Shokudo's have a serious soft spot with me. I think they roughly translate to cafeterias or diners but they're simple low brow eateries that are a mainstay for the average middle class Japanese. Teishoku set meals are the cornerstone of any shokudo menu and they're usually all very good deals.
I've had my share of eating at Shokudo's growing up in Okinawa, especially in High School during summer break where friends and I would sign up for the much better paying short term blue collar jobs. Sure beat minimum wage McDonald's and with the added benefit of returning to school in September extra fit with a really nice tan, haha.
But I also know for a fact when it came to lunch time, nobody savored and completely enjoyed their meals more than we did. I still don't remember food ever tasting better and still believe that a good amount of physical labor and sweat is the best secret ingredient/spice there can be. BTW, this technically means that any over the top frou-frou "Ultimate Meal" menu course is incomplete without several hours lapping the community pool first (or help build a retaining wall out of cement blocks for a day from 7AM).
Gajimaru Shokudo was one of many that we visited often. (Gajimaru is Okinawan for banyan tree.)
Although Goya bitter melon these days are available year round it's best tasting during summer when in season and so wasn't offered. Scouring other options, a week into my visit I could tell I was a bit over playing tourist and ordered what I've truly been craving the day.
The teishoku here at Gajimaru simply called "Lunch" (ランチ). Comes with a protein party of tonkatsu, sunny side fried eggs, and grilled luncheon meat (Spam) as the main. Rice, a shredded cabbage salad, tsukemono pickles and hot (tangy dark red) miso soup completes the set at a mere 650-yen (~$6.50).
The spam and eggs are under the katsu. The katsu is the pounded thin, large diameter style you see a lot in Shokudo's on the island. And I already know what some are thinking. It eerily looks close to a Hawaiian plate lunch doesn't it? With miso soup though which to me is a necessity to any meal (which is why I tend to wish plate lunches came with), but that's just me and my particular upbringing..
Shokudo is a new label tag from today. Please keep an eye on it. Along with Warm Fuzzies!.. ;)