Okinawa Tourism Information:SpecialFeature!Let’sFindOutAbout“UmanuSugurimun(verydeliciousfood)”withOkinawanIngredients!#2“GettouChickenHam”ProducedbyJapanFoodandCultureKakehashiCompany

Special Feature! Let’s Find Out About “Umanu Sugurimun (very delicious food)” with Okinawan Ingredients! #2 “Gettou Chicken Ham” Produced by Japan Food and Culture Kakehashi Company

post : 2018.03.29 18:00

Okinawa is the treasury of ingredients. They were surrounded by the blue ocean, grew under the sun, and received gift from the land. More “delicious food” has been newly produced even today. For those people who love Okinawa & Okinawan food, we are currently in a process of writing a new series constructed with 5 articles called “Umanu Sugurimun (very delicious food)” for Okinawa CLIP. 

For #2 of this series, we are going to interview a company called “Japan Food and Culture Kakehashi Company” in Uruma City. This company is good at food-processing, and the motto of the company is to "make delicious, reliable, and safe food with local ingredients.” By the way, their brand-new product is called “Gettou Chicken Ham.” 

“Gettou” is known as shell ginger in English, and it is one of the plants to represent Okinawa. In Okinawa, people eat “muchi (rice cake wrapped with leaves of gettou)” on December 8th in the Chinese calendar, so it is a familiar ingredient for Okinawan people. Component of gettou is effective for fungicidal action, repellent, and antibacterial action. It is an edible ingredient, but it is also used as an ingredient of aroma oil, air freshener, lotion, and herb tea. Wrap breast chicken with gettou leaves, seasons it with salt and sugar, and leaves it. This is how to make the additive-free gettou chicken ham.

Breeding hen is used to cook this chicken, and its meat has its flavor already. Breeding hen has its pronounced flavor, but it has hard texture. Fortunately, the company has succeeded to make it soft by aging it for 2 weeks. Once you put it into your mouth, fresh aroma of shell ginger spreads. Both light aroma of shell ginger & soft and succulent ham have simple flavor, so small children and those people who concerned about the fat around their bellies can eat it with no worries. 

(Dish by Tou factory 509 / Cloth by Karansha) 

“Japan Food and Culture Kakehashi Company” is a company that focuses on producing additive-free products with local ingredients. We interviewed CEO Tatsuaki Shinohara and Factory Manager Motoji Morimoto to ask them about how they came up with an idea of Gettou Chicken Ham. 

“By using Okinawa’s unique ingredients, we are working on producing delicious and unique products that people have never seen before.” Shinohara told me. He was thinking about transforming the popular product “Long-aged Additive-free Chicken Ham” into Okinawan style. Fortunately, he found out about gettou and decided to take in freshness of gettou to the ham and sell it as a product.

Especially, he struggled to how to adjust the strong flavor of gettou. Its flavor is familiar for most Okinawan people, but he sought for the just right amount of flavor that many people can eat even though they are not familiar with it. After testing 15 samplings, he finally found the best flavor. He heard the reviews from customers, and most of them were surprised that there is another way to use and cook gettou besides muchi. Rich flavor and scent of gettou go well with ham, and it is also good for a gift to send. 

“I tried to grill chicken with brine pan first, so I wrapped gettou around chicken. However, I failed it big time… because its texture was too hard and salty. But the scent of gettou remained then, so I decided to use just gettou.” Morimoto gave a bitter laugh and told me the failure story in front of Shinohara.

According to Shinohara, “those stories are just the top of the iceberg. I know most of it, and I check him with a sidelong glance and figure out that Morimoto tends to make something new. But I trust him on that because the ideas of delicious foods will come up from failure.”  Both looked at each other and smiled.

The CEO of depth gives a great environment to make try and error to the staffs, and it helps to come up with innovative and good-quality products. We can expect to produce more additive-free products with Okinawan ingredients from them. 

Okinawa CLIP photo writer monobox (Tetsumasa & Kozue Kono)