumette, i.e. wingettes with tips, note 1)
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- Oil to deep fry (note 2)
- Ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp cooking sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp garlic grated
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 2 tsp sugar (optional, note 4)
- Bite-size cabbage pieces
- A lemon wedge
Put all the Sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Leave it until required.
Pat dry chicken pieces with kitchen paper.
If making Sekai no Yamachan wings, coat the wings with corn flour.
Heat oil to 160°C / 320°F (note 5). Carefully place chicken in oil – do not crowd the oil with chicken. Fry in batches.
Cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken becomes only slightly golden, turning them over few times while frying. (note 6)
Transfer the wings to a rack lined with kitchen paper. Leave for 10-15 minutes.
Bring the temperature of the oil up to 180°C / 356°F.
Carefully place the chicken (do not crowd the oil) and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. The oil bubbles and splashes a lot initially, then the chicken starts floating. When it’s done, the bubbles around the chicken are smaller and the oil does not splash.
Transfer the chicken to a rack lined with kitchen paper. Repeat for the rest of the batches.
Place a rack on a tray and put the fried chicken pieces on the rack facing the inside of the wing up.
Brush the surface generously with the sauce. If you would like a very spicy flavour like Yamachan-style, sprinkle generous amount of pepper over the chicken pieces.
Turn the chicken pieces over and baste them generously with the sauce. Put pepper over the chicken pieces (adjust the amount of pepper to your liking).
Put cabbage on the side of a serving plate and a lemon wedge next to it.
Place the wingettes next to each other with the inside of the wing facing up.
Sprinkle sesame seeds over the wingettes.
Pile all the chicken wings up high on a plate.
1. A dozen of my wingettes weighed 350g / 0.8lb, while a dozen of Yamachan-style wings (wingette + tip) weighed 650g / 1.4lb.
If you bought full chicken wings, i.e. drumette + wingette + tip, please refer to Nagi’s recipe, Truly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings, which includes how to cut chicken wings into three portions with a step-by-step photo.
2. You will need to fill a pan with enough oil to submerge the chicken wings.
If your pan is small, you can fry the chicken in batches. I fried the Furaibou-style chicken pieces in two batches and the Yamachan-style chicken in three batches.
3. The quantity of the sauce is just right for the Yamachan-style chicken wings. If you are making the Furaibou-style wings, you will use about 2/3 of it.
4. Adding sugar makes the sauce closer to the Furaibou sauce. You can slightly increase or decrease the quantity to suit to your palate.
5. The oil bubbles and splashes a bit when chicken is put in the oil, so use a deep thick frying pan or a thick bottomed pot.
6. The Furaibou-style chicken may stick to the bottom or stick to each other as they have no flour coating. Hold the pan with an oven mitt and gently separate the chicken.
7. I copied the typical way of serving wings from both stores. Furaibou comes with shredded cabbage but I felt that bite-size pieces are easier to eat by hand, since you are most likely to use your hands to eat the wings.
8. Nutrition per serving (Furaibou version). It assumes that meat of the wings is 60% of the total weight, the oil absorption rate is 5% (less than other fried dishes due to no coating on the chicken wings).
serving: 171g calories: 566kcal fat: 41g (63%) saturated fat: 11g (55%) trans fat: 0.3g polyunsaturated fat: 9.3g monounsaturated fat: 19g cholesterol: 86mg (29%) sodium: 1294mg (54%) potassium: 353mg (10%) carbohydrates: 24g (8%) dietary fibre: 2.9g (12%) sugar: 6.9g protein: 22g vitamin a: 9% vitamin c: 6.1% calcium: 14% iron: 21%