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Local Loves Kitanakagusuku Village-Famous “Gusuku Manju”
post : 2015.11.11 20:00
“Gusuku Manju” in Kitanakagusuku Village is a popular manju (steamed confection) shop for locals. This is the best specialty of the village for “shimi (a custom for relatives to gather in front of family tombs)” and souvenir.
Pureed fresh aasa (sea lettuce) in Nakagusuku Bay was kneaded into dough of the bright colored manju.
The common aasa is the dried one, but pureed fresh aasa helps to make look the dough brighter and flavor gets rich by kneading it.
Since aasa is rich in fiber and minerals, it is good for our bodies.
“Many tourists visit Kitanakagusuku Village for the world heritage, Nakagusuku Castle Ruins, but I felt sad because there was no good souvenir in this village.” Kinjo, the owner, thought so.
When she imagined the time when Nakagusuku Castle was flourished, a warm view popped up in her mind; when elder ladies were selling manju to people who came and went near the castle.
So she decided to make “manju” which she thought is perfect for the village and souvenir, and use the specialty of the village, aasa.
This is how Kinjo, the former painting instructor, opened “Gusuku Manju” in 2006.
Staffs make each manju by hand. Lightly steamed manju are warm and moist, and leaves of shell ginger underneath manju create Asian flavor. The leaves do not have a scent of leaves at first, but its scent floats in the air as soon as staffs start to steam manju.
There are 3 flavors; azuki bean, aasa, and sesame. These are not too sweet, and people of all ages love each flavor.
Also, the staffs will wrap with leaves if you bought 5 or more manju. Since the leaves of ginger shell have bactericidal effect, Okinawan people wrap rice balls and muuchii (rice cake of Okinawa) with the leaves from the old days.
And, aasa inarizushi and fried chicken picked with homemade rice malt are recommended. The ingredient of inarizushi is aasa only, and it has a mild taste of kelp stock. The juicy flavored chicken got softer by soaking with salted rice malt, and some customers stop by just to buy chickens.
“Inaruzushi & chicken.” This Okinawan original makes the perfect combination.
Both can be eaten with one hand, so they are good for outdoor activity such as swimming or driving. Enjoy the scent of shell ginger and aasa, and have a bite.
Address: 230 Chunjun, Kitanakagusuku Village
Business Hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (closed when everything sells out)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Akari Matsumura