Learn About Okinawa
Naturally, Okinawa’s mild climate and history of contact with other countries can also be found in the unique Okinawan food. For example, it is said that the roots of the various popular pork dishes began with pork introduced from China in the 14th century. Moreover, ingredients and cooking methods as well as the spirit of “Ishoku Dogen, Healthy Eating to Prevent Disease” were also passed on through exchange with various countries. In Okinawa, dining is regarded as “Kusuimun” (meaning “something which becomes medicine”) in the Okinawa dialect.
Ingredients of Okinawa
One of the most popular ingredients in Okinawan food is pork. For the pig, which is said to have been introduced from China to Okinawa, all parts are consumed from the head and tail to the organs. Pig’s feet, “Rafute”, or clear soup of pork tripe in the Okinawa dialect, and “Soki”, or spareribs in the Okinawa dialect, are famous. Okinawa’s original hard and large tofu “Shima-dofu” is also present in various dishes. Moreover, many vegetables including Goya (bitter melon) and Beni-imo (sweet potato), seaweeds such as Mozuku seaweed, Umi-budo sea grapes, and fish including Gurukun (Banana Fish) are also eaten.
Traditional Okinawan cuisine includes many soup dishes, fried dishes and boiled dishes all of which make the best use of unique ingredients such as Okinawa’s vegetables like Goya and Shima Rakkyo pickles and pork. Soups including the miso pork “Inamuduchi” soup and the stir-fried and vegetable, etc. “Chanpuru” dish, are famous dishes. There are many snacks as well. Typical examples are “Chinsuko” cookies and “Sata Andagi” deep-fried doughnuts which are said to have been introduced from China. Finally, the oldest distilled spirit in Japan “Awamori” is popular for its rich and mild taste.