Chicken House brings new kind of bird to Okinawan town
Move over KFC. A local favorite – boasting classic flavorful herb-roasted chicken – aims to get taste buds astir along Chatan’s Sunabe Seawall.
The aptly named Chicken House opened its second location in Sunabe near Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster last summer. Like its first in Naha City, it prides itself in using only locally raised chickens from Okinawa.
Unlike the colonel, this eatery boasts birds that are organically raised and delivered fresh daily – never frozen. Bird so healthy you could feed it to a baby. Well, at least a kid. In fact, the Chicken House’s motto is, “Our specialty (is) kids-friendly herb-roasted chicken.” But they strive to make it tasty for grownups, too.
An entire day of preparation goes into making this chicken, according to Manager Takuji Tamaki.
“We apply herb and spice in between the skin and meat, then give it all a good rubdown and let it sit overnight so the flavor seeps into the chicken,” says Tamaki says. “It’s a long process, but the result is a very rich taste.”
The chicken is then slow-cooked in a specially ordered Fire Truck Red Roaster, he adds.
The most popular dish here is chicken over rice for 880 yen (about $8). The dish consists of strips of roast chicken on rice all topped with yogurt sauce. The combination of rice, juicy chicken and fresh yogurt has been winning many Sunabe fans, according to Tamaki.
“I had one American customer who came here for five days straight to eat our chicken over rice,” he says.
The Chicken House’s specialty, roast chicken, comes in quarter-, half- and whole-bird portions, served with a side of rice, veggies or bread. Take out is also available. And unlike its sister shack in Naha, the Sunabe location is open from 8 a.m. for breakfast so people can stop by after a morning workout along the seawall.
The restaurant is in the small food court complex in front of the seawall, which also houses a bagel shop, meat ball eatery and café. It offers quaint seaside dining for up to about 30, including terrace seating with an ocean breeze. This cozy American-style food court has long been a favorite of U.S. military members and other Americans.
“About 80 percent of our customers are American,” says Tamaki, adding that it’s both a compliment and a testament to the Chicken House’s success. “I am glad to have so many repeat American customers because roast chicken is an American dish so they know what good roast chicken should taste like.”
The Chicken House’s smoothies and coffee are also some of his customer favorites, he says.
So if you’re hankering for chicken that’s not only finger-licking good – but good to the bone – check out the Chicken House. Chances are you’ll be more than glad you did.
Address: 1st floor of Hotel Sunset American, 2-46 Miyagi, Chatan, Nakagami-gun (center of Sunaba Seawall)
Hours: Thursday-Tuesday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.