Karaage (Photo: Ocdp / CC0 1.0)
Karaage (Photo: Ocdp / CC0 1.0)
- 2 min read

Regional Cuisine - Oita

A taste of some of the local foods of Oita


Despite being headlined by ubiquitous morsels of deep-fried chicken, Oita prefecture is actually a seafood lover's heaven. Unique tastes like a white flounder sashimi dish sourced from beneath a castle, freshly caught tuna marinated in sesame oil and sweetfish blended with fermented viscera are some of the many ocean foods that originated in the prefecture. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Oita.

Shiroshita karei

White flounder sourced from the waters beneath the walls of Yokoku Castle is known as shiroshita karei. A delicacy for generations, the white flesh can be cooked but is at its best when served as sashimi or chilled in ice. Flavoured with a hint of soy sauce and ponzu citrus sauce, shiroshita karei is excellent during summer.

Shiroshita karei
Shiroshita karei (Photo: Utan506 / CC BY-SA 4.0)


Said to have originated in a single restaurant in Oita, succulent portions of karaage fried chicken are now found right across the country. Juicy and addictive, karaage in Oita sees chicken pieces dipped in soy sauce, sake and garlic and batter before being deep fried. Served with fresh vegetables and a ponzu or kabosu citrus sauce, fresh karaage is a bite of heaven.

Karaage (Photo: Norio Nomura / CC BY-SA 2.0)


Tsukumi City is known for its tuna and hyugadon is the perfect result. Here, slices of tuna are marinated in sesame oil before being served on a bed of steamed rice. Now one of the region's signature dishes, its original simplicity saw hyugadon served as a fisherman's meal that was easy to prepare, as well as being healthy and delicious to eat.

Hyugadon (Photo: 大分帰省中 / CC BY-SA 4.0)


Making use of salted ayu sweetfish, uruka is usually made with salted and fermented viscera. Enjoyed as a complement to a drink of sake or as the ingredient to kick start any number of other dishes, uruka's flavouring can be compared to cured anchovies but with an altogether unique texture. For those who latch on to this acquired taste, they rarely ever let go.

Uruka (Photo: 大野 一将 / CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Sander van Werkhoven 3 years ago
Uruka seems somewhat similar to shiokara? That's a taste I still haven't managed to acquire yet....
(though I keep trying....)

Those other three all look fabulous though.
Sleiman Azizi Author 3 years ago
I'm a big fan of shiokara and uruka is basically shiokara but made with ayu sweetfish.
Kim 3 years ago
Hard to go past karaage!
Sleiman Azizi Author 3 years ago
Hard to disagree.
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