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Okinawa’s southernmost farm-to-table soba restaurant Shokusai Kamada, Miyako Island
post : 2016.12.20 08:00
Miyako Island is known for the beautiful color of the surrounding seas, called “Miyako blue”. Do you know that many old customs and traditions still remain on the island? The old saying “Ichariba-choodee”, meaning, once we’ve met, we’re family, describes these island people well. The soba restaurant I visited was proof of the expression.
For the soba, they use locally harvested buckwheat, which contains a lot of minerals. As soon as my order came, I noticed the greenish color, which is unusual for soba noodles and I enjoyed the rich buckwheat flavor. The noodle was nice and chewy but not sticky. It is served with wasabi and green onion on the side, but you may want to sample it first without so you can appreciate the flavor.
A serving of Freshly-made assorted tempura came next, consisting of shrimp and local vegetables, such as bitter melon, urizun (wing beans), fuuchibaa (mugwort), okra and pumpkin. Vegetables vary depending on the season.
To me, soba is most enjoyable with sake or books. I think of eating soba as a way to relax and enjoy myself. Soba also goes great with Japanese omelets, fish cake and barley miso.
There was no Japanese soba culture in Okinawa until recently. Hiroko Kamada opened Saishoku Kamada in 2010 but did not serve soba there until her son, Ken, made modifications to the restaurant in 2011.
Ken had never been in restaurant business before he started the soba restaurant but he has a serious passion for his work. He starts making soba every day at 6 a.m. and is uncompromising and is constant pursuit of higher quality. Regular customers can taste the passion in his work and love the flavor.
Ken grew up on the mainland but often visited mother’s hometown, Miyako, since childhood. In 2008, he visited a buckwheat farm in Miyako. The farm was an experiment of his cousin’s toward the purpose of improving soil and water quality in the area,
While helping his cousin harvest buckwheat, his dream of creating a farm-to-table soba restaurant was born. Once his decision was made, he visited many soba restaurants on the mainland to find the flavors he sought but his soba-making was completely self-taught.
“Every time I come here to eat his soba, it is always better than the last time,” said one regular customer. “It was good from the beginning, but I also tasted lots of potential in his soba -- and it keeps improving. Now it is much more sophisticated than before.”
“It is not easy to work in the fields and then make noodles every day,” Ken said. “I get very tired, but I like my life now much more than when I worked in an office. I finally found something I love to do in life,” he said with a bright smile.
Address: 737-11Shimozato,Hirara, Miyakojima City, Okinawa
Hours: 11:30—L.O. 14:３0; 17：30—L.O. 20：00
Closed: Tuesday for lunch, Monday and Tuesday for dinner
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Noriya Fukuda