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Ryukyumen Matsuya – a hole in the wall noodle restaurant These noodles sell out very quickly!
post : 2016.11.15 09:00
Okinawa soba is now well known as a local soul food. Newcomers, please visit Ryukyumen Matsuya located in Kouchi, Nishihara Town. You will join the Okinawa soba world right away.
The restaurant has only two tables and a counter. The owner, Sadahiko Motomura, trained at various Okinawa soba restaurants before starting his own shop, Matsuya, in Haebaru Town. He closed the shop after seven years in business for personal reasons. In 2014, he reopened his shop in a different location. “I have serious concerns about recent diets,” Motomura said. “My new concept of Okinawa soba is about healthy meals for longevity.”
Motomura serves original noodles and soup. Meats and other garnishes are served on the side instead of usual way, on the top of noodle. “Please try only the noodle and the soup first,” he says. “You will appreciate the flavor and the texture of noodle best this way.” His soup is something special. It is made of local pork, local chicken, bonito and kelp. He cooks these ingredients separately and slowly over 24 hours without a pressure cooker. After that he rests the soup in a refrigerator and a freezer so that the soup settles. In his noodles, lye water (a kind of essential soda to make Chinese noodles) is used at half the amount of regular recipes. Most soba makers use noodle prepared noodles for Okinawa soba. Motomura uses only uncooked noodles. That is his specialty.
Recommended here is Yaeyama soba (800 yen). The recipe comes from Motomura’s grandmother in Kabira, Ishigaki island. She owned the restaurant Fukamichi Shokudo there. The recipe uses round noodles. Fish cakes and simmered pork are served on top. The ingredients are from Ishigaki Island. Again, please taste the soup and noodles alone first before mixing it all together.
Sprinkle some original blended pipaatsu (peppers from Ishigaki island) on your noodle dishes to add great aroma.
“My inspiration towards cooking is my grandmother and childhood memories on Ishigaki,” Motomura said. “She used to cook each soup ingredient separately, and put a blanket over the pot to rest the soup before going home from the restaurant every night.”
There is an old saying in Okinawa, ‘subaya, dashikueemun,’ which means you should taste the soup to know the Okinawa soba. “Memories of grandma remind me of this saying, “ Motomura said.
“When I got hungry in my younger days,” said Motomura. “I just dove into the ocean to pick clams or sea urchins, or I dug potatoes. This probably conditioned my body for only natural ingredients. Now, I’m very sensitive to chemicals.” He credits these experiences with nature with the creation of this very delicate soup.
Ryukyu kaori gozen (1,600 yen) is a noodle set including spareribs, seasoned rice wrapped in a ginger leaf and simmered pork belly meat. A limited number of sets are sold.
Look at the size of the spareribs and their shining color! Spareribs are seared to remove the excess fat after simmering. They come out juicy. You can eat them with sansho (a Japanese spice) or with noodles.
The ginger leaf has a distinctive aroma to improve your appetite. It is very tasty.
Motomura selects ingredients, cooks with care and manages everything by himself. Please be aware that the closing time varies depending on how soon all soup or noodles are sold out. “I would like you to enjoy my Okinawa soba under the best conditions and I try very hard to make it happen for every customer,” he said with a smile.
A traditional Okinawan mask of Angama might be looking after him now just like his grandfather used to do.
Matsuya is located in a residential area. He agreed to post an article on our website, even though he does not usually advertise or show up in guidebooks. But, he looked at this as a good chance to change your fixed ideas about Okinawa soba to something healthier and better. If you’re a noodle person, please visit his place. Reservations are recommended. Mail order is available.
Address: 62-4 Kouchi, Nishihara Town, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00-around 15:00
*Call or reserve before visiting
OkinawaCLIP photo writer: Naomi Tsuruta