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Delicious Homemade Mokkai Soba, Smooth and Chewy at “Toraya” Near Naha Airport!
post : 2016.01.10 19:00
Do you know “Mokkai Soba”? A word “木灰” can be read “Mokuhai” or ,in Uchinaaguchi (the Okinawan language), “Mokkai.” The word literally means ashes remaining after burning a tree. At present, Okinawan people make Okinawa soba noodles from flour, salt and “kansui (brine water).” However, before the battle of Okinawa in 1945, they used “aku (the skim soup resulting after soaking these ashes in water)” instead of brine water. The soba made with the aku is called “Mokkai Soba.” It is time-consuming to prepare the aku, so there is a very limited number of noodle shops provide “Mokkai Soba” now. Among the few “Mokkai Soba” noodle shops, the nearest one to Naha Airport is “Homemade Mokkai Soba Toraya.”
“Toraya,” which opened in September, 2006, is in about 10-minute car ride from Naha Airport. If you take a monorail “Yui Rail” from “Naha Airport” station, please get off at the second stop called “Oroku” station, and walk for less than 10 minutes to the shop.
In the shop, there are counter seats and ozashiki seats are available. The shop has been popular among not only the locals but also tourists. Simple menu items actually brings customers more expectations.
“Hon Soki Soba” is Mokkai Soba with a dish of rib with bone. “Okinawa Soba” is Mokkai Soba topped with sanmainiku (three-layered pork belly). On weekdays, set menu items are popular, especially “Chikinaa Jako nose Gohan (rice topped with chikina and whitebait” is well received. “Chikinaa” is leaf mustard and a popular vegetable in Okinawa.
When you take your seat, a staff member will bring you their homemade asazuke for service. Small plates for dividing asazuke to are “yachimun (Okinawan potteries). “Yachimun is nice. How beautiful!” As I looked around the shop, I found that many yachimun items including chopstick holders, toothpick holders and ornamental plant pots are luxuriously displayed. Unobtrusive yachimun goods in the shop are very Okinawan, and creates a relaxing atmosphere.
*asazuke: pickled items prepared in a short time.
The picture below shows a cute, small noodle maker. The shop owner used to practice making “Mokkai Soba” with this maker when he started.
The shop owner completed his Mokkai Soba by studying all by himself. He burns a tree to make ashes, soak them in water for several days to get the aku. After all these procedure taken care only by him, he starts making noodles. “If I make noodle in a general manner, I can make it for several hours, but if I have to include the procedure of making the aku, it takes 4 to 5 days to prepare Mokkai Soba,” he said.
The noodle-making room is a “no-go” room. “This room is a very important workplace for me. This is where I have to show all the guts.” Nowadays very few shops can make Mokkai Soba, and the shop is run almost by his family, so the manufacturing method is unique and secret. Mokkai Soba of “Toraya” was created after his absolute self-study and repeated trials and errors. The owner did not talk much about his Mokkai Soba, which made me feel even more extraordinary passion for Mokkai Soba.
The photo above shows “Okinawa Soba” with “sanmainiku” and the most popular rice item “Chikinaa Jako nose Gohan.” Both of them are served in heavy Okinawan yachimun potteries. Whitle noodle is in a clear katsuodashi (dried bonito flakes) soup. The whiteness of Mokkai Soba stands out more. At the first bite of Mokkai Soba, I instantly thought, “The noodle is delicious!” The smooth, firm noodle in a light-flavored soup tasted really good, so I finished it up very quickly. The popular “Chikinaa Jako nose Gohan” is salty and nice, and perfectly go well with rice.
I would like you to try the smooth, chewy Mokkai Soba of “Toraya.” The shop is open until 12:00 midnight on New Year’s Eve. Would you like to enjoy *toshikoshi soba this year at “Toraya” near Naha Airport?
* toshikoshi soba: Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on New Year's Eve
Homemade Mokkai Soba Toraya
Address: Kinjo Building 1F, 1-5-14, Akamine, Naha City, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 11：00 to 20：00（It will be closed when all the soba noodle menu items are sold out）
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer MikaAsaka