| Hokkaido

The etymology of “zangi.” (Hokkaido’s food for the soul!)

“Zangi” is not well known outside of Hokkaido. However to the people of Hokkaido it is celebrated as their “food for their soul.”
There are many questions around the origin of zangi, and even what it actually is! Is it “chicken fried”, or not! It is a simple dish surrounded by plenty of mystery!


There are many theories about the origin of Zangi!

At the Yarimizu restaurant zangi is served as a meal set of either 4, 6, or 9 pieces.
The confusion comes from the fact that in addition to the “zangi set” the à la carte menu lists “four fried chicken” as an option. Why? Is it something different? Zangi etymology and origin information remain a mystery even now. Two different restaurants: Torimatsu at Kushiro and Toutoutei in Hakodate take credit for the creation of zangi. Other People around the province give different restaurants the credit. The etymology of the name also remains unclear. Most stories make connection with the Chinese word for chicken “Zaji”

The taste varies with the creator!

tencyou yarimizusan
At Yarimizu restaurant the zangi is served as a rice bowl. The recipe was created by the owner Hideto Yarimizu. His zangi rice bowl is close to 40 grams in volume. He serves it with a mouth-watering sweet sour sauce and tartar sauce. The residents like zangi by whatever vague definition. The sauce seems to be one standardized feature. It is typically made with soy sauce, ginger and garlic. The chicken is fried in this special sauce.

A zangi lunch usually includes fried noodles or fried rice.

Zangi is sold at convenience stores, Chinese restaurants, and taverns throughout Hokkaido.
Bento shops in Sapporo are also known for having delicious zangi! At Zansara their Zangi Bento comes with a salad. A “zangi party” will include hors d’oeuvres. You can also get “zangi fried rice.”

Convenience stores carry a classic zangi meal!

Conveni bentou
Convenience stores in the province also sell zangi! It is typically sold with fried noodles.

Zangi is not only chicken!

As I have written, it is difficult to define zangi. The only common definition is fried chicken. However now the residents of Hokkaido are changing that definition too. They are using fried taco and calling it “octopus zangi.” They are also serving zangi bowl with salmon.
The Mashike area’s new specialty is tako zangi. It is also popular in the areas of
Haboro and Ishikari. It is hard to understand just what zangi is. Some people think that
Hokkaido people just make up a different recipes add some basic ingredients and call it Zangi. Whatever it is, it tastes great and you should try it!

Smart tip
  • It seems that most zangi is fried chicken.
  • Zangi rice bowls contain fried rice. Some versions add hamburger.
  • You can find zangi in restaurants and local shops throughout Sapporo.
What's interesting

“Traditional” zangi uses only the thigh meat of chicken. It has a good texture and taste.