In Tokyo, the weather of the month February is chilly and hard. We feel that the spring is still far away. As you may know, Japan’s area is long from North to South. It means we can find many different culture, climate etc, when we move within this small Far East country.
Last month, the owner of About Food in Japan visited Naha, the capital of Okinawa prefecture, Japan’s southern the most island. As a series of blog post, from today we will introduce local food and related spots in Okinawa.
The first post here is introduction. A bit more about Okinawa(沖縄) region,
Okinawa prefecture consists of over 360 islands within the area of 1000km East-West, 400km North-South the Pacific Ocean. The capital city, Naha is located on Okinawa main land. It is 1500km away from Tokyo and accessible by air.
The climate is in subtropical zone and the average temperature in winter season is 18 degree, much warmer compared with one in cities of Japan main land.
Situated between Taiwan and Japan main land, the Ryuku (Okinawa) kingdom was a prosperous for centuries as an important trading point. Because of such historical background and geographic characteristic, Okinawa has unique and different culture from other parts of Japan.
For the unique culture, food is also not the exception, of course. As the first introduction part of Okinawa, here we list-up local specialty food in Okinawa.
Pork meat is traditionally taken by local people and their local pork brand “Agu” is known as the top 3 best pork in the world with Iberico in Spain and Jinhua(Kinka, 金華) pork in China.
It can be served in many different style.
For example, “shabushabu”
Or one of the Okinawa’s most known specialty “rafte” (ラフテー、simmered pork)
The local people use every parts, even ear, face skin, of pork as food.Foot is also popular ingredient and called “tebichi” in local dialect.
Fried pork foot
Two well-known local specialty of seaweed are...
Umi-budo (sea-grape, as looked)
Often served with sour sauce at everywhere from local casual dining to hotel breakfast. The style is also widely available at supermarkets in Tokyo, while tempura is rare to be found out of Okinawa. Actually Mozuku tempura is one of the best local specialties for me.
We found different version tofu and its cooking way in Okinawa. Tofu in Okinawa has less water inside and because of that, the texture is harder. Hence it is often cooked and fried with vegetable.
Atsuage – deep fried local style tofu
Tofuyo – fermented tofu
This is really like “cheese”!! With strong perfume and good match with alcohol drink.
Peanuts tofu – also popular side dish here
You may know goya or nigauri (bitter ground). The most famous Okinawa dish is Goya-chanpuru (fried goya, tofu, vege and egg etc). It is so popular and surely available at restaurants specialized in Okinawa dishes in Tokyo. So..we did not take this menu in Okinawa actually, while we were busy and full with other dishes not available in Tokyo. Then sorry no photo!!
Distilled sake made from rice.
We visited a distillery during the trip and will report it on a further post.
Orion beer – Local beer brand from Ishigaki island available
at most of restaurants in the region.
On coming several posts, as a series of Okinawam, we will introduce food markets in Naha as well as some local restaurants etc.