Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eating in Okinawa

Well, I guess I jumped the gun calling Brooke on in my last post (do you remember my last post? No? That's because it was so long ago). Now she has shown me. In an attempt to prevent her from changing the name of the blog to Brooke's Blog, No Court Allowed, I decided to go back and pull out some oldie but goodie photos and try and remember what they were of. Now I'm not just cursing Brooke for forcing my hand, but also myself for leaving this so long I won't be able to include the detail this should have. Oh me - I'm the worst! The above is from our hotel (The Westin) which ended up being very swanky. We got upgraded to VIPs thanks to our frequent use of airmiles for hotel booking and got a nice little cocktail hour every night. Don't mind if I do!

Naha, the capital city, isn't huge, and it really only has one main strip that is filled with all the major shopping, We only went to the main strip one night for dinner. It was like being at a carnival with carnies trying to lure you over to their booth, only here it was to their restaurant or bar. We wanted to try one of these BBQ type places where you pick your meat and then it comes and you grill it and eat it yourself with your sides. Tricky since no one at the restaurant spoke English and none of their menus were in English. FYI, Japanese isn't one of those languages where you can just pull out your translation book and easily translate (unless you are maybe very good at seeing subtle differences between characters). We pointed at one in the category with a picture of a cow beside it, and one that was pig. The beef is shown, and really they don't over hype what fat marbling like this is like. It is amazing. We didn't even know how to cook it with the BBQ thing, but it just melted in my mouth.

Once we realized that the food in Okinawa was so different from what we were eating elsewhere, we decided to really go in a different direction one night. We were hungry, it was late, and there was a very busy tapas place just down the block from our hotel. It ended up being amazing. They had no real English menu, but one that someone had roughly translated and written out on a piece of paper. We ended up getting a chef's choice sampler plate (sadly, here is one of the gaps in my memory, I'm not sure what everything was), an octopus and pesto salad, and a four cheese pizza which was so good we went back and had one each night the rest of our stay - even when we had already eaten dinner. I think one of the cheeses was something like a haloumi or kefalatari since it held its shape even though it was cooked, and it had that great saltiness to it.

Okinawa is a strange place. With the US troops having been there for so long, and with the distance from the rest of Japan, and the proximity to south east Asia, it ends up offering an unusual mix of foods. Here is what we had at the aquarium (P.S. If you go to Okinawa, definitely hit up the aquarium, it is unreal). I had a curry dog on a naan bun, and my husband had a local specialty - taco rice.

This dude made us dinner our last night on the island. This is a special kind of place there, and the guide book had a name for it. Too bad I don't even have the guide book anymore. It is a restaurant where various pig parts are all cooked up (look to the left and you will see where the parts are all cooking). Okinawa is known for pork. This dude also ran a hotel up above, and he spoke very good English and talked to us for pretty much the whole meal.

Okay, I realize this post is not my best work. I guess I should be better at posting when I say I am going to. Hopefully you will hear from me again before another month passes!


  1. Incredible photos - and information - I have been in a blogging slump, too!!! Posted about 4 times since Feb and read nothing until lately. Glad to be catching up! I have heard that eating out in Japan is about 200 per person per meal. You don't mention cost. How was it?
    YUMMY, I can see!!!

  2. I know, catching up can be so overwhelming. I have been looking everywhere for pictures from Eat Alberta since by the time I found a sitter it was all sold out. Well done you guys!

    There are definitely opportunities to spend big dollars if you want, but I was surprised at the amazing budget options. We generally only spent $20 or less per meal (plus booze). Our best buys were often under $10. Even vending machine restaurants have surprisingly good tasting food. Very different from the low end here.