Garlic rotisserie chicken is Okinawa’s power food
Most of you who have taken a drive around the island have seen shops displaying rotisserie chickens frying on skewers in a restaurant window, but actually, those kinds of stores are not very common in Japan. Tourists visiting from mainland are usually surprised to see those restaurants that are plentiful throughout the island and easy to find.
Why? Because of Okinawan emigrants. Since 1899, plenty of Okinawans started to emigrate to places like Hawaii, and Brazil, Argentina and Peru in South America in search of jobs and better life. More than 70,000 had left by 1924. After the World War II, another wave of emigration took place and tens of thousands of Okinawans moved.
Then some of the emigrants started to come back to Okinawa, and opened restaurants serving rotisserie chicken that they called “Garlic Chicken” that was an immediate success among local people. That is the story why there are so many rotisserie chicken restaurants around Okinawa.
Of course, each shop has a different taste and their own closely guarded recipe to prepare the dish. One of the best known is named “Kokekokko House” meaning “Cook-adoodle-doo House.” This chicken restaurant has served a very special Garlic Chicken since 1983.
The restaurant uses only locally-raised chickens instead of imported ones from overseas or mainland Japan. That’s why the chickens are very fresh. They also only serve only chickens roasted on the same day. The chickens are fed herbs that gives them their basic flavor, they are very juicy soft.
The specialty of Kokekokko House chicken is the Garlic Chicken that many regulars swear are without peer anywhere. They blend a special garlic sauce to marinate the chicken and the result is outright heavenly!
When visiting the shop, the sweet smell of garlic permeates the air all the way to the parking lot making one’s mouth water even before entering the shop. The chickens turning on the rotisserie only increase the appetite!
The prices are very reasonable. A whole chicken costs ¥1,700 (¥1800 from Dec.1st) and is large enough to serve 2 or 3 people. A half-chicken costs ¥850. If the customer wishes, the chef cuts the chicken.
The menu also includes a Herb Chicken for ¥800 that is very good for salads and sandwiches, and for those who don’t like garlic – or have a meeting to attend the next day.
Most of the chicken dishes at the restaurant are sold “To Go,” although there are eat-in tables and Kokekokko serves chicken meals like Chicken Curry, Garlic Chicken Plate, and salad made mostly using Okinawan locally-grown vegetables. Of course, everything is available To Go.
As a special service, Kokekokko wraps “To Go” chickens in a special package that prevents any smell escaping into your car letting you save the aroma until you open the package. That’s why a garlic chicken from Kokekokko is also a popular calling present to any occasion. Gift box packages with a Japanese “noshi” (charm sticker) are available, too.
Delivery service is available to off-base locations island wide for an extra ¥790 fee, perfect for the coming party season!
Kokekokko House is located at 1-3-7 Kamiyama, Ginowan city (on Hwy330). It’s open 11:00~20:00 except Mondays and Japanese holidays. Christmas season is the busiest time for chicken restaurants in Japan, and if you want to get one on the Christmas Day, a reservation by Dec. 10 is necessary. Major credit cards are accepted. Their telephone number is 098-892-1600.