Why did the Cochin chicken cross the road from Nagoya to Tokyo and parts beyond? Because it was delicious, of course! Cochin is a breed of chicken found all over the world, but in Japan it is elevated to a higher coop. Nagoya is known as the preeminent breeding area for Cochin chicken, and this chicken has a reputation for quality out-clucked by no other bird. As a result, Nagoya’s Cochin chicken has become more of a brand than a mere commoditized meat, with specialty restaurants restricting their chicken exclusively to the stuff.
How good is Nagoya Cochin chicken? It’s so good that people eat it “tataki” style, which means it’s just given a quick searing and left raw in the middle. Or, if you’re the type that likes to do things full-flock, you can order it completely raw, sashimi style! Just a dab of soy sauce brings out the subtle flavors of the chicken. Worried? The suppliers and restaurants swear by the quality of this chicken, and it is said there is no reason to fear salmonella. Well, when in Rome, right?
There’s no need to be queasy if eating raw chicken is a little too wild for your tastes, as Nagoya Cochin chicken restaurants also offer their birds as a diverse range of cooked items as well. Grilled would be the obvious choice — yakitori (“grilled chicken”) is always a winner — but specially prepared chicken wings (tebasaki) is another favorite. Kushiage (fried things on sticks) can also be made with quality chicken such as this, and tastes even better with a thin streaming of miso sauce down the length of it.
Ultimately, the best way to enjoy a meal of Nagoya Cochin chicken is to enjoy it as a set course meal. Courses are designed to bring out the best in each dish by organizing the various foods in an optimal progression of flavors and textures.