It is no exaggeration to say that tori no karaage (deep-fried chicken) is now a national dish in Japan, and it is a popular menu item available at various places, including izakayas, bento shops, teishoku-ya, convenience stores, and sometimes even ramen and soba noodle shops.
According to one theory, the first karaage in Japan was eaten in Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture, and it is said that pheasants from Mount Chikami were fried about 300 years ago. The modern "karaage" appeared on restaurant menus in around 1932, beginning at "Shokudo Mikasa," the predecessor of the current Mikasa Kaikan.
Deep-fried chicken is unique to Japan. Under the policy of increasing the number of poultry farms in preparation for the food shortage after the war, various delicious ways of eating chicken were developed, and deep-fried chicken became widely available. Oita Prefecture, the birthplace of fried chicken, had the largest number of poultry farms. Today, it is a fiercely competitive area with many karaage specialty stores throughout the town, and every evening, there are many people buying karaage for their families in kilos.
In a nutshell, no two karaage are exactly the same, and it could be categorized roughly into three types: authentic, home style, and snack. Authentic karaage is the type of karaage served at karaage specialty stores and restaurants, where a single piece of meat is cut into large pieces and deep fried, seasoning of which is very particular with garlic and soy sauce. Home style karaage are those available at supermarkets and department stores, garlic of which is weak and the ginger is strong. Lastly, snack karaage are one-handed fried chicken sold in convenience stores, and have become popular because of the variety of flavors and way of eating.
As the freedom of eating expands, so does the variety of deep-fried chicken, but it will surely continue to maintain its unchallenged position as the number one popular side dish. If you are interested in preparing karaage at home, please have a look at our useful bowls, pots, and containers available online.
Black tea, according to the description in "The Story of Qingwan Tea," was imported to Japan in the early Edo period. At that time, China was the world's largest exporter of tea, and from there, green tea called Syôra, and black and oolong tea called Bohea were exported to Europe.
In 1783, the shipwright of a shipping wholesaler in Ise Province, Daikokuya Kodayu, is known as the first Japanese to drink black tea, who drifted ashore on his way to Edo, where he met Catherine II, the empress regnant of All Russia at that time and was invited to a tea party on November 1, which was then designated as Japan's "Tea Day."
On the other hand, the first person to be involved in the production of black tea in Japan was Gisuke Matsuo, a political merchant from the Kyushu region, who created a semi-governmental company for exporting art and other products to Europe and the United States, and who was ordered by the Saga Clan's Motoemon Nonaka, to try his hand at making black tea.
Nowadays, tea culture has spread throughout the country, and it is available everywhere and can be enjoyed at various cafes and coffee shops. Kyoto, for instance, may have a strong image of Japanese tea and matcha, but surprisingly, many stores are specializing in black tea as well.
In fact, Japan's first tea house, Lipton, opened in Kyoto in 1930. Lipton was also the first tea house to serve royal milk tea in Japan in 1965, and it is said that the recipe that produced its rich flavor has been passed down to the present.
There are also many other attractive stores in Kyoto, such as restaurants where you can enjoy a stylish afternoon tea, and cafes where you can enjoy domestic tea in a Kyoto-like atmosphere. Why don't you visit them when you come to Kyoto?
If you want to drink the tea you bought as a souvenir at home, we strongly recommend you use our beautiful and functional tea caddies, tea strainers, and other tea-related goods.