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Find the Delicious Tastes of Yanbaru Here at Yanbaru Shokudo Kuni (in Nakijin)
post : 2019.04.06 06:00
The northern region of Okinawa Island including Nakijin Village is fondly referred to as Yanbaru. Situated at the center of this area is a charming structure that houses Yanbaru Shokudo (diner) Kuni. This diner offers original dishes created with fresh ingredients procured in the Yanbaru region.
The building used to be a parlor, and the owner of Kuni fixed the place up himself and created this comfortable and relaxing space where people can enjoy themselves surrounded by an interior with calm color tones.
(Popular Lunch Menu)
(Popular Dinner Menu to Enjoy with Alcohol)
In the recent years, there have been more and more eating and drinking establishments opening up in Nakijin Village, but not many of them are open for dinner time. This makes Yanbaru Shokudo Kuni, which is open for both lunch and dinner, an establishment warmly welcomed by local families and also tourists staying in the Yanbaru area.
After apprenticing at a Chinese restaurant in Chiba prefecture, the owner, Kitazato-san ran a dining bar for about a decade before relocating to Okinawa. He didn’t have particular plans to open up a place in Okinawa, but an acquaintance who lived in Nakijin Village came to him saying, “I want to do something about my parlor, but there’s nobody to take it over.” Kitazato-san thought, “What can I do to utilize this location?” He eventually reached his answer, “I’ll offer dishes prepared with local ingredients.”
One of the best things about this location is the Nakijin no Eki Sore, a roadside station where you’ll find fresh and inexpensive local ingredients. To have access to such ingredients daily is certainly a big plus for people running food and beverage establishments in this area.
Agriculture is flourishing in Nakijin Village, and among other municipalities in Okinawa, the area enjoys a high degree of self-sufficiency in their food production. It’s like a treasure trove of wonderful ingredients here. Here’s an introduction to some of the fantastic creations by Kitazato-san prepared with seasonal vegetables from the area.
In all the lunch menu items, a Kobachi, or a small side dish accompanies the main dish. The Kobachi contains the freshest Nakijin vegetables that are marinated separately. The simple and delicious tastes of the ingredients are brought out by the gentle flavoring.
The most popular choice at Kuni is their Zhajiangmian (a Chinese noodle dish with ground pork) with Nakijin Vegetables and Okinawa’s Shima Buta Pork that is prepared with organic durum semolina pasta. Squeeze some lemon juice and be sure to thoroughly mix the crispy vegetables, the tangy fresh tomatoes, and the seasoned Shima Buta ground pork that’s prepared in-house. A Zhajiangmian dish made with pasta! What a great new experience.
Kitazato-san recommends to enjoy it with the original spicy sauce made with green papayas, mugwort (Fuchiba in the Okinawan language), and hot chili peppers!
A cheerful crackling noise and a tantalizing aroma drifted from the kitchen. Delivered to our table was a dish of spring rolls with Shima Buta pork, shrimp, chives, green onions and other seasonal vegetables harvested locally, and some cilantro.
The freshly deep-fried spring rolls had great texture. It was delightfully crispy on the outside, and mixed with the plump and juicy shrimp wrapped inside, it was truly satisfying! The aroma of the chives and green onions really stimulate your appetite. You can enjoy the spring rolls dipped in soy sauce and Japanese mustard, or with their original spicy sauce (this was SO good!!).
Kuni is like an oasis, a comfortable diner offering dishes prepared with an abundance of Okinawan ingredients, and has managed to win the hearts and stomachs of the locals. For visitors to Okinawa, Kuni is a Yukui Dukuru (a place to relax and unwind) as you enjoy the simple blessings of Okinawa. Feast on the delicious tastes of Yanbaru as you leisurely enjoy the “island time” that flows comfortably in Nakijin Village.
Address: 157 Tamashiro, Nakijin Village, Kunigami, Okinawa
Hours: 11:30 to 15:00 (Last Order @ 14:30) & 18:00 to 21:00 (Last Order @ 20:30)
Okinawa CLIP photo writers, monobox (Tetsumasa & Kozue Kawano)