- Main lore areas
Saga City, Ogi City, Kanzaki City
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Ochagai" or "Ochagayu" is rice cooked with tea. It is said to have originated as a way to save rice in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate, when Naomasa Nabeshima, the 10th lord of the Saga Domain, who was suffering from financial difficulties, issued a frugal and thrifty decree that "not even a grain of rice should be wasted. In particular, merchants who shared their houses with their servants served chagayu (rice gruel) for breakfast, which consisted of cold rice from the night before, tea made with freshly brewed and powdered tea, to cover the needs of a large number of servants. Later, it took root as a food custom mainly in the Ariake Sea coastal areas, and until shortly after World War II, it was also eaten at home as an everyday meal. However, with the rapid economic growth of Japan, the number of households cooking it declined. Today, it can be enjoyed at breakfasts at inns in the prefecture. Ureshino, which flourished as a post town along the Nagasaki Kaido Road, has long been famous for its hot springs and Ureshino tea, which relieves the fatigue of travelers. In Ureshino, "ochagai" (tea gai) is made using such Ureshino tea. Unlike white gayu, "ochagai" has a simple flavor and a refreshing aftertaste that is infused with the taste of tea. In summer, it is recommended to eat it chilled. Depending on the season, sweet potatoes may be added to make "imo-gayu" (sweet potato gayu).
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
This dish is eaten on a daily basis and was often served as a breakfast for servants, especially in merchant houses.
- How to eat
Wash rice and put it in a colander. Bring water to a boil, add Bancha (green tea), and make tea juice. Add the rice to the tea broth and heat. Alternatively, add cold rice and tea leaves in a bag to the hot water and simmer. Peeled and diced sweet potatoes are also sometimes added to add bulk.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Commonly made at home. Since the summer of 2006, inns and hotels in Saga Prefecture that are members of the Ryokan Association Youth Club have started serving it for breakfast as a local delicacy.