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Shima Robata Fuji Grills Up the Island’s Ingredients Carefully & Simply Delicious
post : 2019.01.29 06:00
Along National Route 58, a main road which stretches past the resort hotels of Onna Village is where Shima Robata Fuji is located. At the corner of Route 58, this relatively small izakaya opened its doors in this resort town in February of 2016, with the telling red chochin paper lanterns hanging at the front. The shop only seats 12 at the counter and in front of the customers are six shichirin, or clay hibachi-like grill to prepare the foods. Because the staff are so close to the customers, they’re able to offer the island’s fresh ingredients just at the right timing for the best taste and conversation flows naturally. That’s important for the food and sake to taste the best, I think. The owner, Kei Konishi who’s originally from Kyoto, offers contagious vitality, smiles, and heartfelt customer service, which is definitely one of the charms of this warm izakaya.
First is the Tsukidashi, or the appetizer to express a heartwarming welcome. The dish was homemade pork belly suchika, an Okinawan pork dish prepared with salt. Suchika is a traditional Okinawan dish born from the period when there were no refrigerators and so the salted pork was cherished by the locals as a non-perishable dish. The suchika is grilled to perfection and is a signature dish chosen to serve first, to welcome their customers with their best dish. Only one side of the pork is grilled to give it that perfect juiciness and tenderness, with just the right amount of salt to further enjoy your drinks.
Their recommended meat dish is the Okinawan Agu Boston Butt (Kata Rosu). The salt and pepper seasoning really brings out the sweet taste of the Agu pork.
Their 100% Minced Agu Tsukune meatballs have great texture and the combination of the flavors of the Agu and the Oba leaf are refreshing and delicious.
You can enjoy the full flavor of the meat in their Agu Tongue. The tip is a little crunchy and the root is tender with a rich taste. I recommend you enjoy the difference in the parts of the cut.
They also have many types of Okinawan vegetables on their menu, like the Nabera or sponge gourd, goya bitter melon, and beni-imo purple potatoes. They are carefully cut and grilled to bring out the best of each vegetable. The staff will also recommend the best way to enjoy them, introducing seasonings like Okinawan salt, sweet miso, and soy sauce.
They also have hot pots, too. Their Okinawan pork and soft cartilage in salt broth, served in a steel pot is stewed over two days, and the ingredients are so soft they’ll melt in your mouth. The salt-based soup and the sweetness from the meat and cartilage is great. You can add rice into the leftover soup to end with a zosui.
The homemade asa seaweed wrapped onto a bamboo stick is grilled just right to bring out the flavors, and the texture is fluffy and soft, with a distinctive aroma of the asa seaweed.
For seafood, I recommend the fresh catch of the day, a whitefish that’s grilled with asa seaweed and miso. The skin is crispy and the inside is cooked perfectly, and the miso is seared just right with a burner. The fluffy texture of the fish goes so well with the aromatic miso.
The last dish presented was the Mitarashi Mochi. This sticky rice dish with a sweet sauce made from brown sugar is their way of thanking you for coming. Kinako soy powder is sprinkled on top to enhance the taste and mildness.
Shima Robata Fuji, a nice little izakaya owned and operated by Konishi-san, who was so charmed by the island’s ingredients, beautiful seas, and the warmth of the locals that he relocated to Okinawa from Kyoto. This shop proudly serves the island’s vegetables prepared very simply so that you can fully appreciate the great tastes. I recommend their more familiar dishes like the goya champuru or fu champuru stir-fries, too, but I hope you’ll try their island ingredients. Konishi-san believes that delicious experiences aren’t created just with taste, but also the atmosphere of the shop, and the heartfelt hospitality and warmth for the customers. “That’s why I focus on making my shop a place where customers can enjoy thoroughly,” he says with a big smile. This is why the shop, filled with the great intentions and efforts by the owner, is always full of local customers and repeat customers from overseas and from mainland Japan who continue to come here while in Okinawa. In this very intimate shop, you’ll be received with open arms.
How about choosing Shima Robata Fuji for an Okinawan style pub that’s a little different from the rest?
Shima Robata Fuji
Address: 129-5 Fuchaku, Onna Village, Kunigami, Okinawa
Business Hours: 18:00-24:00 (Last Order @ 23:00)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Yu Murakami