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Warm & Welcoming [Esu-no Hana] Offers Soba Made from Freshly Harvested Buckwheat Grown in Ogimi Village
post : 2019.01.28 06:00
If you’re looking to enjoy Japanese soba made from freshly harvested buckwheat grown in Ogimi, then I definitely recommend Esu-no Hana, located in Taiho, Ogimi. The owners, Mr. Nakajima and his wife, Sanae, run this wonderful soba shop that is popular with both the locals and tourists. Turn right at the sign by the Ogimi Junior High School on Route 58, and go up the hill almost to the top. It’s not a very eye-catching location, but why is it that they attract so many customers all the time? Of course, the taste is one reason, but maybe there’s something else! I’ll be digging into their secret in this article!
Ogimi Village is known for its buckwheat production, and the shop, Esu-no Hana, is one of the places where you can enjoy Japanese soba made with the fresh harvest of buckwheat. The secret to their popularity is that for each order, they offer freshly grated, kneaded, and cooked soba noodles.
When asked why they go to the painstaking extent of preparing the soba noodles the way they do, the owner, Nakajima-san says, “Because soba noodles taste the best when enjoyed freshly ground, kneaded, and cooked!” I tried some, and he was right. The freshly made soba was nice and moist, with excellent aroma, and super delicious!
On this occasion, I ordered their most popular menu item, their Nami or regular sized Zaru Soba Set (1,000 yen). Brought to my table were freshly cooked zaru soba noodles, a side dish six various items, and deep-fried agedashi tofu. Like this wasn’t enough, the order came with tempura, too!
By default, the order comes with the tempura as a Ten-Zaru Set, but what’s noteworthy is the many types of tempura they offer. There were Ogimi-grown eringi or king trumpet mushrooms, green beans, and zucchini in one basket, and another contained shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, fuchiba (mugwort) leaves also grown in Ogimi. The tempura (order for two people in the photo above) which were crispy and light, were fantastic and I could eat them endlessly! Mrs. Nakajima, who is in charge of the tempura, says she only uses oil that is good for the body and the variation changes daily.
I happened to verbalize my delight, “I could eat a whole pile of these delicious tempura,” and so, one basket after another, full of tempura, were brought to my table, this time containing goya bitter melon, Romano beans, celery, and more. The tempura is served almost non-stop unless you call a halt to the endless serving. On the days with the most selection, they apparently have about 12 different vegetable tempura, and all this for only 1,000 yen! They said, “We want to offer as much as we can for our customers who travelled far into the mountains to eat our food. We don’t want anyone going home feeling like the trip out here wasn’t worth it.” So, the amount of great tempura wasn’t just a special treat for me, but they do this for every customer. I glanced around to the other tables, and sure enough, every table was full of tempura baskets.
Since the Zaru Soba Set (Name) that I ordered today was this filling, I can’t imagine what their Omakase Course, a course where the owners put together the dishes of their daily recommendations for an additional 500 Yen, would be like. I definitely recommend you start with what I had, the Zaru Soba Set (Nami). I guarantee you’ll appreciate the delicious soba, proudly grown in Ogimi, and the heartwarming hospitality of the owners.
Address: 326-224 Taiho, Ogimi Village, Kunigami, Okinawa
Telephone: 0980-43-3040 (Reservations Recommended)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)