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The Fisherman's Village/ Itoman Gyomin Shokudo
post : 2014.11.22 16:00
Near the fishing port in Nishizaki, Itoman there is the Itoman Gyomin Shokudo, which is an industrial area next to fishing company and a logistics center. When you hear the name and see the outside which has atmosphere that is folksy like it should be in a public market it is startling.
It has wall reminiscent of old ports in Okinawa have made of Ryukyu limestone (stone made from coral, and shell) which were completed in 2013 with the cooperation of the local people.
It won awards like the JDC Design Award (Japan Commercial Environmental Design Association) and the Good Design Award, showing what a sophisticated exterior it has.
The owner of a fresh fish market, Hiroyasu Tamagusuku wanted to make a restaurant that showed off the both the new and old seafood cuisine of the fishing village of Itoman and with this thought in mind he developed a menu that could accept by locals and tourist alike.
The most popular dish is this one.
Fish soup in an earthenware bowl set.
In Okinawa there is a culture of eating miso soup as main dish, this fish soup is the same. And the fact that this amount of soup comes with rice and pickles makes this a wonderful set.
Long ago the fish soup that the fishermen of Itoman would take fish and put it in water and boil it until it the fish’s body would break apart. The cloudiness of the savory dish doesn’t look appealing. Also the fish from Okinawa (coastal fish) have a bit of an odor to them, so there are some people who can’t eat the soup because of that.
At Itoman Gyomin Shokudo, after the soup is filtered, it soup is boiled down, and bonito, seaweed and sea cucumber is added to the broth. By doing this it rids the fish of its smell and gives it a mild flavor. It is a bit similar to ramen is made.
Slice fish is steamed so it doesn’t break down and give off a fluffy texture.
The fish soup in earthenware is offered at this shop but it is rare in Okinawa. The reason they use earthenware is it doesn’t destroy the flavor of sesame which has a low pointing and keeps it warm until the customer is finished.
They add a tomato into the soup which is perfect because the richness of the sesame in concert with the sourness of the tomato, deepen the flavor. They aren’t only using local fish but are basically use local vegetables as well.
This is “Today’s Imaiyu Cooked in Butter”.
Imaiyu is the word for fresh fish in Okinawa.
Fresh fish from Okinawa is bought from the local market in the morning and prepared that day. On a blackboard in the shop they have the line-up of the fish, and you choose the fish of your choice and they will prepare it for you. The taste and price differs so it is fun to decide after hearing the advice of staff and choosing.
Crispy white fish with special garlic butter sauce aplenty. They use asa, sea lettuce, and ocean like fragrance is appetizing.
Compare mainland Japan, the light-colored flesh of the fish in Okinawa is said to not as lean but with this rich sauce matches extremely well. Due to the flesh being tender, the sauce spreads throughout the body.
The appetizers that come with fresh fish in butter are of course fish. They minced coastal tuna with pungent black pepper and seasonal sashimi salad. That sashimi comes with the shop original numb soy sauce.
This soy sauce uses Sichuan pepper, which in its after taste has a numbing effect. And since Sichuan pepper dulls the taste nerve and it even gives the sensation that the light-colored flesh is slightly sweet.
After enjoying well seasoned seafood, next is a dessert that has the perfect amount of sweetness. Homemade Sanpin Tea Pudding and Chilled Zenzai with Coconut Milk.
The sanpin tea (jasmine tea), which is loved by the people of Okinawa, that is used to make pudding that has a refreshing grown-up taste. The zenzai with coconut milk and kidney beans that that was slowly simmered in brown cane sugar is slightly sweet and gives the taste of tropical Okinawa.
You can also buy the numb soy sauce. You can use for more than sashimi soy sauce, you can used it as salad dressing or you can mix with the secret flavor of Chinese cuisine chili oil to make a sauce for fried dumplings.
The interior like the exterior walls use Ryukyu limestone and is classic and modern. There is a tatami space where families can sit and there are table seats as well.
Itoman Gyomin Shokudo was made with owner’s thought of connecting old culture to new culture through culture. So how about trying new traditional cuisine made with local ingredients. It is close to the airport, so it is easy access,
Itoman Gyomin Shokudo
Address: 4-17 Nishizakicho, Itoman-shi, Okinawa
Operating Hours: Day: 11:30am-3:00pm
Okinawa Clip Photowriter Takano Nakao