Wednesday, September 10, 2008

american influences

The US military's presence in Okinawa is still quite visible today, even 60 something years after the war ended, they have several bases scattered around mainland Okinawa and you can also see bits of American culture here and there.

For one thing, Spam is readily available here--cheaper than what I pay for at the gourmet supermarket. The day I bought this it was on sale--195 yen (about US$1.95). As well, as corned beef hash 80 yen for a tiny package (about US$.80) and pork and beans 100 yen (about US$1). Oh and some American brands of toothpaste can also be found--I was actually looking for Colgate but bought this Aquafresh, we can get Aquafresh on mainland Japan too.

The drive-inn is still around in Okinawa. Drive up, park and order. They bring the food out and you eat in your car. I had to explain this to Satoshi as it was the first time for him to see this.

Drive-thrus can be seen here and there too. I was fascinated with this Starbucks drive-thru (sorry very blurry). I haven't seen any SB drive-thrus in Osaka.

A & W--we used to have one in Kailua when I was younger, I remember going to one after the 4th of July parade and having the baby burger with a frosty glass of root beer. (If I'm not mistaken they used to have a papa burger, mama burger and baby burger)

Anyway, I ordered the BBQ burger 220 yen (about US$2.20) A burger with an onion ring, lots of chopped onion and BBQ sauce on it. I really miss Southern BBQ sauce!

Satoshi had their Mozza burger (I think it was called this because of the mozzarella cheese in it) 400 yen (about US$4) And of course we ordered onion rings. Free refills for your rootbeer (I don't think mainland Japan has free refills of anything or anything free for that matter).

JEF burger is a Japanese company (JEF stands for Japan Excellent Food), but they have an American style drive-inn system. Their burgers are "healthy". Goya (bittermelon) omlettes in their Goya burger--282 yen (about US$2.82)

Add spam and cheese to the goya burger and get their Nu-yaru burger which means "what is this, exactly?" in Okinawan. 314 yen (about US$3.14)

Deep fried goya (bittermelon)--this stuff was super bitter! 252 yen (about US$2.52)

The portions are American sized. How is this iced coffee I ordered in Urasoe? The cup on the right is the "normal" serving size. This iced coffee was called "tappuri ice" or lots of ice....the cup was 4 times the normal size! 450 yen (about US$4.50)...had to go bathroom every 5 minutes...yikes!

Blue Seal/Big Dip (a subsidiary of Foremost)--you can find ice cream parlors and stands all over Okinawa. They have "okinawan" favorites like beni-imo (purple sweet potato) and goya (bittermelon). But I usually go for the mint chocolate chip as it isn't readily found on mainland Japan. We checked out the one in Chatan. Satoshi had the beni-imo and I had the mint chocolate chip. (260 yen each about US$2.60)

Tacos can also be readily found. Something that isn't seen too much on mainland Japan. An Okinawan version of tacos called taco rice can be found on menus all over Okinawa.

Everyone has their own recipe and style. We tried a taco pilaf (800 yen about US$8) and taco curry (800 yen about US$8) at a cafe in Naha...delicious.

Spam musubi---or pork musubi as their are called in Okinawa can be found in convenience stores all over Okinawa.

I tried two different types: spam, egg and tuna 210 yen (about US$2.10). Good but I was looking for the tuna....only found it at the last couple of bites.

spam, egg and abura miso 200 yen (about US$2). I think abura miso is made from pork fat and cooked with shoyu, sugar and mirin to get a thick miso-like sauce. I enjoyed this one best.

I really enjoyed seeing and tasting these bits of American culture in Okinawa.


Anonymous said...

I must (sheepishly) admit I enjoyed your post about what you ate in Okinawa more than your post about world heritage sights. The spam, egg, and abura miso musubi sounds yummy. And it was interesting to see the corned beef hash in one of those foil pouches. Did you notice any special flavors (like spicy or BBQ) of spam or did they just sell plain spam? I think a goya spam might be popular, lol.
As always, I enjoy your posts.

K and S said...

No prob Anon :) I think they did have different flavored Spam, but I think the original is best. Goya spam...hmmm :)

Take care.

ila said...

mmmm... spam musubi. sometimes I make it with the spam musubi maker I bought at mitsuwa.
did you know that Spam, canned "ko-n bi-fu" and canned "NEW ko-n bi-fu" are different!? The original is SPAM, ko-n bi-fu is a cheap knock off, and NEW ko-n bi-fu is made of horse meat (which makes it cheaper)!?

Debinhawaii said...

Very interesting and cool post. I loved seeing all the food. There was an A&W near where we lived for awhile in California. In addition to the Papa, Mama and Baby Burger, they had a "Teen" burger. Being the youngest by a few years, it was always my goal to be "big enough" that my Mom would let me get a Teen Burger like my brothers and sisters instead of a Baby Burger. (I think I was 6 or 7 at the time) Too funny!

Rowena said...

Of all the delicious eats, I am intrigued by the deep fried bittermelon the most! Did it come with a sauce or anything? (I guess 'cause it's triggering a reaction like how I eat onion rings with ketchup.) Never seen those in my life, and now for sure I gotta plant some next year! Nate made a stuffed bittermelon recipe some time ago, and it's still waiting to be tried in my kitchen. {sigh}

Lori said...

Glad to hear you were enjoying the food. Those onion rings and rootbeer looked good. We used to always get buy 1 get 1 free coupons for rootbeer floats at the Mililani A&W. Sadly we haven't received one in a while. Maybe I should just buy a 6 pack and make some floats at home! :)

OkiHwn said...

What kind Colgate you like?

K and S said...

Thanks Nate, no need to get me any, you gave me lots of omiyage :)

Do they still have an A&W in Mililani, Lori? If they do, I need to check them out the next time I'm home :)

No sauce Rowena, though if you wanted ketchup, you could have put some on top. The coating was thick like the one for onion rings. They thinly sliced the bittermelon and had lots of coating on it. The thick coating made it a bit easier to eat :)

I also remember trying to work my way up to a Big Mac, Deb.

Whoa, horse meat, didn't know about that one, Ila :)

Take care everyone!

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - I loved, is the burger still "healthy" after you add the Spam? ;o) I had heard that Taco Rice was a big thing in Okinawa, so it was fun checking that out. Thanks again for sharing the wonderful world of fast-food with us.

OkiHwn said...

My favorite omelet is the folded kind, like the mushroom/cheese omelet at Zippy's. But the ultimate is one with sauteed spinach/mushroom/garlic. There used to be a great one at a place in Kaneohe, now gone.

This is leading to my thoughts of making a folded omelet with sauteed goya and Spam as the filling. Maybe this weekend, typhoon permitting.

Anonymous said...

How fun! I won a SPAM recipe contest a few years back putting it in stuffed peppers.

Phoebe said...

OH I miss A & W!!!!

The foods in Okinawa are certainly different. Nevertheless! Looks delicious!

Hey Kat, I am not trying to test your Japanese but Gouya = Bitter gourd
and Goya = Bitter melon???

I didn't realise that the place you visited still have american products!

K and S said...

you know anything with spam added to it is "healthy", Kirkk ;)

can't wait to see the folded omelette, Nate (typhoon permitting)

wow! an award winning recipe, that is wonderful Candy! Congrats!

in Hawaii we call it bittermelon, Phoebe, not sure what they call it where you are :)

Take care everyone.

Phoebe said...

oh wow! bitter melon! I see!

I looked it up and here it says: Bitter melon, also known as balsam pear or bitter gourd.


K and S said...

I guess some places call it bitter gourd or balsam pear, Phoebe :)

Take care.

OkiHwn said...

One thing, the goya here in Okinawa is not really "bitter" like what there is in Hawai'i.

I remember my mother parboiling the bitter melon rings before stuffing them for "steamed stuffed bitter melon" - we called "fu gua", so us young folks would eat it. Not necessary with Okinawa goya.

K and S said...

The goya that comes from Miyazaki, the bulk of what is in our stores, is really bitter, Nate. Hopefully the next time I want to make some champuru the stores will have some Okinawan goya.

Take care.