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Jan 7, 2008 11:57 AM

Anyone on the board from Okinawa or going there?

I lived in Okinawa for three years and loved the food. Matter of fact, my wife is Okinawan. We live in Brooklyn, NY now, but I'd love to discuss Okinawan food and some places if anyone has ideas, etc.

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  1. What's are your wife's father's recommended awamori labels?

    1. Hi. I'm not from Okinawa but I grew up in Japan and now live in San Francisco area. Last fall when I was in NYC, I went to an Okinawan restaurant called "Suibi". Have you been there? I loved their goya chanpuru and other dishes there!

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        1. Silverjay, sorry to say my wife's father passed away before I met her, so can't offer much as to his fave labels. And unfortunately, I usually drank awamori at izakayas with fellow teachers and almost always ended up with Kume sen which I wouldn't really recommend. yoshika, I have been to Suibi in Manhattan. I thought the food was pretty good, I went with a group and had a chance to sample a lot of dishes. There was a sanshin concert there, so we had the whole Okinawa experience going. It's about as good as Okinawan food in Midtown could be I think. A friend of mine who went with me to Suibi is from Hawaii and said the food is better and cheaper there.

          1. re: JSHAFT78

            I've just finished snacking on some Okinawan black sugar candy we picked up at a regional foods type of fair in Tokyo last week. I had just eaten ika-meshi, a tasty, savory treat from Hokkaido, for my main dish. So my meal covered the entire archipelago I guess....Besides lots of black sugar snacks, I also picked up some shiquasa-koshou, and mix for Okinawan donuts... I had soki soba at a recommended place in Shinjuku the other day. It was good. I looked into traveling to Okinawa for the New Year's holiday, but plane fair from Tokyo was ridiculous. Okinawan food seems to be enjoying sort of a boom in Tokyo these days (totally different from the Amuro-Okinawa boom from a few years ago). AND, awamori is appearing more and more on shelves and on restaurant shochu lists.....BTW, one of my shochu books mentions the "Kaneyama 30 Year" as an awamori of distinction. It's 43% and pure 30 year aged shochu (most awamori are blended with different ages). Price tag: 65,528 YEN for a 720 ml bottle. Hey! That's like the same price as a Tokyo/Naha round trip ticket...

            1. re: JSHAFT78

              JSHAFT78, I'm glad to hear you thought Suibi food was pretty good. I've always been fascinated w/ Okinawa and hope to go there within next couple of years. My good friend in SF area is from Okinawa and she likes to tell me about culture and stories when she was growing up there. Any recommendation of dishes to try in Suibi next time I'm there? I try to be in Manhattan 4-5 times a year.

          2. I lived in Okinawa for about 2 and a half years.
            Didn't appreciate the food enough while I lived there. Fortunately, I live in Tokyo so I can still find restaurants serving decent goya champuru, sata andagi, and orion beer if I'm really lucky.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tokyosalaryman

              I think the food in Okinawa really grows on you. I think some people come expecting the picture perfect sushi omakase or the ornate teishokus that so many people think of as Japanese and get put off. I was able to meet a number of artisan type Okinawans through my wife who made andagi from stratch or raised their own pigs for use in soba at their restaurants, etc, so I think I was lucky. yoshika, if you end up at Suibi again, I would get a main dish, but not the set. Instead, order some appetizers. You should definitely get rafute. I really liked Suibi's, although my wife's grandmother's rafute is the best ever. If they have a smaller plate of fu chanpuru, I think that's a good choice too. Or you could get fu chanpuru as a main dish I guess. But I would always get soba as my main dish, no way you can pass on Okinawa soba in my opinion. Get tebichi. The appetizer menu at Suibi is actually pretty big, I would pick some things you think sound interesting. Anything that isn't Okinawan is kind of a waste in my opinion since NYC has soooo many Japanese restaurants, but only one with Okinawan food.

            2. I miss soki soba! I used to visit Okinawa a few times a year (20+ years ago)--used to be my most favorite destination in Japan and wanted to move there (from Osaka).