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Indulge in unique smoked foods and smooth whiskey at the Barrel House in Naha City
post : 2017.01.05 08:00
Smoked foods, such as sausage, bacon or salmon are great with alcohol. In the old days, people used to smoke food to preserve it. This wise practice was invented about 13,000 years ago.
Barrel House in Makishi, Naha City has been a popular bar featuring a delicious smoked food menu since they opened in March of 2016. Barrel House’s food is prepared through a unique process called vacuum smoking. Foods are placed in bags, vacuum-sealed and then cook at low temperatures (between 58° and 95° C) for hours.
The five selection plate (local smoked pork livers, tongues, hearts, cheese and boiled egg) is a good starter choice.
Low temperature cooking helps meat hold its moisture. The texture of meat prepared this way is makes it seem rare, but it is fully cooked and very juicy.
“Depending on the ingredients, “ said owner Tatsumasa Moriya. “We adjust the temperature and the cooking time in order to bring out the best flavor.” Moriya’s family owned a dive shop in Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture and so the ocean has always been part of his life. When he was 28 years old, he moved to Okinawa and found the impetus for opening a bar at a friend’s suggestion and encouragement.
Nagisa Kina, another longtime friend, helps out.
For the smoking process, cherry wood chips are used. The woody aroma and smoky flavor go well with whiskey.
About 30 kinds of whiskey are available, including selections from Scotland, Ireland, America, Canada and Japan. Make sure to try different kinds with your meal.
The kunsei aburi tebichi (smoked and seared pigs’ feet) is addicting and tasty. The pigs’ feet are cooked for over six hours before they are smoked and then seared just before serving. Anchor beers from CA are the best choice for this dish. According to Moriya, his is the only place in Okinawa where Anchor beer is available. He has a special source.
Ryukyu choju pork steak (thick cut) is also seared, and served with barbecue sauce. It contains tender meat and silky sweet fat. Although not a smoked dish, it is definitely a must-try. It is best when accompanied by whiskey or red wine.
Ingredients vary with the seasons, but most are from local sources. “Okinawan pork is the best,” says Moriya.
I asked him about his future plans. “Not only meat, but also fish can be smoked,” said Moriya. “We’ll smoke more fish in the future.” He also said he plans to smoke and sell olive oil and spices. We’re looking forward to seeing what he’ll come up with next. For now, let’s enjoy unique smoked food and whiskeys of Barrel House.
Address: 3-15-51 Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Sachiko