Friday, September 12, 2008

nuchi gusui

The Okinawans have a saying "nuchi gusui" literally life's medicine. Eating good food, chatting with friends...

Here are some of the local foods we enjoyed while in Okinawa:

Bukubuku coffee--the Okinawan cappuccino. The original drink is called bukubukucha and is made with barley tea and whipped frothy with a big bamboo whisk. 500 yen (about US$5) at the Ryukyu Coffee in Naha.

Beni-imo mont blanc & chocolate swiss roll--both sweets were topped with a good portion of beni-imo (purple sweet potato) with choice of drink, 550 yen each (about US$5.50) at Kashigoten, Onna-son.

Okinawa zenzai--this is different from zenzai on mainland Japan. It is more like shaved ice with azuki beans. We had this at Aragaki zenzaiya in Motobu, a tiny shop that has only made zenzai for over 60 years! They raised their price from 200 yen to 250 yen (about US$2.50)this year due to oil prices...still very cheap!

Okinawa soba--we had this at Kishimoto soba in Motobu (a few doors down from Aragaki zenzaiya). We didn't hear about this shop through the guide books, we saw the line outside. This shop only serves Okinawa soba in large (600 yen about US$6) and small (450 yen about US$4.50). The pork that they serve on top is so tender and well marinated...delicious.

While staying at a minshuku (like a B&B), Sanyasou in Onna-son, we had dragon fruit salad and mango as well as many delicious local dishes.

Awamori coffee--I think the beans are roasted with awamori (Okinawa's alcohol beverage), gives the coffee a deep, rich flavor. We've also bought awamori coffee from Miyakojima.

Maguro (tuna) caught off the shores of Okinawa. This one was 24 kilos (about 50 pounds?) and was said to be able to feed 300-400 people! The hotel we stayed at had a "show" to watch the chef slice the maguro. They served the maguro for their all you can eat maguro buffet (Satoshi ate this and enjoyed it), 4000 yen (about US$40).

Kuruma-ebi (large prawn) at the Kuruma-ebi shokudo. They are farmed off Yagaji Island, an island near Nakijin. Tendon style 1300 yen (about US$13)--worth it! The tempura was light and crispy. Besides the 2 kuruma-ebi, there was beni-imo (purple sweet potato), kabocha (pumpkin), bell pepper & kakiage (which is a mixture of all sorts of veggies).

For filling out a survey at the Kuruma-ebi shokudo, we got this little package of ebisen (crispy wafers made from crushed kuruma-ebi. These would definitely be good with beer.

We found an acerola farm in Motobu, but were disappointed with the products they had for purchase, most were diluted, you couldn't buy 100%.

We also found a honey producer. The samples were delicious so we bought the ones that were made in Okinawa. (They had others that were blended with honey from China).

There were many un-manned roadside stands. This one was selling these bags of beni-imo (purple sweet potato) for 300 yen each (about US$3)! (How I wanted to buy a bag...or two. Payment was by the honor system.) I decided to look for smaller amounts.

This fried okinawan soba made a great beer chaser.

My relative had given me some of her goya (bittermelon), I shared some with Nate, but the one that I had kept didn't make the I took the seeds home, hopefully I'll be able to grow some for next summer.

"nuchi gusui"....enjoying life IS the best medicine.


Tamakikat said...

It's so Japanese having your photo taken with a big fish that you didn't catch but you are about to eat. I love it.

K and S said...

You are so right, Tamakikat :)

Take care.

Phoebe said...

the desserts looks delicious!!!

I miss Zenzai! Wow!! HUGE Raw Tuna?? Yum!

ooo you are going to plant the bitter melon seeds ;)

genkitummy said...

kat~ i'm so jealous! all the food you tried in okinawa look wonderful! the beni-imo desserts look delicious! Did they taste good?

Rowena said...

From your commentary, it sounds as if this was almost partially a booze cruise! 'Good with beer' and 'beer chaser' is music to my ears.

The roadside stand was the best. A few of those on Kauai!

K and S said...

Thanks Phoebe and Genki, the beni-imo desserts were delicious :)

Nah, no booze cruise, Rowena, though our week was a chance for Satoshi to have a beer everyday :)

Take care everyone.

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - Oh man, the Missus would go crazy over the beni imo....I've seen her put away 3 or 4 good size ones for a snack.

K and S said...

I think if I ate that many Kirkk, no one would want to be around me...too much gives me gas (TMI--too much info)...

Take care.

Anita said...

thanks for sharing your trip photos. they all look amazing! I love the montblanc with the sweet potato!

ila said...

wow, so much goods! i would love to try okinawa soba... sigh, and the awamori.

K and S said...

You are welcome, Anita :)

Yes the okinawa soba is a great dish, Ila :)

Take care you two.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I really want to go on vacation with you! ;-) Everything looks great and you got to try so much--what a fun trip!

K and S said...

Okay if you are in our area when we go on a trip, you're welcome to join us, Deb :)

Take care.

OkiHwn said...


Don't know if it's possible but can you give directions to the Kuruma-ebi shokudo? Maybe a pix of the ouside? Really looks like my kind of dish!

Anonymous said...

Wow, SO much good food in Okinawa! I would want to try...everything!! :)

K and S said...

Sure, Nate, I'll email you.

Lori, you gotta try to get to Okinawa :)

Take care you two.