Showing posts with label Food and Restaurant Guides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food and Restaurant Guides. Show all posts

August 12, 2013

Okinawa Review - FamilyMart

All About FamilyMart Convenience Stores on Okinawa

Have you ever been exploring Okinawa when you discovered you were hungry or thirsty? Or perhaps you have seen the small stores with white, green and blue markings and a big FamilyMart sign and wondered what could be found inside.

You might even have no idea what FamilyMart is, so no matter your level of knowledge, here you will learn about FamilyMart, what they have to offer, and a general review of the service and quality provided by this Japanese store.

About FamilyMart

review and information okinawa familymart
FamilyMart view of front doors
FamilyMart is a Japanese Convenience store chain based in Tokyo, Japan with stores all over Japan, and even many other countries in Asia. They also have about 10 stores in the US.

There are several different convenience store companies in Japan, including Lawson, 7Eleven, CoCo and others. But we will focus on FamilyMart here.

You can find FamilyMarts in many locations all over Okinawa. They are often on busy streets or street corners in plain view and with at least some parking.

What You Can Find at FamilyMart

FamilyMart has a surprisingly wide variety of items for such a small convenience store. They primarily have food/snacks and drinks.

Foods Commonly Found in FamilyMart:

  • Fresh breads - a wide assortment of breads are usually available
  • Onigiri, bento's and other Japanese foods
  • Pre-packaged hamburgers, sandwiches and similar items
  • Desserts - custerds, pudding and other sweet treats
  • Snacks, chips, cookies, candy, many other Japanese snacks
  • Fried foods - Variety of fried foods available at the counter, (ask for Spicy Chicken!)
  • Instant foods like Ramen and canned foods
  • Lots of other options, so wander around and try new things
Besides plenty of food choices, FamilyMart will typically have a great selection of drinks and even ice creams to choose from. They have sodas, tea, sports drinks, dairy drinks, coffees, other kinds of drinks, and alcoholic drinks.
review of Family mart okinawa
View of the many drinks available in FamilyMart

FamilyMart doesn't stop at just food and drinks though, they also have newspapers, magazines, manga, personal hygiene products, household products and sometimes seasonal items like fireworks. 

Copy machines and ATM's are also usually available in FamilyMart, along with postal, bill pay and ticket services.

Truly they pack a lot into these small stores, and you may be surprised at the things you can find in them.

Now, let's look at a review of FamilyMart's service and quality

Review of FamilyMart - Service and Quality

At FamilyMart, as with most Japanese service busninesses, the workers are polite and efficient. They are quick to help or answer questions, and will usually smile if you try using some Japanese words.

For those who might not know much or any Japanese, don't worry! The workers are generally very understanding, and will show you the final cost of whatever you are purchasing. 

The facility itself is usually very well maintained with a lot of pride taken by the workers in keeping it nice. Bathrooms are available, and almost always clean and easy to spot when in a hurry.

Overall, FamilyMart is a wonderful part of Okinawa that must be enjoyed and explored like the rest of the island. Try dropping by a FamilyMart and pick up lunch sometime. You will be surprised at how good it is, and even how reasonable the cost can be.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about FamilyMart and what it has to offer. Leave a comment with your thoughts or questions!

Visit some of our other recent posts, such as our Guide to Hiking Hiji Falls or our Guide Buying and Selling on Okinawa.

June 4, 2013

10 Important Sushi Tips - The Sushi Etiquette Guide

Tips for Eating Sushi in Japan

Japan is a very traditional culture with many, many cultural actions based on traditions from hundreds of years ago. Japan is known for many things, and one of the biggest is sushi. But with most aspects of Japanese life, there are certain traditions and etiquette that should be followed when enjoying sushi

sushi etiquette tips in okinawa japan
Learn more about Sushi!
Okinawa is slightly less traditional compared to the rest of Japan due to its geographical separation and large American influences, yet one will find plenty of places to eat sushi, and proper etiquette is important.

For Americans or other foreigners living or visiting Okinawa, here are some sushi etiquette tips to help you make your next meal of sushi enjoyable and respectful.

Who should learn about sushi etiquette? anyone who might eat at a sushi restaurant should learn the proper actions so as to present a good image. Now, let's get to some tips to make your next sushi adventure more enjoyable.

10 Basic Sushi Etiquette Tips 

1. When entering a sushi establishment, indicate the number of people in your group by saying it in Japanese, or just by holding up the number of fingers (in some places, you may be expected to simply find your self a seat, either at a booth or at the sushi bar). For a group of four, you would say 'Yo-nin' (yoo-neen) or hold up four fingers.

tips for eating sushi in japan
How to Hold and Use Chopsticks
2. A small container of soy sauce should be at your table or provided with your sushi. Pour a small amount into the small shallow bowls also provided with the sushi. Don't put too much in your dish, it is considered rude and wasteful. If you enjoy wasabi, the green stuff (like horseradish) that comes on the side of most sushi plates, add some to your sushi, but don't mix it in the soy sauce.

3. Sushi can be eaten with either chopsticks or with your fingers, but never use your chopsticks to spear your food. If you don't have experience using chopsticks, practice at home. It is not polite to ask for silverware unless it is common at that restaurant. It is also rude to rub your chopsticks together, it suggests low quality chopsticks.

4. When eating your sushi, dip the fish, while trying to avoid dipping the rice in the soy sauce. This is because you don't want the rice to fall apart in the soy sauce.

5. Always eat the sushi in one bite, don't try cutting it into smaller pieces.

6. If you happen to also have other food such as a bowl of rice, never stick your chopsticks straight up into it. This is done only when presenting food for deceased ancestors. Either lay your chopsticks on the side of your plate, or resting on a chopsticks holder.

10 tips for eating sushi
Love Sushi? Get a Sushi Kit!
7. If you are also enjoying a bowl of soup, such as miso soup, it is OK to hold the bowl to your mouth and drink from it. You may also be given a spoon to use, which is fine.

8. When taking sushi from a common plate at the table, use a pair of serving chopsticks to put the sushi on your plate. If there are no serving chopsticks, use the back end of your own chopsticks, which should be clean.

9. Always be respectful of the other people eating at the sushi restaurant. Avoid speaking loudly or making too much noise. Bring a smile with you and be sure to learn 'thank you' in Japanese to use as often as appropriate. ('Arigatou' is thank you - ah-ree-ga-toe)

10. Have a good time and enjoy the food. In general the Japanese, especially those on Okinawa, are very forgiving of foreigner's mistakes, as long as you are trying to follow the etiquette. Even if you don't pronounce 'Arigatou' (thank you) correctly, it will usually bring a smile if you try.

Helpful video explaining more on eating sushi in Japan:

See the video above for more tips and helpful information. And remember, most Japanese or Okinawan people would love to help teach your words or proper etiquette if you ask them politely. 

For more on Okinawa, check out our Best Places to Live or the Top 10 Things to Do in Okinawa

Leave a comment below with questions or your experiences, and be sure to share this with those who might be visiting Japan!

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.

June 13, 2012

CoCo's Curry on Okinawa - The Best Restaurant Ever

CoCo's Curry is the Best Restaurant Ever.

I am not joking, there is something about CoCo's that creates insanely dedicated fans.
For those who might not know, CoCo's Curry is a curry restaurant chain located throughout Japan and a few other locations worldwide. At CoCo's, they serve large plates with rice and curry sauce, as well as any toppings you might want. Everything is customization at CoCo's; you can choose the amount of rice you would like, from 200 all the way to 1000 grams. You get to pick how spicy the curry should be, from mild to level 10. And you can also choose from a wide variety of things to put on top, from my favorites of cheese and chicken cutlet, to the somewhat stranger octopus and quail eggs.
Best Restaurant Ever
CoCo's Curry House by vogelokinawa

The restaurant itself has some slight similarities to an american diner; most seats are booths, with several stools at the counter. The Japanese waitresses are usually very accommodating of Americans who don't speak any Japanese but gesture at pictures on the menu.

The price is also very reasonable for most meals, with a plain plate of curry running about $7 with the current exchange rate. If you add a few things, such as cheese and chicken cutlet, it will be around $10.

CoCo's Full name is CoCo Curry Ichibanya, translated CoCo Curry number one restaurant.

Why do people love CoCo's so much?

Well, that is a very good question, which can can't answer for everybody, but will try to answer for myself at least. Before I go into that, let me share a story of a friend who really liked CoCo's Curry.

This friend was set to return to America for good in about a week, so in that week he had left in Okinawa, he went to CoCo's 22 times. Yep, he went every day, three times a day, and four times on the last day. I hope that gives you a little picture of how fanatical some people are about CoCo's!

I love CoCo's because it tastes so good. I can't guarantee you'll love it, but you should try to let it grow on you. after all, it is the best restaurant ever.

CoCo's Curry is located throughout Okinawa, and much of Japan. If you are on Okinawa, just ask around and you are sure to find people who know about it. There are several CoCo's scattered around the main military bases such as Kadena and Foster.

CoCo Curry House website