Okinawan food is diverse and health-giving. The Okinawa Islands are an island group in Okinawa Prefecture, in south-western Japan.
They are part of the larger Ryukyu Islands group. The Okinawa Islands have a subtropical climate, supporting the production of sugarcane, pineapples and cut flowers.
Goya Champuru and Okinawan Soba
Okinawan cuisine and dishes, include goya champuru (bitter melon stir fry), fu champuru (wheat gluten champuru), and tonkatsu (tenderized, breaded, fried pork cutlet).
Okinawan soba is the signature dish and consists of wheat noodles served hot in a soup, usually with pork (rib or pork belly). This contrasts with the mainland soba, which is made from buckwheat noodles.
Rafute, braised pork belly, is another popular Okinawan dish. The military bases of the United States in Okinawa Prefecture are located on the Okinawa Islands.
American presence on the island has also led to some creative dishes such as taco rice, which is now a common meal served in bentos, and common use of Spam. You can spot tins of Spam, alongside some Tulip luncheon meat, in the film below.
Bingata are traditional Okinawan dyed fabrics that were used to make dance costumes during the Ryukyu Kingdom period. Characterized by bright primary colors as befitting a tropical island, the fabric is now used for many gifts including hand towels and wrapping cloths.
Okinawan Food & Goods Market
I was walking through Harborland in Kobe and came across a popup Okinawan food and goods market.
Reflecting Okinawa’s sun-kissed subtropical climate, this market was a riot of colour.
Foods for sale included the American imported Spam alongside more traditional foods. There was a few stalls selling traditional wooden toys and hand carved utensils, as well as bingata cloth made in Okinawa.
Have you tried any Okinawan food? Let me know what you thought of it by leaving a comment below…
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