Culinary specialties of Okinawa 沖縄料理
The centenarian kitchen
Vegetables and seafood have made the Okinawan diet world-famous for its health benefits and influence on life expectancy. It's no coincidence that Okinawans are known for their longevity with many centenarians...
The islands of Okinawa are blessed with a humid subtropical climate favorable to agriculture. Here's an overview of the ingredients and culinary specialties of the archipelago.
Riches of the sea... but not only
Archipelago requires, Okinawa gives pride of place to seaweed and fish, both reputed to be good for health, but also to vegetables and tropical fruits. More surprisingly, pork meat, not known for its nutritional qualities, is one of the main ingredients of Okinawan cuisine. However, in traditional cooking methods on the island, the pork is simmered for a very long time and its fat is skimmed off as it cooks, making it much less fatty.
Read: Japanese vegetables
Seaweed and spices
Among the products most beneficial to health, grown or fished in Okinawa, let us note: turmeric, goya or bitter gourd - a gourd resembling a grainy and extremely bitter cucumber, tuna or even umibudo, the "sea grape", a seaweed so called because it comes in tiny green clusters.
- The Chanpuru
It is a mixture (champuru which is pronounced "champoulou", which would be derived from the Malay word campur, meaning "mixture") of goya, bean sprouts, and other vegetables, with tofu and pork that the sauté in oil.
There are also somen chanpuru, thin noodles served with chanpuru.
- Okinawan soba
Normally soba is buckwheat noodles. In Okinawa, where there is no buckwheat, they are made with wheat flour. These noodles are served in a clear broth made from pork bones and katsuobushi (dried and shredded bonito) with pieces of pork belly, fish paste, and minced spring onion on top. Soki soba is served with pork chops.
- Agu's Sumibiyaki
The agu is a black pig from the islands of Okinawa which, in the Sumibiyaki of Agu, prepared barbecue style.
These are large pieces of pork belly simmered for a long time in soy sauce and fish broth. This dish was part of the court cuisine of the Ryukyu kingdom.
- Kyutei Ryori
From the 14th to the 19th century, Okinawa belonged to the independent kingdom of Ryukyu. Kyutei ryori is the court cuisine developed at that time. It is served during festive meals. Consisting of a multitude of dishes, it perfectly illustrates the diversity of the island's products. Some of these dishes have been integrated into the family kitchen.
- Taco rice
The Okinawan version of tacos is a consequence of the presence of many American soldiers since the end of the Second World War. Mexican taco ingredients, such as ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa sauce are laid out on a plate of rice.
Finally, lobster, tuna, and many kinds of fish are also among the specialties of Okinawa.
Okinawan drinks and desserts
You can wash it all down with the local drink: Awamori, Okinawan rice wine with 30% alcohol content.
For a sweet snack, try sata andagi, Okinawa's round donuts made with cane sugar from the region.
Finally, enjoy tropical fruits such as the famous Okinawa pineapple.