Would love to say I now have yet a third photo content contributor to my blog but actually I just had asked a close friend of mine who recently went on a trip (and just returned) from our island hometown a favor.
This was to take photos of the two meals he was craving, an Okinawa Soba and Goya Champuroo (or Chanpuru), and to also visit a local burger joint that had an extremely sentimental value for me where I had heard recently was down to their last remaining store. So must document!
The Okinawa Soba below according to my friend is from a particularly delicious spot called Misato Soba. Shown is the place's signature and similarly named Misato Soba.
Wow, the dark broth looks wonderful. The three-layered Sanmai-Niku and Kamaboko fish cake I mentioned during my SD Mitsuwa's Okinawa Fair post are fairly standard but the tendons and especially the Shima Tofu are rather unusual toppings for me. I couldn't find out what the leafy garnishes were to the side. An Inari is to the left and a bowl of Okinawa Jyushee "rice medley" to the right. I'm totally geeking out right now.. :)
The lovely Goya Chanpuru below is from another famous Okinawa Soba house, Awase Soba. I've been to Awase Soba several times with my family during my pre-teen years and just hearing the name once again gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.
The preparation of the dish was described to me as not for Goya amatures so it must have been unapologetically bitter. The few tricks that I do know of lessening the bitter melon's bitterness is to try cutting it wafer thin, salting the slices and letting it sit for a few minutes (then patting it dry with a paper towel), using extra eggs in the stir-fry and/or adding some bonito flakes. You can see the firmer "Island" Shima-tofu on top that withstood the wok action.
My friend did follow through with visiting VicMONT but it turned out that even this last remaining store had closed its doors an ancient two whole years ago. DAAARN ITTTT..
I was really looking forward because this location (in a once bustling arcade shopping mall) where VicMONT managed to remain open the longest was where my dad and I visited during our ritual Sunday walks when I was a kid. :_(
There's not a whole lot that distinguishes VicMONT from other Japanese Burger producing chains (such as DomDom and Lotteria) but the mascot. A cute and completely random American Indian boy holding a burger in one hand and doing the peace sign in the other. The extremely fine, almost texture-less pork/beef Aibiki patty with tangy yellow mustard and finely sliced onions will definitely not win any American hearts immediately.. But I really liked it. :)
The store still looks fairly intact so I hope it resurrects again one day.
My friend was a trooper fitting this into his busy schedule. There were a few more photos but these were it for ones that were Okinawa specific. I end with a couple more that I thought looked neat.
A 10-piece Kushiyaki set from a random Izakaya..
And a hotel Washoku Japanese breakfast.
If only the Grand Slam at Denny's looked like this!