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Okinawa-Style Tempura Battlefield!? The Long-Established [Kadoya] is a Local Favorite in Tamagusuku, Nanjo City
post : 2020.03.31 20:00
The Ojima neighborhood in Tamagusuku, Nanjo City is well-known as the mecca of tempura, and is often referred to as “the tempura drive” for their numerous tempura shops that are popular with people waiting in line to pick up some fresh tempura. Did you know Okinawans usually don’t bother waiting in lineups to buy something!? Often, the local Uchinanchu say, “What a bother to wait in line to buy stuff”, and so, they have their own tempura shops they go to, to pick up their favorite tempura. I was introduced to this particular shop by a person who actually lives on Ojima Island, and this place is along Route 331, toward Hyakuna Elementary School from Ojima Island and is situated on the “Kado” or the corner of the road. Its name is Kadoya.
Their tempura display case is constantly restocked with piping hot tempura. The three most popular picks at Kadoya are: the plump and delicious squid tempura, light and tasty fish tempura, and sweet and healthy vegetable tempura. Lately, their juicy Tori-ten, or the chicken breast tempura is getting more popular, too. The price is reasonably set at ¥60 each. They also offer sweet potato tempura and deep-fried local tofu, too.
The daughter of the family runs the shop now, as the second-generation operator. She took over the shop that her mother started over 40 years ago. Okinawan-style tempura has a fluffy batter, like fritters, and for the Okinawan people, they’re the most popular “Yasa no-shee” or “just a little hold-me-over”! So, if you’re feeling like you need something to nibble on or a little snack, these tempura are perfect and delicious.
You can get tempura at Kadoya to go, or choose to stay in, where the regulars gather and the place is always filled with laughter. You can enjoy the tempura with a complimentary tea in the shop, and even though you may have just stopped by for a quick break on your delightful drive in southern Okinawa, you might find yourself losing track of time because you’ll enjoy the visit to Kadoya so much.
Oh yes! I almost forgot to say, but Okinawan tempura are commonly enjoyed with sauce. You can, of course, eat them as they are, but definitely give the sauce a try, too.
Okinawan tempura are very unique, with choices like deep-fried wieners, and also a great variety in vegetables. There are the common vegetable tempura with different kinds of veggies and fried like the Kakiage, but there are those like in the photo above, with green beans and fish sausage combined.
As she handed me a bag, the mother, the first-generation owner says, “Here you go! Come again, ok?” To my delight, in the bag were Sheebun (Okinawan word for complimentary) tempura that I didn’t order.
In Okinawa, the locals like to pick up hot and fresh tempura and head to the nearby beach and enjoy them as they look out to the beautiful sea. This is a popular dating course by people young and old. But then again, most people can’t resist the temptation of the delicious smelling tempura that they’ll start digging into the bag in the car, before reaching the beach!
Address: 743 Hyakuna, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City, Okinawa
Hours: 11:30 to 19:00 (Tuesdays from 13:00~)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Naoko Tsuruta