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Jun 18, 2007 07:44 PM

Eating Sushi in Okinawa

I'm new to this area and I can only seem to find Sashimi and Nigiri. I can't find rolls of sushi anywhere.

Any suggestions?

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  1. First of all, Sushi is really a Tokyo-centric or Osaka-centric thing. Second, Okinawa has its own food culture, separate from the four main islands of Japan, and sushi as we know it really isn't an Okinawan thing. Finally, "rolls" as you may know them are really an American invention -- in Japan, serious sushi is not rolls. Though rolls do exist, they are usually simple (with the exception of Osaka futo-maki) and nowhere near the enormous production they are in the U.S. Do NOT expect Spicy Tuna Roll, Spider Roll, Monster Truck Roll, and White Guy Roll with Jalapeno Mayonnaise in Japan -- though a visit to Rainbow Roll or The Hump in Tokyo may get you some of that because these places have been opened to satisfy Americans who are homesick for these kinds of American sushi.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      I have no idea how true this is, but I heard in general the warmer waters surrounding Okinawa results in lower-quality fish for sashimi. Certainly it depends on the specific fish type but for the old favourites like maguro etc it seems to be better up north (hence the love affair with Hokkaido's seafood).

      1. re: Klimbim78

        I don't know if this is always true, but in my experience, raw fish I have had in the south, and in Okinawa in particular, has not been very good. However, every time I have had raw fish in Hokkaido it has been spectacular.

        In Okinawa, though, you can't beat the pork.

        1. re: Tripeler

          I'd heard the same thing about using local fish for sushi.

          Around the military bases (Koza/Okinawa City), or maybe Hamby Town (Chatan), you may possibly find a place catering to Americans that might serve something like the rolls served in the U.S., but I can't remember having seen one. Otherwise, sashimi/nigiri would be standard.

          And no, you can't beat the pork.

          1. re: Tripeler

            there is a place in hanby town that has sushi on a conveyor belt that circles the chefs...its rather neat , you grab what interests you and the prices are on the bottom of the plate. When you are done the waitress will come over with a scanner and zap the stack of plates for the price...very enjoyable

      2. Hi! The best place for "American sushi" in Okinawa is Yoshihachi in Chatan Town. On the walls,Yoshi has pictures of himself with countless celebrities... particularly Tiger Woods. Yoshi is a big golfer! They have many traditional sushi and izakaya foods, but their claim to fame is the extensive menu of specialty rolls. If I'm not mistaken, Yoshi also has a restaurant in L.A.

        I picked these directions up on the internet:

        Directions: From Kadena Gate 1, take a left onto Highway 58. At the second stop light, turn left onto Highway 23 and pass the Hammer restaurant and Eagle Lodge. Take a right just under the green overpass and you’ll see Garden Sorra Gallery on the left. Park at the community center (holds almost 200 cars) on the right before Yoshi’s. Don’t park in the street or you may get a ticket. Yoshi’s has red lanterns in front and is located past Hero’s coffee shop.

        Good luck, and let us know how you like it!!

        1. If you want American style rolls you will have to go to areas that are American heavy. Yoshi's is fine, but most people who really enjoy sushi will only go there once and then only when relatives come into town. :) Another place to go is Sushi Zen on the Sunabe Seawall--has a very heavy American base and here you will find the spicy tuna roll, spider roll, sunflower roll, etc. The Beach hotel (also Sunabe Seawall) has a rest. on the 5th floor that has excellent food and a few rolls --some more unusual than good. :) Good luck and enjoy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: travelnsarah

            After years of trial and error, I'd recommend Miyabi (several around the island but we go to the one in Shintoshin) for real Japanese sushi - not rolls, but if you ask for them you will get them. They are the "rotary" or kaitenzushi so you pick and choose, but we discovered that if you go off-peak when they don't put the made ones out, the quality is way better because they are fresh-made. Order off the menu (English available), same price Really excellent, and it's hard to get out of there, stuffed, for more than 1000 yen per head. Another similar place is the Yumangi chain, but the quality was not as good last few times we went to the one in Haebaru.

            And for you Tokyo/Hokkaido sushisnobs --- there are several places in Okinawa (different category from the above ones) that can go head to head with any of yours, and for a fraction of the price.

            1. re: Steveinjapan

              Seems when l was in Okinawa last month, the shellfish sashimi and sushi was awesome, but found selection and quality far less so for fish. No, only two or three places, but that is what l found. Inexpensive though you and great.