Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enjoying OKINAWA!

It is an undisputable fact that Okinawa is a part of Japan, however, many of its cultural aspects are unique to the islands. Today, I will introduce to you some of the most popular food items that originate from Okinawa. Without knowing these before heading there, you are going to miss out on many enjoyable experiences!

Goya Chanpuru – Chanpuru in the Okinawa dialect means to mix, and while there are some other types of chanpuru delicacies available in Okinawa, Goya chanpuru is the most famous. This is a typical home-made dish that is enjoyed by many families in Okinawa. Goya means bitter gourd in Japanese and is a lumpy cucumber-like vegetable. It is fried with tofu, eggs and pork, so it is a very easy to make this meal! Some people dislike the distinct bitter flavor of the Goya, but it is definitely worth trying!!

Awamori – Another unique Okinawa specialty is Awamori, which is sake (Japanese alcohol) made of fermented Thai malted rice. What sets it apart from regular Japanese sake is that it is not created using Japanese rice and its alcohol percentage is a high 30 percent! That number is nearly double the percentage of nihonshu (Japanese sake). This hard liquor has been enjoyed by the people of Okinawa for ages, and there are many different types of Awamori, so why not try and take a sip?

Okinawa soba – This is also a famous specialty food of Okinawa’s. Noodles used in Okinawa soba are made from 100 percent flour and are unusually thick. Normally, you cannot call noodles "soba" unless more than 30 percent of its ingredients are soba powder, however, Okinawa soba was specially acknowledged as soba. A popular type of Okinawa soba is called "Soki Soba," which is basically Okinawa Soba topped with large pieces of boiled pork.

All of these dishes can be enjoyed in Kokusai Street, which is located in Okinawa’s Naha city. This 1.6km-long road is full of souvenir, food and clothe shops, making it a must-visit area for tourists. I’m sure you will definitely enjoy Okinawa when you visit, but trying these delicacies are sure to make your trip even more exciting! Enjoy!

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