July 9, 2012

Okinawa Food: Okinawa Soba

Soba is a Japaneses noodle soup made throughout Japan. It differs in each region of Japan with different noodles and toppings. The Okinawan version is simply called Okinawa Soba and is available at many restaurants around Okinawa. Most restaurants will have not only Okinawa Soba, but also other mainland varieties, so be sure you ask for Okinawa Soba, and don't just point at the picture of noodle soup.

Okinawa Soba!
Okinawa Soba noodles are cooked in a broth made of a variety of ingredients including edible seaweed and pork. The broth is quite good, and very nice on a cold winter day.

Toppings for Okinawa Soba can very, but my favorite topping is boneless pork ribs. In Japanese, Soba with pork ribs is called Soki Soba. The pork ribs are almost always incredibly tender having been cooked for hours. 

There are many restaurants throughout the island of Okinawa that have Okinawa Soba, but my favorite soba restaurant is in the northern city of Nago.As one approaches Nago from the south, the road winds along the water until finally reaching the city. one of the first buildings on the left, (coming from the south) is a convenience store (either familymart or something), and right next door is the soba restaurant. You will know you're in the right place if it has long wooden tables in a large open room. Order and pay first, then grab a seat anywhere in at the long tables. 

Okinawa Soba is a great meal for almost any occasion, but it is especially nice in colder months or after a swim in the ocean. The aroma and flavors of Okinawa Soba are wonderful and relaxing. If you have not tried Soba, I hope you give it a shot!

July 2, 2012

Okinawa Food: Taco Rice is Delicious :

Taco Rice is a unique Okinawan adaptation of Mexican tacos. I don't know when Okinawans started making taco rice, or where it came from exactly, but I do know that taco rice is delicious, and you find it in Okinawa.
Taco Rice in Okinawa

For those who might not know what taco rice is, its actually very simple.

To make taco rice you use all the ingredients for regular tacos, such as seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, and sour creme (and anything else you might want to include), and put it over sticky Japanese white rice instead of on tortillas.

Taco Rice Van!
Taco rice is a very popular late night food and if you are looking to try it, many small restaurants and street stands pop up in the evenings selling the delicious food. Look for busy parts of town, or follow the smell with your nose, either way, you won't be disappointed when you try taco rice!

My suggestion is to try it at King Taco's, because that's the best place to get taco rice from. There are several King Taco's scattered around Okinawa, so keep an eye out while you drive around. Once you have tried taco rice, consider making it yourself. it is extremely easy, and makes a wonderful conversation starter with Americans who are unfamiliar with Japan.