Anywhere you go, you’ll probably visit the market and try the local food. That’s exactly what we did on our second day here in Naha. It is the central city of Okinawa’s mainland and home for its prefectural government.
Near the Airbnb we booked, is the sunrise market where we can walk and reach Kokusai-Dori. Kokusai-Dori is Naha’s tourist spot, lined with several souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars.
It was 7 am when we went out to explore the Sunrise market. I was expecting it bustling with tourists and locals but to my disappointment, all of the stores were closed!
So we decided to just walk up to the Kokusai-Dori. Still, shops along the street were all closed except for the convenience stores and McDonald’s.
24-hour McDonalds is rare here in Tokyo so I was quite surprised to see that most of the McDonalds there are open for 24 hours!
K wasn’t ready to give up and eat McDonald’s for breakfast but in the end, I win. I got myself a good-old sausage-egg McMuffin and hashbrown on the side.
For lunch, we went back inside the market but this time with a friend – let’s call him Mr. N – who knew which restaurant locals go to for a good Okinawa Soba.
Here, is where I got my first taste of Okinawa’s spare-rib noodle soup. They call it Soki Soba but in this shop, it only cost 390 yen!! It’s the cheapest meal I’ve ever had here in Japan!
Besides it being cheap, it was also delicious! According to K, the taste of this Soki soba is different from the normal Soki soba you’ll find in other parts of Naha. He said the taste is from one of Okinawa’s smaller islands. If I remember correctly, it’s the taste of Miyako island’s Soki Soba.
Another thing I found out about this dish is that even though they call it “soba” it is not actually made out of buckwheat instead, it’s made out of flour. Soba in this context just means “noodles” while “Soki” means spare-ribs.
After having lunch, still in Sunrise market, we went inside the Makishi Market. Another popular tourist spot with seafood, goat meat and a food court on the second floor.
Be careful in filming here, some vendors might mistake you for filming them instead of their product. (Yes, it happened to me.) Although it can be expensive, I recommend their tiger shrimps.
Our friend, Mr. U, cooked it for dinner and it was AMAZING!
Back to the food court, K and our friend Mr. N enjoyed a bottle of Okinawa’s Awamori. A popular Okinawan liquor made by Thai rice, as well as some goat meat soup!
I am not a fan of goat meat dishes just because they have this weird smell but this soup we tried wasn’t so bad.
I also had some “Umibudo” which literally translate to “Seagrapes.” I also used to eat these in the Philippines.
Then I moved on to the all-time favorite Okinawan dish the “Chanpuru” which means “stir-fry.” This stir-fry dish is usually with bitter-melon (or Goya in japanese), spam and egg. Sometimes they add a bit of tofu too. However, the original Okinawan goya chanpuru is said to have sliced pork and not spam. I guess it is brought by the American base presence there (shrug).
Another dish we tried was the “Ninjin Shiri Shiri.” Ninjin means carrots while Shiri-Shiri is the onomatopoeia of shredding. It’s basically, stir-fried shredded carrots! I really like Okinawa’s Chanpuru dishes because it is similar to my mom’s cooking and it is quite easy to make! Not to mention they make vegetables taste delicious!
Last but not the least is Naha’s original Market, which is now a renovated 3-story building called Nouren Plaza.
It was Sunday so not much stores were open, but if you go at the back of the building, you will find this awesome store. All of the fruits and vegetables were super cheap!
So that’s it for today’s blog post, Minna-san! Have a beautiful day!