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A Recommended Spot Not Found in Travel Guide Books So Far! Uchinoyamachi (in Nanjo City) Serves Up Excellent Tacos to Almost 100% Local Customers
post : 2019.06.22 23:00
In various information sites on travel and such, you often see catch phrases like, “Not found in any travel guides!” or “A secret spot!” You can’t help but be intrigued because we all like new and rare things, right?
In today’s article, I’ll be introducing Uchinoyamachi, located in the quiet city of Nanjo, and in the middle of a laid back farm area. This small shop proudly serves up their famous tacos and Okinawa’s very own soul food, taco rice. The owners renovated a portion of their home, so it has a homey and comfortable atmosphere. The shop is very popular among the locals and whenever you go, there’s always a local regular enjoying their food.
Their name, Uchinoyamachi, has a nice ring to it and as I repeated it a number of times, it felt like I was saying a magical spell, like “open sesame!” So far, I haven’t seen this shop with such a magical-sounding name introduced in any of the regular travel magazines. To be honest, this is one of those shops that you kind of want to keep as a secret. That said though, this place is so great that I truly wish for more and more people to discover it!
What makes Uchinoyamachi so great is the people, location, and taste. These things are simple but extraordinary, and create a very heartwarming harmony.
First, the people. The owner, Hideo Yamauchi, and his parents who help and support him are just truly wonderful people. The three of them working closely together in the tiny shop is the picture of an Okinawan family itself. Watching them work together is heartwarming and you may recognize some things you may have in common with this lovely family.
Next, the location. The shop is located at the foot of the wind-power station, in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by sugarcane fields. Hidden away from the major roads, the shop quietly stands in a peaceful area where you can enjoy great tacos in the idyllic scenery. In the dishes, they use various vegetables grown in their family garden (or Ataigwa in the Okinawan language) as much as possible.
And finally, their taste. Their special taco shells were created over a period of ten years. According to Hideo-san, he first came across tacos when he was about 20 years old. “One day, a friend of mine brought take-out tacos from a famous taco shop. When I tried it for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never tasted anything like it before,” he explains. Since then, he was hooked on tacos, he says, with a twinkle in his eyes as he remembered those times. Hideo-san always liked to cook and eat, and whenever he had time, he made tacos, trying to “find my very own taco recipe.”
“I went around to many shops, trying their tacos. I also gathered a lot of information on the internet, too. I learned through watching others and attempted to make them myself, and there were times that I wasn’t successful, but I kept at it. I looked for different types of flour and ordered them, and changed up the amount of water in the recipe, adjusting it about 10cc at a time. Finally, I reached a point where I could proudly say that these are my tacos.”
He continued, “But once the tacos cooled down, they got soft and greasy.”
After that, he tried hundreds of variations in the recipe and kept challenging himself. The tacos that he serves up today are fruits of his efforts that expanded over ten years.
When you eat them, the first bite has a pleasant and crunchy texture that they’re famous for. The seasoning is just right, not too much, not too little. Even if you happen to leave them for a while, it doesn’t get greasy at all and what’s more, they remain nice and crispy. Most fast foods are not great after some time, but these tacos taste fantastic even when they’re cold.
Uchinoyamachi also has various other items in their menu besides tacos, like their unique Mayo Taco Rice (in varying sizes of small, medium and large, and when I went, the prices were 780, 680, and 580 yen, respectively). They use Akita Komachi, a brand of rice grown in Okayama Prefecture. The rice is made in the mountain valley in Okayama where his cousin moved to upon marriage, and because of the high and low temperature differences in the region and their clean water, the rice from that area is exceptionally good.
I recommend their lunch plate, where you can enjoy four varieties at a reasonable price (from 700 yen). Their side menu is also very good, like their burritos, homemade soup of the day, and homemade ice cream that Hideo-san’s sister makes, is also great. They also have homemade Shikwasa citrus juice from July to December, too. They accept takeout orders, so whenever you’re in the southern region of Okinawa, stop by Uchinoyamachi.
Address: 754 Tedokon, Sashiki, Nanjo City, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00 to 18:00
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda