This is pretty cool. It was back in June that Starbucks created their special Okinawa chinsukou Frappuccino and now they are bringing out the Been There series. So the next time you stop by a Starbucks in Okinawa be sure to pick up a mug, stainless steel bottle, and/or a Starbucks card.
We’re so happy to see a return of Shari’s Okinawan FEASTival! This year it’s running from September 1st to the 14th and there’s a lot of food 🍱 and drink 🍺 to be excited about. 😋
From the opening of American Cafe in 1923 to today, there has been over 350 Okinawan owned restaurants in Hawaii. Most of the original restaurants have closed but there is a new generation operating today. In the spirit of Yuimaaru (communities supporting one another, especially in times of need), we are asking the community to help support these local Okinawan owned restaurants. This year, FEASTival is teaming up with the Okinawan Festival! Festival will be virtual this year at okinawanfestival.com on September 4th & 5th.https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/about
Be sure to check out the website’s FEASTival Specials page as there are limited time specials that can be pre-ordered. Be sure not to miss the handy text-only timeline version Shari created so you won’t miss out any specials.
The Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s (HUOA) popular Okinawan Festival will sadly be virtual again this year but we’re still excited for it. They also have a t-shirt design contest going on that ends July 19th (check out their website for more details). Looks like for this year they’ll even be doing smaller in-person events and we loved the Okinawan FEASTival from last year so it’s great that they’re continuing it. This year it will take place on September 4th and 5th so be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel to catch the virtual festivities.
We learned a lot in 2020 as we created our first ever Virtual Okinawan Festival. This year, we will continue our virtual format for the continued safety of our community. HUOA will continue to strive to bring you the best our culture has to offer with all the entertainment, singing, dancing, interviews and fun videos from the comfort of your own home. We will also be celebrating Okinawan FEASTival and encourage you to pre-order food from your favorite Okinawan-owned restaurant.
In an effort to elevate the experience, we will also have a number of drive-through food orders and small in-person events. Be sure to check with your HUOA club and this website for more details.https://www.okinawanfestival.com
They also have a presale for this year’s festival merchandise at https://shophuoa.com. Presale ends July 24th so don’t miss out!
(h/t JTB USA Honolulu)
To celebrate its 25th anniversary of coming to Japan, Starbucks is commemorating it with special Frappuccinos for each prefecture in Japan. Okinawa (#47) gets one made with chinsukou called the Karii Chinsukou Vanilla Caramel Frappuccino. It’s available from June 30th to August 3rd or while supplies last.
The product focuses on the traditional Okinawan confectionery “Chinsuko,” which has been carefully passed down from the Ryukyu dynasty to the present day. With a vanilla flavor base and a gentle taste of milk, put a whole “Chinsuko” with a slightly salty taste and blend it with ice and combine it with caramel sauce. To finish, top with whipped cream and crushed “chinsuko”. The crispy and crushed “Chinsuko”, vanilla flavor, and caramel sauce are intertwined, creating a dessert-like cup with a slightly salty and gentle flavor and a pleasant texture.https://www.starbucks.co.jp/cafe/jimoto_frappuccino/okinawa/
So for those outside of Okinawa, if you can get your hands on chinsukou I wonder if it’ll be possible to make your own? Request a vanilla caramel Frap and make your own chinsukou crumbles? 🤔
I recently went to check out a restaurant chain from Okinawa that has a location in Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) called Potama (short for Pork Tamago Onigiri). In Okinawa, pork usually refers to pork luncheon meat that’s made by Hormel (Spam) or by Tulip. Hawaii has a similar popular local food called Spam musubi that’s readily available at convenience stores and some restaurants so I was curious to eat at Potama which is made fresh after ordering and includes an egg (tamago) with several topping choices.
The Potama Waikiki is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Waikiki Food Hall which is a couple minute walk from the center’s regular food court. Before heading out to the restaurant, I had already picked out a few choices that were exclusive to Hawaii only to learn that only a limited menu was being served for now (likely due to the pandemic). The Hawaii-exclusive items are: Loco Moco, Garlic Shrimp, Fried Green Tomato Wasabi Tartar, mochiko chicken, and mac salad (the last two items aren’t onigiri). Sadly, none of these were being offered. Outside of the Hawaii-exclusive items, the ones that feature Okinawan food is next on my list and while they do have Abura Miso (andansuu) they don’t have Goya Tempura (we’ve been told it’s coming). So if you do head out there, be sure to check out their current menu on the Waikiki Food Hall page instead of their official website.
I ended up getting the regular Po-tama (yeah, I know it’s basically a Spam musubi with an egg), Andansuu (Abura Miso), Cheese Ketchup, French fries, and iced green tea drink. I’ll definitely be checking the place out again when they have more menu items available. I’m looking to try their Goya Tempura, a couple of the Hawaii-exclusive items, mac salad, Sanpin Tea with Shikwasa drink, and either the iced or hot coffee if it’s from Chatan Coffee. Gori did a review of their Makishi location on his YouTube channel.
Uchinanchu are lucky to live Hawaii as we have many Okinawan-owned restaurants and businesses. During the pandemic, many of these businesses have been hit hard so let’s do our best to help them and others too. The Okinawan FEASTival website has a list of places to support and keeps a Google Sheet with up-to-date information for what’s open or closed.
Here’s an excerpt from their website:
We are extremely lucky to have so many Okinawan dishes regularly available for us to eat. Not just for a special week but ALL YEAR. Okinawan dishes were not on regular menus but added on by request. The owners thought Okinawan food would not sell. If we don’t regularly order these dishes, then it will prove it’s not worth it to keep on menus. 😦 We need to prove that wrong!https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/okinawan-dishes
I’ve been fortunate to have visited many of these places in the past so it’s definitely time to make my rounds again. Maybe I’ll see some of you out there. 🙂
The manjū pictured for the video’s thumbnail is my grandmother’s favorite and it’s become one of mine’s too. Check out the I Will Always Travel for Food’s YouTube channel for Day 1’s video as well as upcoming and archived videos.
My favorite awamori. 🙂
Makabe Chinaa had a lucky escape: you can still see bullet holes in some of the beams. Then in the immediate postwar period, the house served as a town office and a clinic before becoming what it is today — a much-loved tea shop and restaurant that serves up a large portion of history along with its signature sara soba to visitors heading to the nearby Okinawa Battle Site National Park.
Read the entire article by Kate Crockett at The Japan Times Online.