Other posts in this series can be viewed here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Believe it or not, we can get some decent Mexican food here in Okinawa. There are a number of places around the island that we've heard just some 'so-so' reviews of, but our friends told us about Dos Manos and brought us there that same day, and I know we've found out go-to Mexican joint. Everything tasted fresh and homemade, including the tortillas. The portions were huge (I didn't finish mine, which is rare), and we loved the atmosphere of this restaurant. It's small, just a few mini picnic tables, and I've been told it gets packed during lunch. It's best to go earlier, because they often run out of meats for the day - a good sign that it's fresh prepared!
I'm not sure if I ever met a person who didn't enjoy ice cream. Seriously, is there anyone out there? If so, I don't trust you. No offense, it just seems wrong. So living on a sub-tropical island where there is 100% humidity most of the year, going to the beach seems as natural as breathing air, and eating ice cream just belongs. So this famous place is called Blue Seal. Blue Seal started out as a building to store dairy products for the military bases in the 1950's and people both on and off base started craving their ice cream, so they opened up shop off base. Blue Seals can be found all over the island, and although I've only ever gotten ice cream, some locations do have other food - Japanese/American fusion fast food. Can fast food be fusion? Sure it can. Anywho, below we have soft serve ube and vanilla twist in an Okinawa branded cone. Isn't that awesome the cone says Okinawa!?! I love it! Anyway, Ube (purple yam) is my favorite while Aaron's is Beni Imo (purple sweet potato, which has a smokier taste).
Now one of my favorite snacks, I ordered Umi Budo (aka sea grapes) at a sushi joint not having any idea what to expect. It's a local specialty and can be found at nearly any product stand, izakaya, or market. It's a type of seaweed also known as green caviar, which is how I would be describe it. I've eaten these by dipping them in a vinegar based sauce, eaten on rice, or on top of sashimi. They are salty like the sea, but have the texture and 'popping' sensation of caviar. A great tip I learned from a local was not to refrigerate them. I'm not sure why, as I've never done it. They aren't displayed refrigerated, and I don't find a need to. They never last that long to question it.
Okonomyaki is a famous Japanese pan fried dish, which I've indulged in a few times, including the shot below of my order at a festival this summer. It's known as a grilled pancake with cabbage, but I would describe it as more of a cabbage omelette. There are only a million different varieties of this dish, but I'll give you the jist of it. It's made of flour, eggs and shredded cabbage, but will often have green onion, a type of meat or seafood (squid or shrimp), and vegetables. Once grilled on both sides, it's topped with a sauce (similar to a BBQ sauce), bonito flakes, mayonnaise and pickled ginger. The consensus? I like it. I don't think Aaron has had it yet, but I would make a few changes to mine the next time I have it. After all the word 'okonomi' means 'what you like'. I would lay off the mayonnaise. I know, it's trend in Okinawa (in all of Japan, I do not know), and cut back slightly on the amount of sauce. I wish this was described differently, because if you try this, it is really good, but there are a lot of flavors and textures going on. Please do not expect an american pancake or omelette.
Aww Bento Boxes. So cute!!! Not all bento boxes are cute little characters, but those are more fun to eat. I love bento boxes because they are cheap, filling, and have a good selection of different types of food for all tastes and textures. Below is Rilakkuma, a Japanese cartoon bear who is completely stree-free and lazy. Look at his face! He looks just like Sammy! This is my first real bento box I've ever made, and it was completed for $10 (including lesson, food, and bento box to keep) here on base at a bento making class! It was so much fun, and much easier then you would expect! And then I ate his face off. Tasty!
So that's that for Part 6 of my Eating Japan series. As always, thank you for visiting, and I can't wait to share with you more of the things I've been eating living overseas, keep an eye out of what's ahead next!
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