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The Popping Texture is So Addictive♪ Ganso Umibudo Honten Offers Onna Village’s Famous Umibudo Don
post : 2019.10.14 08:00
Umibudo is a type of seaweed that is often called “green caviar” because of its appearance. It has a unique, popping texture and is a very popular in Okinawa among visitors and locals.
Umibudo is farmed at various locations across Okinawa but those farmed by Munekazu Mekaru in Onna Village is known to be big and juicy with a great texture! For his Umibudo production, Mekaru-san has won prestigious awards like the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Emperor Award.
To enjoy such amazing Umibudo, I visited Ganso Umibudo Honten, or the “original” Umibudo restaurant, to enjoy their Umibudo Don, a rice bowl topped with generous portions of Umibudo.
The restaurant opened in 1994, and the owner, Toshio Shirai introduced the Umibudo Don which has now become one of Onna Village’s famous specialty dishes. This menu wasn’t available when they first opened, but was inspired by a postcard sent from a customer from Hokkaido who visited the restaurant while in Okinawa. On the postcard was a picture of Uni Ikura Don (donburi rice bowl with sea urchin and Ikura roe on top, a popular dish in Hokkaido), and that gave Shirai-san the idea for Umibudo Don.
Topped on the Ganso (original) Umibudo Don, are Uni, Ikura, and Tororo (grated yam). The rice is mixed with vinegar to enhance the overall taste and to match the Umibudo, the main cast in this dish. It comes with miso soup and a Kobachi side dish, and offered at 1,300 yen (as of August 30, 2019).
Pop, pop, pop! The Umibudo bursts energetically in your mouth with every bite, but soon, it just disappears. Then, you’ll enjoy the scent of the seas which will make you reach for another bite.
If you’re ordering a drink, I want to recommend their homemade Gyoza with Mozuku seaweed. Because each gyoza dumpling is packed full with Mozuku, its texture is soft and very juicy. If I didn’t have to drive after the meal, I would have definitely enjoyed it with a beer or a glass of Awamori.
I was told that the restaurant has another popular item. It’s their Ramen! Shirai-san initially was going to start a Ramen shop, and so he offers over ten selections of Ramen dishes, like Goya Champuru (stir-fried bitter melon) Ramen, Soki (stewed pork ribs) Ramen, Tebichi (pettitoe) Ramen, and Spicy Ramen that you can choose the level of spiciness. If you drop by his restaurant while visiting Okinawa, enjoy his Umibudo Don as well as a unique Ramen dish to add to your great memories of Okinawa.
Ganso Umibudo Honten is located near the very popular tourist spot, Manzamo, so it’s convenient to stop by on the way there or on your way back. If you’re looking to enjoy a specialty dish of Onna Village, this is the place!
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi
Ganso Umibudo Honten
Address: 6092-1 Onna, Onna Village, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00