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.
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.
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!
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.
Here’s your chance to win a limited edition, Pepsi-themed Yu Yamada screensaver. Head on over to the Pepsi Japan site and note that you’ll need to click on “Start” when you see Yu Yamada otherwise you may end up with a screensaver of one of the other image characters.
Spider pizza was featured on a Japanese TV show recently — it’s a real dish that you can order at a pizzeria in Okinawa, owned by the guy who runs an association that promotes insect-eating. I bet if you can get over your arachnophobia it’s crunchy and delicious. He makes beetle pizza, too.
Um, yeah! Bet it’s tasty and good for your health. (Not.)