background
Okinawa Food Guide

Okinawa Food Guide

By Odigo Travel | 2017-09-12 | 588 views
When in Okinawa, you will soon realize the cuisine is quite different from the rest of Japan and reflects a heavy influence from China, and in more modern dishes, America as well. This is due oth to its physical distance from the main island and its history.

Local Soul Food
American influence makes Spam - the canned luncheon meat -  a commonly used ingredient in many dishes. Meanwhile, the presence of locally grown vegetables that cannot be found on other parts of Japan are also abundantly used. Chinese influence can be seen in its pork dishes, stir-fries and noodle dishes.

Goya Champuru is a signature dish of the Okinawan islands, and is a stir-fry of egg, tofu, spam and “goya” (bitter gourd). The warm climate of Okinawa allows bitter gourd to grow all year round. “Champuru” means “mix”, and this dish has many variations, from Fu (wheat gluten) Fu to Papaya Champuru, made with green papaya.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jetalone/4861701938
Okinawa Soba is unlike the buckwheat soba on mainland Japan, and more like something in between ramen and udon. It is yellow in color but the texture is like udon. A common topping is simmered pork belly and some spring onions, with red ginger to taste.
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Okinawa_Soba_Yanbaru.jpg
Another soul food is Taco Rice, a dish that localized the Mexican taco that Americans brought to the islands by putting it on rice. It consists of ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce, taco shells and salsa on rice.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16197624091
Cool Treats
Blue Seal ice cream, a brand brought over by the Americans that then set roots in Okinawa, is a popular ice cream brand unique to Okinawa, and perfect to cool off on a hot day by the beach. Other local sweets include the andagi - a fried flour ball that is like a doughnut ball and comes in flavors such as plain, green mugwort or black canesugar.
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Dip_Makiminato.JPG
Image source: http://opencage.info/pics.e/large_16989.asp
If you like pork, try the Rafute, which is pork belly simmered in soy sauce and fish broth until it is melt-in-your-mouth soft.Pig ears are also a delicacy here, boiled, steamed or fried as snacks, and called the Mimigar.
Rafute_by_ayustety_in_Kanda-Jinbocho,_Tokyo.jpg 2.07 MB
Unique Drinks & Eats
A unique ingredient is the umibudo, which means sea grape, named after what the seaweed resembles. The little nodes are crunchy and taste of the salty sea. It is eaten on its own with some vinegar, or often mixed in a salad or topped on tofu.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tr4nslator/4003124468
Speaking of tofu, Okinawa has its unique type of tofu, called tofuyo, which is aged and extra fermented beancurd. The texture is like cheese but of a more pungent variety. Its origins are believed to be from China, and it is eaten on its own as a snack with awamori, the local spirit.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/preetamrai/1967389
Awamori is made from long-grain rice and fermented with a unique mould. It is often used in the cooking of local dishes as well. Chili peppers soaked in awamori called koregusu is often used as a condiment to noodles, champuru or fried rice.
Image source: http://photozou.jp/photo/show/302916/37803128
Under the influence of Awamori, meals in Okinawa are often accompanied by local song and dance, with the shamisen. If you head to a local izakaya, don’t be surprised to hear people breaking out in song and standing up to dance - do feel free to join them!
Related Articles

Okinawa World - A cultural amusement park

Okinawa World is the ultimate bundle of Okinawa culture.  The main attractions include Gyokusendo Cave, Kingdom Village, and Habu Park.Park entry varies depending on what parts of the park you wish to see. Admission is 1650 yen (all attractions)1240 yen (ca

City Guide: Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a city that will make you feel much more than the usual travel bug excitement. Being one of two atomic bomb drop sights from back in World War II, around 70% of Hiroshima was destroyed with a devastating number of lives lost which had grown by the

Average Food Expenses per Meal in Japan – All Meals Below 1000 yen

When traveling to the other countries, you will spend plenty of time to search, check and list down how much should spend on foods. Frankly speaking, many people consider Japan is one of the world’s most expensive country. Food is the second largest expenses p

}

1 Comments

  • Image
    this is japan
    2017-03-16 11:34:13

    Soki soba and taco rice are my favorite Okinawan foods! And Blue Seal is delicious! There's actually a location right here in Fussa, Tokyo!

Leave a comment