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The Island’s Ingredients Shine in the Carefully Prepared Dishes at Western Restaurant, Tin (in Miyako Island)
post : 2019.01.21 06:00
A western-style restaurant opened by two chefs from Kobe is the talk of the town lately. The shopfront is casual and the customer service is friendly. The menu consists of popular western-style dishes, and those made with plenty of delicious local ingredients like Miyako Beef Tendon Croquettes, Miyako Beef Hayashi Rice, and Homemade Bonito Tuna dish. Compared to other establishments on Miyako Island, the prices here are a little higher, but still, 90% of the clientele are locals. Not residents that relocated here from elsewhere, but genuine locals.
The name, Yoshoku Tin, means “Western-Style Cuisine” and “heaven”. They got the name from their belief that “all foods are blessings from the heavens, and we want to prepare our dishes for our customers with respect and care to the ingredients, and not waste anything.” The owners are the Takezawas, a husband and wife team. Since their opening in 2014, they’ve made strong bonds with the community and are loved by the people here.
The first dish that arrived at my table was their Island Octopus Carpaccio with Tapenade Sauce (880 yen). The octopus is caught in the local waters by an octopus-catching expert who runs a bar in Miyakojima City. The texture was smooth and delicious, and needless to say, very fresh. The paprika powder and Italian rock salt accompanying the octopus enhanced the taste nicely.
The next dish was Caesar Salad with Homemade Smoked Bacon (1,000 yen). The pork was Okinawan boneless pork that was marinated for ten days in salt, rosemary and other herbs, then smoked over four to five hours, taking time to seal in the flavor. The smoked bacon and Miyako-grown babyleaf lettuce was a great combination. Served with a toasted baguette and soft-boiled egg, the salad was satisfying and filling.
Next came the main course, the Hamburg (1,000 yen), a western-influenced dish popular in Japan, which has a grilled meat patty like a Salisbury steak. The Hamburg at Tin is popular for its gentle, well-rounded taste, made with Tarama Gyu Beef blended with domestic pork. Tarama Gyu is from Tarama Island which is only about 30 minutes away by air from Miyakojima where the cattle graze in a stress-free environment and the beef is known to be excellent. The grilled hamburg is grilled crispy to bring a great balance of the tender and juicy inside. The demi-glace sauce on top is made carefully in-house over three days, stewing grilled beef bones, vegetables and shank meat.
For dessert, they served up a delightful flan with a good portion of egg yolk blended in to a mixture with vanilla beans. Since their clientele consists of many families with children, the caramel sauce is nice and sweet, and less bitter compared to other shops. That said, though, it wasn’t too sweet, but just right for all ages to enjoy.
The proprietress, Keiko Takezawa, first came to Miyakojima Island on a vacation over ten years ago and fell in love with the island. At that time, she was working for a company in a completely different field, but she was determined to relocate to Miyako. She thought about what she could do in terms of work here, and soon, she decided to open up a western-style restaurant that she always dreamed of. She started apprenticing at a western restaurant upon returning to Kobe, where she met Ryota, her future partner. According to Ryota, he was never interested in Okinawa, let alone interested enough to move here. The first summer they were together, he says Keiko “dragged” him to Miyakojima but he found himself hooked! For Keiko, who had been planning to open up a restaurant in Miyako by herself, meeting with Ryota was almost destiny.
The lovely couple talked with enthusiasm about creating delicious dishes with local products. “When we think of western-style restaurants, we commonly think of dishes like hamburgs and cutlets. But Ryota has over 20 years of experience in cooking, so we were able to expand our menu further, and heighten the quality, too.”
Besides the beef and pork, they are particular about selecting very good local ingredients, like strong scented herbs, local fish called Akamachi that has a texture close to red snapper, and the fresh bonito and other tuna that Miyako is known for. Presently, they use chicken from Kagoshima Prefecture, but are working together with the local Miyako Jitsugyo High School on a project to produce delicious Miyakojima chicken. With its success, they plan to switch to the local chicken. “Delicious foods are abundant here, and we hope to send a strong message to people on the island that great dishes can be created from the ingredients we can find on the island.” Their hard work and thoughtful efforts sure seem to be reaching the locals here.
Address: 397-1 Nishizato, Hirara, Miyakojima City, Okinawa
Business Hours: 11:30-14:00 & 17:30-21:00
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda