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Okinawan cuisine

About Okinawan cuisine

Okinawa is the subtropical islands between mainland of Japan and Taiwan.
The ingredients of Okinawan cuisine are somewhat different from the mainland, because Okinawa has warm climate and own history.

Unique vegitables are used, but kinds of mushrooms are used little.
Though the islands are surrounded by sea, there are little dish of fish. Alternatively pork is used much.
Few spices and condiment are used despite subtropical area.
Seaweeds are often used. Not only the seaweeds in the close sea but also konbu from Hokkaido is the very important ingredient.

The cooking method is mainly stewing, frying and deep-frying.

The cuisine has evolved in modern times, especially because of the American military presence in Okinawa since the end of World War II.

Pork dishes

Pork dishes are important Okinawan cuisine.
All parts of a pig are used for them. Except flavor of spices, Okinawan pork dishes may be almost same as Taiwan cuisine.
However, it is generally made by stewing for a long time and removing surplus fat. So it is not so greasy as you think.

Rafutee

"Rafutee" is a boiled pork dish, and it is thick cubes of pork belly stewed in a shoyu, dashi, sugar and awamori-based mixture.
It is the most famous Okinawan pork dish, and is served at the meat of new year or Buddhist service in Okinawa.

Tibichi

"Tibichi" is a boiled hands of pig. It is stewed in a shoyu, dashi, sugar and awamori-based mixture like rafutee.
Tibichi contains much collagen, so they say that it is good for health.

Mimigaa

"Mimigaa" is a boiled ear skin of pig. It is served after cutting into strips.
It is crunchy and it also conrains much collagen.

Nakamijiru

"Nakamijiru" is a clear guts soup. "Nakami" means guts of pig, and "jiru(shiru)" means soup.
It is made by boiling guts cut in rectangles, making clear hot soup with dashi and a little shoyu, and adding guts, shiitake mushroom and konnyaku to the soup.
Generally before eating, grated ginger is added.

Rafutee Tibichi Mimigaa
Nakamijiru

Vegitable and tofu dishes

Fried or stewed many vegitables are most popular dishes in Okinawa.
Unique vegitables are used, and harder tofu than mainland is also used.

Chanpuru

"Chanpuru" is the most popular fried dish that some kind of vegitables and hard tofu are mixed. Pork is often added.
Especially the chanpuru used bitter gourd (called "goya" in Okinawa) is well-known.

Nbushii

"Nbushii" is also basically fried dish. Generally juicy vegitable are used, and miso are added.
The nbushii used loofah (called "naabeeraa" in Okinawa), which becomes a vegitable sponge, is popular.

Irichii

"Irichii" is also fried dish.
Some vegitables, konbu or pork are mixed and fried. Then dashi and shoyu are added, and are boiled for a while.

Goya Chanpuru Nbushii Irichii

Other popular Okinawan dishes

Okinawa soba

"Okinawa soba" is the noodle of Okinawa. It is named "soba", but it is different from one of mainland.
The noodle is rather similar to "udon", and how to make it is similar to chinese noodle.
It is made by boiling the noodle and putting into hot soup flavored with dashi and pork.
Standard toppings are slices kamaboko (fish cake), chopped green onion, and a thick slice of stewed pork belly or boneless pork libs (called "soki"). And usually beni-shoga are garnished with.

Taco rice

"Taco rice" is the dish that taco, which is a traditional Mexican dish, is served on a bed of rice.
Genarally ground meat, lettuce, tomato, cucumber or cheese are added.
In the 1980s, it is invented by a restaurant near the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Hansen in Okinawa.

Okinawa soba Taco rice




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