Haisai(Konnichiwa)! How About 5 Dishes from Okinawa?
“Haisai” means “Hello!” in Okinawan dialect.
Okinawa Prefecture, the most southern prefecture of Japan is a part of Japan, but has a unique culture that is like a mix of Chinese and Japanese culture. Different from the rest of Japan in language, history, music, dance, art and in this instance, food – here we introduce Okinawa cuisine which is a bit different from washoku, the traditional Japanese cuisine.
A Satisfying Block of Meat! The Soki Soba
Firstly, one famous dish is “Soki Soba”. This dish is seen in many places from the Naha Airport, which is the entryway to Okinawa, to privately operated eateries.
Its characteristics are noodles that do not use buckwheat flour, light colored soup as well as meat, kamaboko (fish cake), chives and red pickled ginger used as toppings.
The difference from the Okinawa Soba, shown in the photo on the very top is precisely “the type of meat used as topping”. Soki Soba uses a type of rib meat that id on the bone, which is called soki. On the other hand, Okinawa soba generally uses rib meat. …To make things simple, “Okinawa Soba that is topped with soki” is Soki Soba.
Sprinkle a seasoning made from chili pepper soaked in the Okinawan sake “awamori” makes the dish “masan” (means ‘delicious’ in Okinawa dialect)!
Jushi, Okinawan Style Rice Cooked with Meat and Vegetables
Jushi, which is an Okinawan style rice cooked with meat and vegetables can often be eaten as a set with the Okinawa Soba. The ingredients that are cooked in the rice are rib meat, konnyaku (jelly-like food made from konnyaku potato), carrots and hijiki (brown sea vegetable).
There is a type of firm jushi that is cooked thoroughly and a softer jushi that has more liquid similar to broth.
A Side Dish for Sake! Tofuyo, the Acquired Taste
This is one with a distinctive acquired taste. It is the tofuyo, tofu fermented with awamori (Okinawan sake). The flavor is reminiscent of the scent of Japanese sake, and the taste of tofu is barely present. Most people would either love or hate this dish.
The best way to enjoy it is to take small bites while drinking sake.
Useful Information on Tofu, the Star of Japanese food
The No.1 Recognized Dish? Goya Chanpuru
This is another famous dish. Goya refers to the bitter gourd, and chanpuru means “mixed up” in Okinawa dialect. The characteristics of this dish are that it includes the bitter gourd of course, but also tofu.
It is a well known Okinawan dish that has spread all over Japan.
Melt in Your Mouth Texture! Tebichi
Tebichi is in fact pig’s feet. The melting texture once you put it in your mouth is exquisite! It is said to be good for beauty as it contains a lot of collagen.
Okinawa has many pork dishes as it was influenced by Chinese cuisine. Other than tebichi, some famous dishes are “rafute” and “mimiga (pig’s ears).
How was it? The five dishes mentioned above; these are only a small part of Okinawan cuisine. Okinawa cuisine has dishes with many unrecognizable names, but they are all pleasant to the tastebuds, which will have you hooked once you try it.
If you have a chance to visit Okinawa, we encourage you to try the fresh fruits, sata andagi (sweet deep fried buns), baked snacks like chinsuko (a biscuit like snack) and other flavors that you can only try in Okinawa.
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