Chicken Nanban (fried chicken in Japanese sweet and peppery vegetable sauce) (チキン南蛮)

Chicken nanban is a local cuisine originally created in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Recently, it is available all over Japan as a standard item of box lunches sold at convenience stores, a prepared food sold at supermarkets and is an ingredient of fast-food.


It was originally a meal provided for cooks within the kitchen of the western style restaurant, 'London' which used to be in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture.

According to the Tourist Resort Section, Miyazaki Prefecture, chicken nanban originates from the today's most popular variation 'Chicken nanban with tartar sauce' served by the restaurant 'Ogura.'

The recipe for chicken nanban with tartar sauce mainly served today was invented by Teruyuki KAI who came from Nobeoka City and worked as an apprentice at 'London' in Nobeoka City and later participated in the 'Ogura group', which was managed by his relatives and deployed restaurants mainly around Miyazaki City. The chicken nanban with tartar sauce was first put on the menu of the 'Western style restaurant London' of 'Ogura group' in Miyazaki City in 1965 with the same name as that of the one served at the head restaurant in Nobeoka City. It is said that the combination of chicken and tartar sauce was created from dried squid and mayonnaise.

In the 1960s, Naoshi GOTO who had worked as an apprentice at the restaurant 'London' opened an eating house 'Naochan' where he developed a new menu from what originally served within the kitchen for cooks. He started to serve a poultry dish using inexpensive and readily available chicken breasts for 150 yen a dish. It is said that, similar to nanbanzuke (with Japanese sweet and peppery vegetable sauce) using horse mackerel or the like, a recipe for chicken nanban is as simple as lightly dipping frittered chicken in vinegar.

At any rate, chicken nanban first appeared in Nobeoka City in the 1960s. It became a standard item served at almost all delicatessens and restaurants in Miyazaki Prefecture and also prevailed as local and home cuisines of Miyazaki so that families in Miyazaki enjoy their homemade tartar sauces. It was considered to be a cuisine local to Miyazaki Prefecture and rather unfamiliar to people outside the prefecture, however, restaurants in Tokyo or Osaka which served food from Miyazaki Prefecture and convenience stores began to sell it, and it penetrated into the entire country as a popular Miyazaki local food.

Tartar sauce for chicken nanban and sauce used for nanbanzuke are in the seasoning sections at almost all supermarkets in Miyazaki Prefecture. A nationwide take-out food chain Hokka-Hokka Tei adopted it to its menu in about 2,000 shops mainly in west Japan.


Cut the chicken meat (mainly boneless carcass) into the desired size and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Let stand for a while and dredge them with flour.

Dip in beaten eggs and fry them in salad oil heated to about 180 degrees Celsius.

Cook until golden brown and then remove fried chicken from the oil, lightly draining the oil and dipping them in sweet vinegar. Soak for 30 seconds. Adjust the seasoning by changing the time to soak the chicken according to the preference.

Add tartar sauce to finish.

[Original Japanese]