School Lunch in Okinawa for July 9-13

Monday July 9

Milk, wakame rice, shredded vegetable stir fry, skewered meatballs, and mozuku miso soup, miso cookie

Today’s meal had a variety of sea plants featured in the cooking.  In the rice, shredded wakame, a type of seaweed, gave a little extra flavor to the usual white rice.  In the soup, another common local seaweed, mozuku, complimented the rich miso flavors.  The stir fry  had a multitude of vegetables, including dried daikon (white radish) and konnyaku (a jelly made from the vegetable of the same name).

The miso cookie is a special omiyage from Kume Island.  The island is known for the salty taste of the miso cookies and most people buy them as souvenirs when they visit.

Tuesday July 10

Milk, barley rice, baked mackerel, vegetable chanpuru, Shikamuduchi soup

This meal follows the traditional Japanese formula of rice, soup, a bit of fish, and a side of vegetables.  Here the fish was a filet of Mackerel that had been de-boned and baked.  The vegetable was the Okinawan take on stir fry with the main ingredient being cabbage.  The soup is probably the most interesting of the bunch.  Essentially its a clear broth version of miso soup with meat and vegetables.  Instead of actual miso paste being left in, the particles are strained out or removed.  I’ve never seen this one made before, so I could be wrong, if you know more about シカムドィチ let us know in the comments!

Wednesday July 11

Milk, Okinawan soba, Mo-ui and cucumber salad

This meal is straight forward and hugely Okinawan.  Okinawan soba is a staple food here an is an adaptation between mainland Japanese soba and ramen.    Okinawa soba noodles are made from potato or flour instead of buckwheat as in the mainland.   The noodles are served in a pork broth and a slice of pork belly and usually fish paste slices are served on top.  Sometimes there are also chives thrown in.

The salad is a common preparation called ‘Ae’ where sweet and sour flavors are mixed together in a marinade for the included vegetables.  Mo-ui is a type of melon-ish vegetable found in Okinawa.  You can see pictures of it here.

Thursday July 12

Milk, millet rice, uzu and miso baked fish, fried hijiki seaweed, clear broth soup

This week really hit on the fish and rice, not that I’m complaining.  This was perhaps my favorite meal of the week.  Uzu is a citrus that adds a nice acidic brightness to the fish that pairs very well with the mellow earthy miso flavors.  I’m also a fan of hijiki which is a type of seaweed, but does not taste like it came from the ocean at all.  The black veg is stir fried with other vegetables and served as a side for the fish.  The soup was a clear broth with daikon and other vegetables.

Friday July 13

Milk, sakuna chahan, fried egg roll, chingensai soup

Sakuna is a small plant, which leaves have a strong semi-astringent taste.  In Japanese, it’s also known as ボタンボウフ. The leaves are often used in yagi-jiru (goat soup), though there’s usually an even split between people who like it and do not.  The roll is just your basic deep fried roll with a bit of meat and sauce inside.  The soup has the leafy bok choy cousin chingensai which is always tasty.

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