Pork is the Basis for Many Local Delicacies|
A large percentage of Okinawan meals utilize pork as an essential ingredient. Pork meat contains plenty of vitamin B1, which is a non-saturated fatty acid that helps the body break down cholesterol and proteins. Many scientists suggest that the Okinawan diet is one of the primary secrets to Okinawan longevity.
In Okinawa, just about every part of the pig is used for food except for its squeal. If you drop by the Heiwa Dori food market in Naha, or any of the other markets on island, youíll be able to see for yourself all the parts of the animal that are for sale and available for use in meals. You can even purchase pig face, which is used in soup or as decoration on special occasions, as well as the feet, stomach, tongue and ears.
Typical, less extreme, pork dishes can be found in almost every restaurant on island; they are also popular in packed lunches called bento.
Pork is Prepared in Many Ways
There are a number of ways that the Okinawans cook pork, the most typical being by simmering it a long time, thus removing much of the fat and enhancing the taste. Pork is also often served with vegetables and seaweed, as this significantly adds to the flavor of the dish. A few of the most common dishes utilizing pork are:
Soki - A dish of spare ribs served with seaweed and soup. Adding soba noodles makes it into one of the islandís favorites, soki soba.
Tebichi - Boiled pigís feet is a delicacy particular to Okinawa. The dish is made by cooking the feet for a long time on low heat, which makes them soft, glutinous and easy to eat.
Mimiga - Marinated pork ears cut in thin strips make for a crunchy snack Okinawans love to munch on. It is believed that the dish originated in China and was introduced to Okinawa during the Ryukyu Kingdom trading days.
Rafute - A healthy chunk of pork cooked in soy sauce and brown sugar is an essential part of any Okinawan feast.