Americans could be forgiven for thinking that chicken wings come from Buffalo, and Brits may think of them as that bit of the Sunday roast that no one really wants, but there are few foods quite so close to the heart of the people of Nagoya as the humble chicken wing. Tebasaki, to give it its local name, is famous round these parts, and people come from miles around to sample this uniquely Nagoyan dish. With this in mind, it should come to no surprise that, so revered is it, tebasaki actually has its own festival.
The Tebasaki Summit
Brought about by the Japan Tebasaki Association, The Tebasaki Summit began in 2014 as national chicken wing championships and attracted more than 30,000 visitors who ate a combined 150,000 wings. It continued to grow last year, and this year’s poultry Grand Prix is expected to be the biggest and best yet.
Challengers from all over the country will be pitting their wits against each other hoping to pick up the grand prize. Last year the top position was collected by Tebasaki Bancho, a restaurant from Miyazaki Prefecture, so there is a lot of local pride at stake this time round.
But of course, the tebasaki summit isn’t just about the competition, but eating is very high on the agenda. There are so many different varieties of tebasaki to choose from, with different different spice combinations, different frying techniques and even different types of chicken (the Nagoya Cochin chicken is particularly famous). But be warned, queues for some of the most popular ones can be pretty long, so it pays to either turn up early, or be prepared to sample the more unusual or undiscovered varieties.
As well as food itself there will be musical performances from 80 local musicians and 13 idol groups. A speech will be given by the Mayor of Nagoya, there is karaoke, games and of course the summit’s mascot (a giant chicken wing, if you hadn’t guessed) so there is plenty to get involved with once you’ve had your fill of incredibly moreish wings. If that were indeed possible .
This video should include all you need to know, though it is in Japanese. And completely bonkers.
- What: See types of tebasaki on offer! http://www.tebasaki-summit.com/2016/shoplist/
- When: June 9, 10 and 11th, rain or shine.
- Website: www.tebasaki-summit.com
- Where: Hisayaodori Park in Sakae, near Matsuzakaya Nagoya Department Store
- Subway Meijo Line, Yabacho station, exit 5 or 6, 1 minute walk
- Subway Meijo Line – Higashiyama line, Sakae station, exit 15, 3 minutes walk
Tebasaki in Nagoya
If you can’t get to the Tebasaki summit, you don’t have to miss out entirely, because there are plenty of places to get it all year round.
There are two really famous tebasaki chains that serve Nagoya. The older of the two is Furaibo, which spices its chicken wings in the traditional Nagoya way (see below). However, if you like a bit of spice in your life, there is a much more peppery version available at Sekai no Yama-chan, which has so many branches of its shop in the Kanayama area, that if one of their shops is full the waitress can literally walk you to another just around the corner.
There is a special way of eating tebasaki reminiscent of how a king at a banquet table might devour his fowl. You can see the process illustrated here on a blog that I found. Basically you want to break the wing in half, allowing you to scrape all the meat off one side with one strong swipe of your teeth!
You can find one of the many, many branches of Furaibo or Sekai no Yama-chan on their Japanese websites that will get you pointed in the right direction to tebasaki heaven! Furaibo has shops literally everywhere in central Nagoya as well as the suburbs, while Sekai no Yama-chan has many in the Nagoya area, but they also have stores in Tokyo, Sapporo and Kumamoto! Therefore, it’s odds on that there will be a Furaibo somewhere nearby should you be in one of these locations and feel the urge for a feast of spicy, crunchy chicken and loads of beer. ( A foreigner’s delight!)
Just look for the signs in the above links and you’ll be able to spot the one nearby!
Image: Japan Info Swap