(Shoji Kudaka)

In Okinawa, King Tacos is almost like a synonym for taco rice. The fact that the recipe was famously invented by Matsuzo Gibo, founder of the local fast-food chain, is a big reason. Plus, once you try their taco rice served in portions too generous to contain within a takeout box, you’ll keep coming back to King Tacos for more.

In fact, I could not remember ordering anything but this signature Okinawan taste there. However, I was surprised that King Tacos’ fried chicken is also drawing return customers for the chain.

In a recent episode of Bananaman Sekkaku Gurume, a Japanese gourmet food TV show, comedian Yūki Himura visited King Tacos’ branch near White Beach to sample chicken barabara. The funny name caught my attention because “barabara” means “random” in Japanese. The dish is barabara because the order comes with a mix of chicken portions.

(Shoji Kudaka)

Like King Tacos’ taco rice servings, the chicken barabara is a massive serving. Watching host Himura devour the crispy chicken made my mouth water, so I knew I had to try it.

I visited the King Tacos’ Nagata branch near MCAS Futenma. I ordered a five-piece box of chicken barabara for 1,000 yen (about $6.40) and four tacos for 800 yen to go. Since I’d just cooked taco rice at home earlier in the week, I opted for the tacos instead of their signature dish.

Since this wasn’t my first visit to King Tacos, I knew I should expect large servings. What I got was still surprising. The five pieces of chicken were chunky and the tacos were bursting with ingredients so much that the container lid couldn’t close completely.

As soon as I brought my food home, I dug in.

The chicken barabara’s crispy skin and soft meat along with its garlicky taste hit the spot. Despite this being fried chicken, the flavor wasn’t greasy. In terms of volume, the large pieces will definitely satisfy a big appetite.

Once I was done with a piece of chicken barabara, I tried a taco. The crisp shell had a delicate softness which helped hold the ingredients. The mixture of shredded lettuce, cheese, and tomato tasted just as good as it does on taco rice. With the crispy shell reminded me of a good old Okinawan taco I had when I was a kid, if not an authentic Mexican one.

I shared the food with my parents, who liked it a lot as well. Five pieces of chicken barabara and four tacos satisfied our stomachs and made our day. As we devoured the last morsel of our flavorful meal, we were already planning our next visit to King Tacos.

(Shoji Kudaka)

King Tacos near Camp Hansen

GPS Coordinates: 26.453284, 127.917277

Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Kingo Tacos Nagata Branch

GPS Coordinates: 26.26248, 127.76104

Free parking space is available at (26.264037, 127.760467)

Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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