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Be Sure to Visit in Small Groups. Appearance Like a Movie Set, [Iroha Shokudo] is a Mini Diner in Chinen, Nanjo City.
post : 2020.04.09 06:00
Along Route 331 that leads to Tamagusuku from Chinen, Nanjo City, where visitors and locals enjoy fun and refreshing drives, is a quaint little diner that looks like it came straight out of a movie set.
Inside the little restaurant are two tables on about three tatami mats. Around noon, the seats fill up quickly with locals and regulars. Most of the customers are businessmen that stop by while in the neighborhood on sales trips and also men in work gear. The atmosphere is truly Okinawan, with most people speaking Uchinaguchi (or local Okinawan language). If you’re looking to visit while on a sightseeing trip to the area, after one o’clock might be the best time to go.
The menu offered here are hanging on the wall! They have Yakiniku and Sukiyaki, too!
I placed my order and glanced out the window and saw a cat taking a stroll under the bright sunshine. It was a pleasant afternoon. The Anma (mother, in the local language) of the diner says, “That’s our cat. See how its face is bumpy? That’s because it comes home with habu (poisonous snake) bites at least once a year!”
The left side of this small diner is their kitchen. I saw the delicious-looking Hechima (sponge gourds) piled in a basket, so I ordered their Fu (wheat gluten) stir-fry and the Hechima dish. Since long ago, the Okinawans have enjoyed Hechima in their local dishes. A popular Hechima dish is called “Nbusa” which is a mixture of stir-fry and stewed dish.
The proprietress says that she started the diner at this location about 20 years ago. Before that, she ran a diner ay a different location within the same city of Nanjo. Watching her work so smoothly and efficiently in preparing the dishes, it was hard to believe that she was in her 80s.
In the miso soup that came with the set meals were fresh, leafy vegetables grown in the local area, and the meal sets also came with a small dish of homemade pickles with various kinds of veggies.
The “Hechima” in the menu was the familiar Okinawan dish, “Nabera Nbusa”, a sponge gourd dish prepared in a fusion of stir-fry and stewing methods. It came with Okinawan tofu and an egg, and Anma says, “Everybody enjoys eating this topped on rice!”
Their Fu stir-fry was prepared by mixing the softened Fu gluten with eggs, then stir-fried with vegetables. There were chunks of pork, too. Nowadays, it’s more common to find stir-fries mixed with luncheon meat and/or canned tuna, but in the past, stir-fries were made with actual pork pieces.
“Most of the vegetables are grown in the area. The tofu, too, is made just nearby and they’re great!”
At Iroha Shokudo, you’ll find the good old tastes of Okinawa’s home cooking, made with Anma’s Tiianda (tender loving care). Again, I recommend visiting Iroha Shokudo past 1pm to relax and enjoy the food and atmosphere.
Address: 936 Chinen, Nanjo City, Okinawa
Hours: 11:30 to about 14:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Naoko Tsuruta
*After over 30 years preparing meals for her customers, Anma retired in 2016 at the age of 91. Today, Iroha Shokudo is run by her daughter.