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You’ll be Delighted with the Tastes of Home-Cooking Offered at [Fukumitsu] (Naha City), Found along the Narrow Streets of Yachimun Dori♪
post : 2019.12.14 20:00
Standing in a quiet back alley of Yachimun Dori in the Tsuboya area in Naha, is Fukumitsu, a place you’ll want to visit when looking for a full and healthy meal. The restaurant opened in the summer of 2018, and since then, more and more repeaters have been visiting the establishment run by Naoko Yamashita, hailing from Niigata Prefecture.
Since she was a child, Yamashita-san always enjoyed cooking, and she made various dishes and asked her younger sister to try them. “I was always serious about cooking, down to chopping onions. Like how quickly and how thin I could chop them (chuckles). When I first attempted to make quick-prep curry, the potatoes were still uncooked…looking back, my poor little sister had to put up with a lot,” she reminisces. In her graduation essay that she wrote when leaving elementary school, she wrote her dream in life was to run a confectionery shop.
After graduating high school, she moved to Tokyo. She wasn’t cooking much at that time, but felt the urge, “I want to get back to cooking!” Soon, she was apprenticing at a Japanese restaurant that served dishes using mainly vegetables. She learned the ways of really bringing out the tastes and flavors of the ingredients, and how to extract broth. Yamashita-san says, “The experiences I gained at that time are definitely being utilized now.”
The Teishoku (set meals) offered at Fukumitsu fully brings out the five flavors of each ingredient (sweetness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness, and the savory Umami) and their textures.
Okinawan vegetables grow under t very strong sunlight and are exposed to the sea breeze, and so they tend to be more powerful in flavor and have richer nutritional content in comparison to vegetables from other parts of Japan, but some also have a harsher taste as well. When handling such vegetables, like the Goya (bitter melon), Yamashita-san soaks them or boils them, and for vegetables like Tsurumurasaki (Malabar spinach), she uses oil to prepare them after soaking. Adding an extra touch makes these vegetables more enjoyable.
The dishes offered at Fukumitsu are honest and carefully prepared. They’re simple and you can feel the thoughtfulness in each dish. As you enjoy each dish, you can feel your tired body and soul slowly recharging. On the day I went, I had the chance to enjoy local tuna marinated in Nanban sauce. The tuna had a mellow acidic flavor all the way through, and each bite was moist and tender. The small side dishes contained items that may not appear to be dazzling, but they were all so sincerely delicious.
For dessert, I was delighted with a small cake baked with Shima (island) bananas and brown sugar. One bite of the fluffy cake delivered a sweet aroma that spread throughout the palate, and the crumble topping made with coconut oil added a nice touch. The crumble had a good balance of saltiness that was also delightful, and it immediately made me feel happy. That joy I felt as I enjoyed the meal stayed with me even after I got home and also through to the next day.
The name, Fukumitsu, is derived from the Japanese words, “happiness” and “fulfillment”. Yamashita-san says she named her restaurant Fukumitsu with her hopes that she can bring joy to all those who visit and enjoy her food. This in one restaurant I’d like to recommend, especially if you’re feeling a little overworked lately and looking to recharge.
Address: 1-30-16 Tsuboya, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 12:00 to Last Order at 16:00 (Weekends & Holidays from 11:30 to L.O. at 16:00)
Closed: Thursdays, Fridays, and other irregular days (please check their Instagram)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi