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Okinawan cooking?

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chiffonodd

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My wife read some stuff on the internet and now she wants us to eat like the Okinawans. 🙄 Not knocking anything, just a little skeptical of this whole miracle diet thing. But just in case it is the secret to eternal life and happiness, does anyone have any good English language Okinawan cooking resources? Cookbooks? Recipes? I have probably okay access to specialty ingredients here in Seattle so feel free to get all authentic.

Thanks KKF!
 

xxxclx

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From my experience Okinawan food is sort of a weird fusion of local Ryukyu culture, Japanese, Chinese, and to a lesser extent American influences. Dunno much about the longevity of Okinawans in particular but the combination of nice weather and good food certainly couldn’t hurt.

I am particularly fond of the bitter melon dishes. Bitter melons is a local staple and has some purported health benefits 99 Ranch has plenty of them around.

 

Markcg

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Diet is probably not as crucial to longevity as having good genetics, mild winters, strong community ties, and minimal occupational stress. Hope she likes spam
Completely agree with this. I find Okinawan traditional food less healthy than those from other parts of Japan, given how meat-centric it is. I've never lived there, but visit about 3 times a year. A lot of pork, spam or otherwise. I love the umi-budo (sea grapes) if you can get those, dressed with a bit of vinegar. My favorite dish when I go there is soki soba, basically udon in pork broth with pork ribs on top. The link below has some dishes posted by Japanese users, though I haven't tried any of them.

 

YumYumSauce

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Im American born Okinawan. Most of my relatives still live there. I grew up eating goya champuru, asajiru, soki, nebera, sata andagi, zousai etc and still do.

A lot of Okinawan cuisine is pretty simple and humble. Lots of pork, veggies, seaweed, tofu, stir frys and braises.

I would agree that lifestyle, climate, and societal factors all make a huge difference. As far as diet, I think its how you eat every day rather than cherry picking specific dishes or ingredients like spam which is admittingly hugely popular. As far as I know, its also not common to have fast food, soda, sweets and junk food every day like how prevalent it is in the U.S.

Not sure how well an Okinawan diet will translate to Westerners tho. I dont think most Westerners would be content with eating things like goya champuru and zousui on a daily basis.
 

YumYumSauce

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My wife read some stuff on the internet and now she wants us to eat like the Okinawans. 🙄 Not knocking anything, just a little skeptical of this whole miracle diet thing. But just in case it is the secret to eternal life and happiness, does anyone have any good English language Okinawan cooking resources? Cookbooks? Recipes? I have probably okay access to specialty ingredients here in Seattle so feel free to get all authentic.

Thanks KKF!
My sister lives up there. I visited twice last year and spent about a month total in the area. I'm certain you have better access to ingredients and produce than where I am. I found pretty much everything I needed between Central, H Mart, and Uwajimaya. I'm sure there's more places but again I spent only a month total out there.

I might have a go at some recipes
 

chiffonodd

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My sister lives up there. I visited twice last year and spent about a month total in the area. I'm certain you have better access to ingredients and produce than where I am. I found pretty much everything I needed between Central, H Mart, and Uwajimaya. I'm sure there's more places but again I spent only a month total out there.

I might have a go at some recipes
Uwajimaya is great! I already checked and they definitely have goya/bitter melon. There's probably some smaller speciality markets in the international district that carry all this stuff, too.

Seattle's undergoing a bit of a ramen renaissance too at the moment. My favorite was Aloha Ramen. The head chef is from Okinawa actually, funny enough. Unfortunately they just had a really bad fire at the restaurant but they say they're coming back stronger. If you make it back up to SEA I would definitely recommend checking them out.

And thanks for weighing in on Okinawan cooking. 👍
 

YumYumSauce

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Uwajimaya is great! I already checked and they definitely have goya/bitter melon. There's probably some smaller speciality markets in the international district that carry all this stuff, too.

Seattle's undergoing a bit of a ramen renaissance too at the moment. My favorite was Aloha Ramen. The head chef is from Okinawa actually, funny enough. Unfortunately they just had a really bad fire at the restaurant but they say they're coming back stronger. If you make it back up to SEA I would definitely recommend checking them out.

And thanks for weighing in on Okinawan cooking. 👍
Nice I'll have to save that recommendation. I didnt really get a chance to explore the food scene. Ate my share of dicks tho lol. My niece was born so mostly just hanging out with the fam, some camping and being my sisters "personal chef" ha.
 

Luftmensch

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My wife read some stuff on the internet and now she wants us to eat like the Okinawans. 🙄 Not knocking anything, just a little skeptical of this whole miracle diet thing.
[emphasis mine]

A recent explanation for clusters of supercentenarians is not genetics or diet... but possibly bad record keeping and fraud. In fact... the article suggests Okinawans have amongst the lowest life expectancy in the country and generally poor health outcomes. If you are feeling frisky you can read the pre-print research here and here.

The second, linked pre-print article has the following quote in the abstract:

In the United States supercentenarian status is predicted by the absence of vital registration. In the UK, Italy, Japan, and France remarkable longevity is instead predicted by regional poverty, old-age poverty, material deprivation, low incomes, high crime rates, a remote region of birth, worse health, and fewer 90+ year old people. In addition, supercentenarian birthdates are concentrated on the first of the month and days divisible by five: patterns indicative of widespread fraud and error.
This all said, there is nothing wrong with pursuing any cuisine or choice you enjoy. But it should be for the right reasons!
;)
 

DT74

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Lived there for a year, but it really all comes down to is just like many of these other areas with longevity, they eat lots of vegetables because they are poor and very little processed food, and they get exercise...
 

DavidPF

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The accurate and useful way to emulate Okinawans is to be poor, have poor parents, have no way to stop being poor, and live on a small island - not to find out what they had for dinner.
 

YumYumSauce

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The accurate and useful way to emulate Okinawans is to be poor, have poor parents, have no way to stop being poor, and live on a small island - not to find out what they had for dinner.
Wow. Generalizing much? Nice way to talk about a whole group of people there bud....
 

luuogle

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Parbaked said

My understanding is that longevity in Okinawa is partially due to the fact that Satsuma sweet potatoes were the diet staple.
I would have to agree with parbaked on the connection with Okinawans and having Satsuma sweet potatoes as part of their diet increases their vitality and longevity.
 

ecchef

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Lived there for 7 years. The older generations know (knew) how to eat healthy. Nowadays, thats pretty much gone with the pervasive American presence. The traditional cuisine, with few exceptions is pretty good though.
 

Keith Sinclair

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A lot of Okinawan decent in Hawaii. Their purple sweet potato are very healthy. I like chicken & bitter melon. Get nice melons in Chinatown.

Think older folks eat fresh vegetables, seaweed, tofu, bitter melon. Activity helps & not too much processed food.

Cut out almost all processed food, sugar etc. Lost around 20# not even thinking about it just eating healthy. Okinawan sweet potatoes, bitter melon, broccoli. Fish, Chicken, shrimp, crab. Lots of fresh fruit & vegetables. So not starving at all. Drink plenty cold green tea. Put gallon jar in sun couple hours to brew. Take out bags & put jar in refrig.

Heart, liver, kidneys, ravaged with American diet of sugar, processed foods, sodas. Even so called healthy foods can be a joke.
 

Keith Sinclair

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From my experience Okinawan food is sort of a weird fusion of local Ryukyu culture, Japanese, Chinese, and to a lesser extent American influences. Dunno much about the longevity of Okinawans in particular but the combination of nice weather and good food certainly couldn’t hurt.

I am particularly fond of the bitter melon dishes. Bitter melons is a local staple and has some purported health benefits 99 Ranch has plenty of them around.

Thanks going to make this except with no hormone skinless, boneless, chix thighs.

Nice simple dish I'll even add some bonito flakes like she did. Think my better half will like it. Been adding sweet tomatoes from garden to plenty dishes have plenty now.
 

Keith Sinclair

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Think this is a common dish in Okinawa. I have seen it at Okinawan festival & eaten it pork & Bitter melon Tofu, egg.
 

Keith Sinclair

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These go good in multiple dishes. Don't look much, but great flavor tomatoes from garden.

IMG_20210228_192858557_HDR.jpg


Have everything for this dish except bitter melon, think too much rain as all our bitter melon is local grown.
 

juice

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ecchef

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Think about this...Okinawa was basically an enormous US military depot for 26 years under ‘occupation’ and even after repatriation to this day. How concerned do you think the military was in disposing of everything from household trash to dioxin? All kinds of **** got flushed straight into the sea or buried without secondary containment. Military housing was/is notorious about having contaminated drinking water, asbestos, lead based paint, etc.
Perhaps one reason for the longevity is the Okinawan extended family. Elderly relatives aren’t shipped off to some crappy facility to live out their last years in misery. They continue to be part of everyday routine and live productively.
 
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