Nakachi Yagi Ryoriten located in Gushikami, in the Nakaza area of Yaese Town is a famous destination for hiijaajooguu (“goat dish lovers”).
Once you enter the restaurant, you may feel the Showa Period (years 1926-1989) nostalgia in the air.
It’s a cozy restaurant furnished with Japanese-style rooms, sofas and counter available.
At the time of my visit, regular customers were enjoying goat sashimi (uncooked) with beer. They said they eat here at least three times per week.
“People in the area have raised goats for a long time,” said Yotani (pictured on the left). “Goats eat grass that have lots of minerals brought in on the sea breeze.That’s why the goat meat from this area is so tasty.” He said he's been a regular customer for 20 years.
“People in Okinawa eat hiijaa (goat) soup in celebrations for newly built houses,” Shirota (pictured on the right) said. “ A long time ago, we also used to slaughter goats when the annual sugarcane harvest came in.” He is a 40-year regular customer.
Goat sashimi is tastes great with lots of grated ginger, soy sauce and vinegar. Goat dishes are called hiijaa gusui – literally, “goat medicine,” or sagi gusui meaning “lower medicine.” Goat is said to be beneficial to great stamina and easy childbirth.
Let’s try one of the stars of the goat dish world: hiijaa soup! This contains lots of ingredients including red meat with melt-in-your-mouth tender skin, innards and herbs are also key flavors in the clear broth. The soup has a simple but very deep flavor. The meat is tender and has none of the gamy smell that you might expect.
Goat meat is washed and boiled repeatedly before cooking to eliminate the gamy odor. Unlike pork, goat meat can be reduced to tiny pieces if cooked for too long. The owner/chef who has working with goat meat for over 50 years knows how long she should cook different cuts of meat. She makes the delicious soup with meat and salt. The recipe has not changed since opening day. That’s the secret of their legendary nutritious soup.
“It is getting harder and harder to obtain local goats,” said Chef. “I get my supply from a farmers that I know and raise some of it at home. As long as I can obtain meat and my regular customers come, I will keep serving goat meals here. Even though I am not young any more, goat meals keep me energetic and give me the strength to keep going,” she continued – and Indeed the shy chef remains energetic and beautiful.
Nakachi Yagi Ryoriten
Address: 132 Nakaza, Yaese Town, Okinawa
Hours: 12:00–20:00 (closed when sold out)