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The Local Food of Oita

Toriten (Oita-wide)

It’s no exaggeration to say there is nobody in Oita who doesn’t know toriten.  It is a standard dish which also has a homemade flavor to it.  It is widely available through Oita Prefecture, and can be found on the menus of restaurants, izakaya Pubs, bento shops, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Toriten consists of chicken randomly cut into large chunks, buttered with a tempura coating and deep fried which gives it a crunchy texture.  Please enjoy simple but strong its “Oita” flavor with ponzu sauce or mustard sauce.


Dumpling Soup (Oita-wide)

Dumpling soup is one of the representative dishes of Oita, which is not only available at restaurants, but also commonly found at the family dinner table.  The dumplings, also known as “hocho”, are kneaded wheat flour with salt, and then lightly stretched by hand.  It is cooked with vegetables such as taro, carrots, mushrooms, and burdock in miso-based soup.

“Yaseuma” is another famous dish which is similar to such dumplings, but is eaten with roasted soy flour and/or red beans.


Soft Serve Ice Cream (Oita-wide)

To a select few, Oita is known as “Soft Serve Heaven”.  There are a lot of varieties of soft serves existing; the standard “Jersey Milk Soft Serve”, which is full of milk or quite unique “Lobster Soft Serve” and “Ramune Soft Serve”, etc. which gets interests from any one of you throughout Oita prefecture, especially Takeda-city as a central of the “heaven”.  

You can enjoy the abundance in variety of flavours of Oita, which boasts many special products such as the “Tomato Soft Serve” and “Kabosu Soft Serve”.


Jigokumushi (Beppu City)

Using “hell holes”, the method of “jigokumushi” cooking (“hell steaming”) uses steam that constantly spouts from the hot spring to cook the food.  It is an ancient method of cooking, used in the Kannawa neighbourhood which still provides an atmosphere of hot spring resorts.  

Seasonal vegetables and locally caught fish are steamed so the flavour does not escape, with the hot spring nutrients adding to the rich flavour.  Jigokumushi egg, pork buns and pudding, etc. are most suitable to satisfy your stomach when walking around the hot springs or through the town.


Seki-Aji and Seki Saba (Saganoseki, Oita City)

Aji (horse mackerel) and saba (common mackerel) are from the currents of Hoyo Strait, referred to as the Hayasui Strait.  The fish meat is, of course, high quality, as the unique fishing method “through pole fishing” which doesn’t damage the fish, and the freshness of the fish is preserved through bleeding and rigorous quality control.  These days Oita’s “seki-mono” is very popular with people from all over Japan.

Although high in fat, the meat is strong and consistent, and the taste is outstanding!  If you wish to eat this dish in Oita, please try eating it as sashimi for the freshest flavour.


Fugu Cuisine (Oita City, Usuki City)

Caught in the Bungo Channel, tiger fugu (puffer fish) are cut into thick sashimi slices to bring out the delicious flavour.  The sashimi holds a firm consistency and has such a clear gloss that you can taste the deliciousness just by looking at it.  Please enjoy with the delicious Oita specialty kabosu soy sauce.
In addition to sashimi, fugu karage(deep-fry) and fugu zosui (rice porridge) are also popular.


Himeshima Kuruma Ebi (Himeshima Village)

Bred on a farm of a vacant saltpan, Himeshima kuruma prawns are highly valued for their quality freshness and delicious flavour.

A variety of kuruma prawn cuisine is available throughout Himeshima’s inns and restaurants.  If you get to try Himeshima kuruma prawns firsthand, we recommend you eat them as sashimi.  When you put a fresh live kuruma prawn in your mouth, you acquire the tender consistency and unique sweet flavour.

Kuruma prawns are delicious when eaten while hot after being salt-grilled still in its crunchy shell, or deep-fried whole!


Karage (Nakatsu City, Usa City)

Why is the northern region of Oita Prefecture the “karage(deep-fried chicken) battleground”?  While it may be yet a mystery, karage is available at all types of outlets from delicatessens to butchers in Nakatsu, the “sacred ground of karage” and Usa, the “birthplace of karage specialty outlets”.  

Generally, karage is made from chicken flavoured in a soy sauce-based marinade seasoned with garlic and ginger.  However, each restaurant has its own twist, and makes its own unique flavour.


Bungo Beef (Takeda City, Bungo Ono City, Kokonoe Town, Kusu Town, among others)

Bungo beef comes from Japanese Black bleed, which are raised on the fertile lands of Oita.

The beef has a beautiful marble-white colour, and has a mild soft texture.  You can taste the juiciness at the first touch of your mouth continued with the explosion of the sweet flavor in your mouth.  Producers raise their cattle diligently, and confidently bring to you this special high-quality product of which Oita can be proud.

It is very popular to enjoy Bungo beef at a barbeque surrounded by nature with your family.

Kokonoe Yume Burger (Kokonoe Town)

This is a burger for “the locally produced for local consumption” of the region which can be eaten in Kokonoe where Japan’s largest suspension bridge Kokonoe “Yume” Otsurihashi (Kokonoe “Yume” Grand Suspension Bridge) is located.
This quality burger can be only sold at outlets with an approval from the committee.
Using local grown ingredients from the magnificent Kokonoe nature, there are a lot of varieties of burgers; such as a Bungo beef burger with vegetable including tomato and lettuce, Yakisoba burger, Chicken nanban burger (sweet and sour deep-fried chicken), Rice burger, and Tofu hamburger steak.  So much variety makes it difficult to choose!