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May 26, 2010 01:24 AM

Naha, Okinawa recommendations - are there any?

I searched but didn't find much, and wikitravel is not the most reliable source.

Does anyone have any recommendations for Naha or the surrounding areas? It's my first time visiting, and I'll only have 2 days but I'd like to get some good ラフテー or something Okinawan and good.

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  1. i have been to okinawa only once and to be honest the food was so so. maybe because i went there with a large group of people and i did not get a chance to explore.
    but one thing that i love is shio chinsukou: salt flavored cookies. that was a hit among my friends. and you can easily find it even in the airport. and other famous thing, maybe sugar cane juice? also you may have heard about pig ear and leg...well my friends loved them. so maybe you can try...humm, that's about it.
    even though i went there only once i love love okinawa. beautiful place. enjoy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: yumyumyumyum

      There's a diner in Makishi market called "Hanagasa" that serves traditional Ryukan dishes. If you enter the main aisle, roughly across from Mitsukoshi off Kokusai-dori (look for a "Heiwadori" sign) and walk down a ways, on the left side you'll see the display case. The entrance to the restaurant is around the corner on the left. They have a lot of different combo lunches. The pic below has goya champuru with mozuki, genmai (you have your choice of white, brown or juushi rice), and nakami-jiru (pig tripe soup flavored with turmeric – but you have your choice of other soups). It has a real kind of greasy spoon vibe, but the food was good. When I told my cousin that's where I went for lunch, she went all misty-eyed; it was a favorite place to go when she was in college.

      There's a similar type place on the restaurant floor of Palette Kumoji. I don't know the name, but just look for the display case and the wagon wheels. I prefer their goya champuru to Hanagasa's.

      I'm sure you know about buying fresh items from the meat/fish market at Makishi and taking it up to the escalator to second floor to have it prepared. My Japanese is not proficient enough, so I didn't try it on my own (I went with a cousin), but we had some great seafood. Each of the restaurants has a hawker standing in front with a menu, so I'm sure you might be able to order from there, as well. Some time ago, someone wrote here about their experience. you might try a search.

      If you go up to Shuri Castle, the restaurant there actually has pretty decent renditions of local food.

      The MOS Burger at Palette Kumoji has an "Okinawa Rice Burger," with Spam & egg. I liked it!

      Do try some Okinawa soba. My favorite shop is in Gushikawa, in the central part of the island, but I'm sure those in Naha and thereabouts are equally good. Sanmainiku soba is a good way to get your rafute (like there's really a bad way!).

      There's lots of local specialties to try, so I don't think you have to worry about being bored with what's on offer. If you're in Japan, there's always those foodcentric travel magazines that might be worth a look. Even if you can't read them you can usually glean enough information to figure out where certain restaurants are.

      Good luck and have fun!

    2. Goya Chanpuru and Aged Awamori. Actually, that would be something to bring back...a nice 100 year Aged Awamori.

      1. Makishi market, although that probably is on your list already.

        1. My recommendation would be to skip Naha altogether and go to Ishigaki island instead.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Asomaniac

            Thanks everyone, I hope the trip works out. It looks like the flights are a little iffy, so perhaps it's Kusatsu instead.

          2. Here's a qualified recommendation: Pizza House. It's kind of a military institution, but I remember the food there was pretty good, in a time warp kind of way.