For some Starbucks fan, visiting Seattle means getting a latte from the original Starbucks shop. For some fans of chicken wings, visiting Nagoya means beers and loads of wings from the Yamachan honten (the original shop), at least that was what hubby's colleagues, H. san and A. san said. They both are fans of the chain and were eager for us to have a taste of the famous wings at the very first shop where they rose to fame. Wings? Do you really have to ask? I was all in ^.^
Yamachan honten's signage. Their mascot is actually a cartoon of their CEO. Isn't that hilarious? They literally put his head on everything, from the napkins to the beer pints to the plates. They even had sheets of puzzle games, like find the 7 tiny differences between 2 pictures or connect the dots, etc., all with his face on it! LOL!
Yamachan is a chain of izakaya famous for their chicken wings even though they have a rather large menu full of small dishes and appetizers meant to accompany drinks. The wings are not battered, fried to a crisp, then tossed in a sweet, savory, and peppery sauce that's on the dry side and are surprisingly spicy. The results are simply delectable wings that are just a joy to bite into and chew on. I was totally hooked from the first bite xD Spicy food is not common in Japan (my Korean friends carry their own tubes of spicy paste in their bags, enough said), let alone spicy wings. More, please!!
And of course, discussing the topic of Yamachan H. san and A. san did not exclude a mentioning of Furaibou, a rival chain of izakaya also famous for their wings. Furaibou's wings are also fried un-battered then tossed in a honey glaze (I think it's honey ^.^) then sprinkled with sesame seeds.
I was curious to try Furaibou too, especially after both H. san and A. san dismissed them outright as being the lesser of the two chains. Oh the rivalry, funny funny! The next night, hubby and I ventured out on our own, starting with a different Yamachan branch. I do believe that in most cases, the original location does it best so I thought it would be unfair to compare wings from the Yamachan honten with wings from a Furaibou branch shop. So we just randomly picked a Yamachan branch closest to our hotel, then moved on to a Furaibou branch, also closest to our hotel.
The winner? Yamachan, hands down. The Yamachan wings were crispier, the meat inside was juicier in addition to being more flavorful. Furaibou's sauce was a tad more "wet" than Yamachan, so their wings weren't as crispy on top of being a bit...bland. If you're a super taster, you might think the Yamachan wings are too flavorful and may opt for the Furaibou wings instead. But not me. I definitely prefer more flavor-packed Yamachan wings :P In fact, I'm already planning another trip to a local Yamachan branch in Yokohama ^.^