There are better places to visit in Okinawa than the main island and its trappings.
One is Ishigaki Island (direct flight from main Japanese airports possible) away from the noisy main island and a real spot to discover!
I would suggest English readers to check the following HOMEPAGE for more details!
We had arrived on a rainy mid-March day (the only rain of our whole stay) with a temperature that belied the heat that welcomed us the following days.
We had followed the Missus’ advice and searched for a “great” place we found closed under pouring rain. A bit disgruntled, I decided to take things in hand and try a local izakaya I had noticed along the way.
Bacchus must have been looking over my shoulder as it proved the perfect destination for the day!
Not only “Kurashita” is patronized by locals (the place was full by 20:00), but the food too is very, very local!
Of course we tried one of the local “awamori” spirit (there are 7 breweries on that particular island), although it was a bit tough on our tired bodies.
There is one local fish in Okinawa called “sugi” and I can’t tell you what name it would be known by in English, but it was succulent served as “carpaccio”. The texture was halfway between cuttlefish and cod, very easy to bite and chew. I certainly remember the taste!
Now, Ishigaki is famous all over the country for its beef, and deservedly so. Served as (true) “carpaccio”, it is simply sublime. Very lean, tender and reminiscent of high quality venison!
They do it in all kind of manners, but I reckon raw is still the best!
Wherever you go in Japan expect tempura made with local vegetables. Ishigaki is no exception, but the names of their vegetables can turn out pretty exotic! We had “adan” (white on the pic) and “ootaniwari” (green on the pic), both actual young shoots of local trees! What can I say? A truly gastronomic experience!
Any izakaya worth its salt has good fried food on offer. I wonder if Foodhoe has ever heard of “jinamidoofu”. It is not tofu, but a curd made with locally grown peanuts. This is made in balls with cheese inside and envelopped in “shiso/perilla” leaves before being dipped in batter and breadcrumbs. Served wit a “dip sauce” or soy sauce, it simply makes for great “tsumami/snacks”!.
We did have more, but I felt I had to introduce these particular tidbits!
Can’t wait to go back there!
Okinawa Prefecture, Ishigaki Shi, Ishigaki, 12-2
(1 minute walk from City hall)
Business hours: 18:00~24:00
Closed on Sundays