When it comes to beef we now know cows are not created equal. Especially not in Japan. There are special breeds such as Kobe Beef or Hida Beef that are much better than your regular beef and these command a much higher price than your standard beef at the supermarket.
When it comes to chicken, Nagoya Cochin is equal to Kobe beef.
This special breed of chicken is one of the best you can find in Japan for meat as well as its eggs, and dishes made from Nagoya Cochin command a high price.
In this post, I will give you more details on what Nagoya Cochin is, where it came from and what makes it so special.
I will also introduce to you the best restaurants to try Nagoya Cochin in Nagoya.
What is Nagoya Cochin
Nagoya Cochin is a special breed of chicken that has been bred since the Meiji Period some 160 years ago.
It was created by the Owari clan, then the ruling family in Nagoya, by crossing a Chinese Cochin chicken with the local breed found in the Owari territory.
The resulting meat, has a reddish color and is said to be rich in Umami flavor and has a good texture. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including Tebasaki (chicken wings), chicken skewers, Nabe (hot pot), and even chicken Sashimi.
Like Kobe beef, Nagoya Cochin isn’t your everyday chicken for daily consumption, and also here in Nagoya, where the chicken is bred, it is a special treat reserved only for certain occasions.
Not only the meat of Nagoya Cochin is special but also the eggs are said to be more delicious than standard chicken eggs. The egg yolk is a much deeper orange and it is said that it has a creamier texture as well. These eggs are used by chefs to prepare delicious Nagoya Cochin pudding for example but are also used in some of the best Oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice).
Where to Eat Nagoya Cochin in Nagoya
If you are looking for restaurants serving Nagoya Cochin in Nagoya, you should be prepared to pay a pretty penny.
Nagoya Food Tour
While Nagoya Cochin is not part of my Nagoya Meshi Food Tour where I introduce participants to the best of what Nagoya has to offer, you can request to try Nagoya Cochin when booking a Private Food Tour of Nagoya with me.
These tours are fully customizable when it comes to food, time, and the number of participants.
Check out this page for more details and send me an email with your booking request to firstname.lastname@example.org
My first encounter with Nagoya Cochin was at Torigin. A beautiful restaurant with excellent taste as well as a beautiful traditional interior.
Torigin has three restaurants in Nagoya, I visited the Torigin Fugetsu shop on the 8th floor of a commercial building in Sakae district. When the elevator opens it is like stepping back in time. The restaurant reminds of a traditional Japanese guest house or tea garden. With a Japanese garden stretching all the way along one side of a long central corridor.
The other side of the corridor is a big traditional Japanese room with rows of low tables on Tatami mats. Private rooms are also available if you prefer a more intimate setting for your meal.
We had the most extravagant meal Torigin has to offer with multiple courses. Starting with 4 different kinds of Nagoya Cochin Chicken Sashimi.
The highlight of the meal was the Nagoya Cochin Nabe, served in a big pot in the center of the table. Aside from the delicious chicken meat and chicken meatballs the hot pot was filled with Mochi, Tofu, Kamaboko, Nagoya Cochin egg, as well as greens. The Miso based sauce was so delicious we finished the whole pot, even though we were quite full by that point.
The last course of the meal was Hitsumabushi, the famous Nagoya-style grilled eel on rice, and I have to admit it was the only part disappointing about this high-end meal. What was I expecting having eel at a chicken restaurant? It is best to leave the preparation of eel to specialists.
I really wanted to try the chicken wings Torigin serves and so we ordered a serving in addition to our course. I was surprised by the size of the chicken wing, almost double that of Tebasaki I have had at other restaurants in the past. There wasn’t too much meat on them though. The flavor was excellent. It had a lot of natural chicken flavor.
Torikai is a restaurant specialized in Nagoya cuisine, especially Nagoya Cochin cuisine. With 10 restaurants located in Nagoya at central locations such as Nagoya Station, Kanayama Station, and Fushimi Station one of its restaurants will probably be not too far from your hotel.
Specialties at Torikai include their Tebasaki marinated in a red wine sauce with spices and a delicious Oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice) that has won The All Japan Donburi Grand Prix for three years in a row.
You can visit Torikai with your family and friends and enjoy your meal in a private room, but there are also restaurants that offer counter seats for a more casual setting and solo diners.
I recommend the recently renovated and modern Japanese Torikai restaurant inside the LACHIC shopping mall in Sakae district.
Yamamotoya is one of the most famous restaurants specialized in Miso Nikomi Udon. The basic version of Miso Nikomi Udon is Udon noodles served in a dark brown Miso based broth topped only with some green onion, Kamaboko, and a raw egg.
Other toppings are available and Nagoya Cochin is one of the most popular ones. This gives the visitor the opportunity to sample two Nagoya specialties in one dish.
You can find Yamamotoya restaurants all over Nagoya, there is one inside the Esca Underground Shopping Street on the west side of Nagoya Station for example.
Torishige is a restaurant that focuses completely on what the region has to offer. It serves not only pure-bred butchered-that-morning Nagoya Cochin but also uses ingredients, seasoning, seasonal vegetables and seafood from the Aichi region to create delicious meals.
A selection of local Sake is also available and the staff will happily help you find one that you can enjoy with your meal.
Don’t forget to try their Nagoya Cochin pudding for dessert.
If you want to try Nagoya Cochin on a budget you might want to check out Torishige Menya, a Ramen restaurant that serves Nagoya Cochin chicken Ramen. You can find one of their outlets at Parco close to Yabacho Station in Sakae district.
If you want to try the traditional Hikizuri Kululu is the restaurant to visit. Hikizuri is a version of Sukiyaki which uses chicken meat instead of beef. This hot pot dish uses a sweet and savory soup to bring out the full flavor of the Nagoya Cochin chicken meat.
The restaurant is specialized in Nagoya Cochin and also serves other dishes using special meat such as Nagoya Cochin Sashimi. Raw chicken meat from different parts of the chicken.
You also shouldn’t miss their Tebasaki or pudding made from Nagoya Cochin eggs for dessert.
Kululu is located not far from Nagoya Station. The restaurant has a traditional Japanese atmosphere in which you can relax and really enjoy the high-end Chicken.
Opening Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Weekends 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Address: 4-3-11 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 450-0002
Cafe Gentiane – Pyorin
At Cafe Gentiane at Nagoya Station, you can taste maybe the cutest form of Nagoya Cochin. A little chick-shaped dessert made from Nagoya Cochin chicken eggs called Pyorin.
I have to admit it wasn’t easy to take a spoon full of this adorable dessert and so my first taste was from the back. Pyorin consists of a tiny pudding wrapped in sponge cake. And even though it looks really cute the taste was average at best.
Pyorin comes in different seasonal editions, and when I visited I got the new year’s edition with a little piece of white chocolate reading 2020.
One Pyorin costs around 400 yen, depending on whether you eat in or take out and depending on the edition offered at the time.
Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Address: 1-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 450-0002
Final Thoughts on Nagoya Cochin in Nagoya
This is just a small selection of places where you can try Nagoya Cochin in Nagoya. While in general most places are high-end you can also find cheaper lunch options in many places.
The best way to get a real overview of the local cuisine and try delicious local dishes is by joining me on a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour. These tours run daily from 2:30 p.m. for 3.5 hours.
Travel in Nagoya is made easy with my Nagoya Travel Guide or if you read one of these posts:
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.