When we talk about Japanese cuisine, first of all we think about sushi and ramen. Uniquely, every prefecture in Japan has its own specialty. In this article, I want to introduce the food of the most southern and the most northern islands in Japan. The most southern island in Japan is Okinawa, while the most northern island in Japan is Hokkaido. Let's start with the south!
Photo : pelican on FlickrDue to Okinawa’s history, Okinawa food differs significantly from the more traditional Japanese dishes. Okinawa cuisine was influenced by South East Asia, United States, and China. Okinawa’s climate is also a little bit different from mainland Japan's climate. It has an effect on Okinawa’s agriculture and people's tastes.
This dish consists of taco-flavored ground beef served on a bed of rice. It commonly topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. It is said that taco rice was created in 1984, and it represents American food in Okinawa. The most famous taco rice restaurant in Okinawa is King Tacos, which is located in Kin, Okinawa. You can enjoy this taco rice for 600 yen.
Most Japanese people think that “Champuru” is Okinawan language, but the origin of that word is from Indonesia. It comes from the Indonesian word “Campur”, which means mix or stir-fry. There are many types of Champuru in Okinawa such as Goya (bitter melon) Champuru, Tofu Champuru, Fu Champuru, and Somen Champuru.
Photo : Wikipedia CommonsIt consists of goya (bitter melon), egg, tofu, and thinly sliced pork.
Photo : Hajime NAKANO on FlickrIt consists of stir-fried tofu with vegetables and sliced pork, or canned tuna. Okinawa’s tofu is firm and it will not fall apart when stir-fried. It is a little bit different from tofu found in mainland Japan.
Photo : pelican on FlickrIt consists of flatbread (made from wheat bran, water, and eggs), vegetables, and sliced pork.
It consists of somen (very thin noodles), vegetables, and sliced pork.
Photo : Yuichi Sakuraba on FlickrOkinawa Soba is also different from the soba in mainland Japan. Okinawa Soba is made of wheat rather buckwheat flour, and noodles are thicker than common soba. Similar to ramen, Okinawa Soba are served in a bowl of broth with some toppings such as soft boiled pork, green onions, fish cake, and red ginger.
Photo : Sara on FlickrThis is the first reason why many tourists from all over the country come to Hokkaido. You can enjoy the freshest seafood such as crab, sea urchins, salmon, herring, salmon roe, cod, squid, octopus, abalone, shrimp, etc. The most amazing one is the crab. Depending on the season, you will be able to enjoy Queen crab, Horsehair crab, and Blue king crab. I recommend you to try “Donburimeshi” (a bowl of rice topped with sea urchins, salmon roe, or scallops).
Photo : bryan... on FlickrThis is a Japanese grilled mutton dish with cooked vegetables, which is prepared on a metal grill. It is named after the man who founded the Mongol Empire. The mutton is usually dipped in shoyu (Japanese soy sauce).
Photo : sierravalleygirl on FlickrIt is a Japanese version of salmon soup, which is served in a hot pot. The soup is miso based, with many types of vegetables in it. This hot pot style is the best for Hokkaido people due to the cold weather there. The most important ingredients are salmon and tofu, which provides protein that can keep warmer even longer.
This is a dish from Ainu people of northern Japan. It consists of salmon that get frozen outdoors, and then is served with soy sauce and water peppers.
Photo : Wikipedia Commons“Ika” means squid, and “somen” means thin noodles. It is a type of sashimi, which is made from raw squid cut into fine strips, served with grated ginger and soy sauce.
I can say that both Okinawa and Hokkaido dishes are really delicious. If you are a seafood lover, I really recommend you to visit Hokkaido and try the best seafood there. If you love beach and tacos, I recommend you to visit Okinawa. I really love both Okinawa and Hokkaido too.