The Night Life in Miyazaki City
When in Miyazaki, be sure to visit one of the restaurants that specializes in fresh local chicken, “Jidori(地鶏)” and explore the unique ways of how to enjoy them and ways local masters prepare these meals.
There is a special way of breeding chicken, this they of bred chicken called “Jitokko(地頭鶏)”, only raised in designated farms in Miyazaki. The chickens are grown free ranged in massive fields for a longer rearing period. Which allows the chicken to develop the right amount of muscles and grow healthier organs. Meat becomes firm with texture, yet retains more juices. As you chew the meat, the more umami flavors you will taste.
“Jidori-Sumibiyaki”, where chicken is grilled over charcoal fire, is one of the most famous local cuisines in Miyazaki.
The process is to cook portion chicken thighs on a metal grid, grill them on a high 200℃ open flame over branded charcoal for 3 to 4 minutes. To retain juice and the tenderness of the meat, the master will take it off the flame. A skilled and experienced master times the quality of the finished meat by appearance and the tenderness of the meat. Some prestigious restaurants use “Hyuga-Binchōtan(日向備長炭)”, one of the top 3 brand charcoals in Japan made 100% from Miyazaki wood, enhancing a smokiness to the chicken meat.
For those that are more daring to venture deeper into Miyazaki’s food culture, must try fresh raw chicken. “Torisashi(鶏刺し)”, the fresh raw chicken cut into strips, is a local cuisine often eaten in south part of Kyushu.
Miyazaki is one of the few places in Japan that have their own hygiene standards for eating raw chicken. Factories and restaurants need to meet strict standards and regulations; temperature control, method of organ removal, frequency of cleaning equipment etc, on each process of treating raw chicken.
Dab each piece in soy sauce or ponzu(citrus-based vinegary sauce), and eat it with some grated ginger or garlic.The texture is incredibly smooth and silky. Its refreshing flavor with the natural sweetness of the meat will blow your mind once you’ve tasted it.
“Chicken Nanban(チキン南蛮)” is also one of the must-try chicken dishes when you visit Miyazaki.
It is a deep fried chicken soaked in sweet vinegar, and topped with rich tartar sauce. Every tourist gets charmed by this Miyazaki soul food which you cannot find anywhere else in Japan. Depending on the restaurants, there are wide varieties of how restaurants prepare this dish. Different in using parts of chicken, types of vinegar, frying methods, ingredients of tartar sauce etc. Try to visit different restaurants to find one that sparks joy in your tastebuds.
After enjoying the authentic chicken dishes, explore Miyazaki’s Shōchū drinking culture.
Miyazaki is well known in producing Shōchū (焼酎) a clear distilled spirit made from sweet potatoes, barley, rice, buckwheat, and other various materials. There are plenty of restaurants and bars that carry a wide variety of shōchū in downtown Miyazaki.
If it is your first time trying shōchū in Miyazaki, start with light sweet potato shōchū mixed with soda.
It’s becoming a popular way of drinking shōchū nowadays for beginners to habitual drinkers, from the young drinkers to senior drinkers. This way, you can enjoy the refreshing taste without affecting the pure shōchū taste. It perfectly matches Miyazaki’s local cuisine like Jidori-Sumibiyaki, Gyoza(pan-fried dumplings), or any other savory dishes.
In Miyazaki, sweet potato is one of the main ingredients for shōchū making. Shōchū features are mellow and sweet aromatics that come from the “Satsumaimo(さつまいも)”, the sweet potatoes that are mainly grown in south of Kyushu. The flavor also changes depending on the types of Koji(mold cultivated on rice) that they use in fermentation and the methods of distillation. Ask your bartenders about the differences of each shōchū to discover one that matches your palate.
If you normally like to drink vodka or tequila, try to drink “Genshu（原酒）” straight or on the rock.
Genshu is a pure shōchū that is not mixed with any other liquid or flavors after distillation. It usually has richer aroma and flavors, and contains over 36% alcohol when regular shōchū contains only 20% to 25%. Surprisingly, it goes well with chocolate or even with ice cream as well as with savory food.
Another joy of traveling to Miyazaki would be meeting the locals that live there.
There are a few cozy micro breweries in the city where you can try their fresh handcrafted beers on tap. They welcome anyone regardless of who you are or where you come from. People casually swing by to relax and have fun with friends, colleagues or with someone who happens be there.
Most of the tourists or immigrants to Miyazaki say that people in Miyazaki are extremely friendly, merry, and kind. You can easily get along with anyone in Miyazaki, especially at casual drinking places.
People in Miyazaki started to enjoy more foreign social activities. There are some bars in the city that often provide opportunities for foreigners and locals to meet each other.
You can casually drop by one of those welcoming places to enjoy socializing with various types of people in Miyazaki. Enjoying great drinks and fun activities can always bring our hearts closer together.
This article was written in January 2023.
Some photos used in this article were taken at an earlier date.