Onto Eating Japan part 2. If you missed part 1, check it out here. We love eating and eating here in Okinawa makes us really really happy. I'm so glad I married a food person. While he's always enjoyed eating quantities of food, over the past few years Aaron has really grown to also enjoy quality food. He's even admitted to people that we are kinda-sorta-food-snobs. Slutty, dirty, greasy food has it's place, but when food should be good, we expect it to be good. Truth.
Here are a few more examples of food we've eaten since arriving in Japan. More to come in future posts as well. We don't want to make you drool too much at any one time. We aren't liable for drownings.
While Mister Donuts use to be in the United States (is it still there anywhere?), it's now headquartered in Japan and is a crazy popular chain here. Think Dunkin' Donuts of Japan. But better, cleaner, and more fun to go to. The stores are much brighter lit, and like many pastry shops here, you serve yourself. You pick up a tray and YOUR OWN tongs, and go down a cafeteria style line picking out all the donuts you want. You continue down the line to the counter where you order a drink if desired and pay for your selection (getting it wrapped if you were taking them to go. The tongs are taken and washed - I love how clean they do things here. Oh, and there is a sink right in the restaurant for you wash and dry your hands for before and after you eat (I LOVE this.). The donuts here are a little different. They have character shaped ones (Hello Kitty) with impressive designs, square donuts, filled donuts, glazed donuts, etc. The one below was a strawberry icing donut, and it had the texture and consistency of a funnel cake. With icing on it. It was yummy!
Obviously seafood is the thing to eat here, so you're going to see lots of that in this Eating Japan series. But we don't just eat your typical sushi. There are tons of fish and shellfish that you can get a million different ways. On this particular day, I explored Umanchu Ichiba - the Itoman Farmers Market and some other places on the south end of the island. I think this is my favorite market I've been to so far, and although it's too far from my house to go often, I'll be sure to stop when I'm in the area. The market not only has your typical produce section (it's own huge building), but it has a seafood building center, a Okinawan products building center, and a green house. There are about a dozen restaurants and bakeries, outdoor food stands, and a meat shop. I picked up some produce and bought a couple of the largest oysters I've ever seen. I planned to eat them right there, but somehow through my poor Japanese communication skills, the guy packed them for me to go. He put the shucked oysters on a tray with a slice of lemon, placed a small bag of ice on top and then used shrink wrap to enclose the whole thing. Placing it in a bag, I paid, thanked him and headed off to find a nice location to eat my oysters. While eating them at the market would have been fine, I ended up driving to the most southern cape on Okinawa down little itty bitty roads not sure if I was headed in the right direction until I came out of the woods and into a small parking lot on a cliff over looking the ocean. Seriously, check out that view and that huge ass oyster!!! It was amazing and I'm glad I decided to picnic it on a cliff. Not to mention, the oysters were FABULOUS!!!
The day after we arrived on island, our friends took us out to lunch to a place that they had not been to either. It turned out to be a great recommendation from a stranger. Taj Okinawa, an Indian curry restaurant not too far from base is a pretty popular location, and for a good reason. Below is Aaron's lunch set, which I believe was a daily special of mutton and lentil curry, naan, salad, chicken tikka, soup, and a drink (Indian milk tea if I recall). You really can't beat the "set" meals they have at a lot of places here. All of this food cost 900¥ (about $9.00), and remember, no tipping! We've been here a couple of times, along with many of the other tasty curry shops in town, and I'm actually going again next week for a squadron spouse lunch. I think I'm going to try ordering off the menu this time, and maybe get a different type of giant naan. Mmmm...naan.
At one of our favorite kaiten-zushi aka sushi-go-rounds in Awase, I always get this dish. For about $2.00 you get 2 large pieces of salmon over rice layered with very thinly sliced white onion and green onion. I may or may not order multiple dishes of this. There's a location near the ferris wheel in Chatan also, for those of you in that area. I've already done 2 posts about sushi go rounds, here and here, so I don't think I need to tell you again how much we love them. We really like sushi go rounds. Some days we just get a couple of plates and try to stay under a certain amount of money. Other times we agree that it will be our only meal of the day and we see how many plates we can stack up. If you're curious...it's a lot. A real lot. Trust me.
I am loving all of the beverage options you have here. At most restaurants you'll have the choice of coke, hot and cold varieties of teas and coffees, Orion or Kirin beer, and a variety of juice such as mango, guava, and below is a picture of acerorla juice. I had never heard of acerola juice, but it was very delicious and served in this super cute square glass.
Another meal out when we first got here was at Kajinho or as it's better known, Pizza in the Sky. It's an accurate nickname for this place as it is located on top of a big hill over looking the town of Motobu and the East China Sea. It takes a bit of time to get there from the main road, as you follow this crazy narrow 2 lane-road-but-can-barely-fit-one car and has hair-pin-turns-that-no-one-can-see-around and it's steep-as-fuck. So just as you think you've been driving too far and have no idea if you'll ever reach it, you finally find the parking lot at the top and make your way to put your name on a list for seating. They do have indoor seating, but we sat outside on picnic tables, and took pictures of the gorgeous view before getting our table. With only large and medium pizzas to choose from, and one with toppings and one with only cheese, we ordered both, and a salad (which was so delicious). This is our first meal with corn in an unexpected place. Corn is put on EVERYTHING here, it's really funny, but most times, it really works. For example, we thought it was pretty funny looking on pizza, but as we all ate it, we all realized that we really liked it, and wondered why more places don't do it. The pizza is really good. Both the crust and the cheese was a little different, but tasty, and while the food is good, the view is better. Come for both.
Don't worry, there are tons more pictures of foods we've eaten, so be on the lookout for the next post in the Eating Japan series!!!
Be sure to check out my other blog, Where in the World is Kacey?!? to see what goes on outside of the kitchen!