Okinawan Food and Dance the Talk of the Town in Miyakojima
10 August 2015
Ryukyu no Kaze
Ryukyu no Kaze "Paikaji"(meaning "warm southerly winds" in the Okinawan dialect) located within the premises of Miyakojima Shigira Resort, is an open-air dining area with a distinctly Asian flavor. The high and elegant wooden ceilings will protect you from rain or sun while you savor a variety of Asian dishes, including the specialties of Miyakojima, in an open food-court style. Paikaji’s diverse menu, a highlight of the dining area, offers authentic dishes of Okinawa and Miyakojima such as Mozuku (seaweed vinegar), sea grapes, and Goya Chanpuru (Bitter Melon Stir Fry with Tofu and Egg). Ryukyu no Kaze “Paikaji” is a mecca of Miyakojima Cuisine and souvenirs that is sure to satisfy the senses.
 
Goya Chanpuru

Goya Chanpuru & Other Okinawan Cuisine

This dining area mainly showcases traditional Okinawan food—dishes typically eaten in the average Okinawan household, or sold in local food stands, known as “yatai,” throughout the region. These include Goya Chanpuru (bitter mellon, egg, tofu, and spam) and Somin Chanpuru (thin noodles stir-fried lightly in oil with green onions and meat), both representative dishes of Okinawa, as well as Soki Soba and Spam riceballs. Okinawan dishes, with their extensive use of bitter mellon and other healthy ingredients, are thought to be one reason why the Okinawan population lives so long! Bitter mellon is still rarely used in mainland meal recipes, yet another reason to try it while you’re here.
 
BBQ set

Awamori Sake & Yet More Asian Delicacies

There is also a wider selection of typical food stand fare beloved throughout Japan and the rest of Asia. In addition to Yakisoba (fried noodles) and stir-fried vegetables, you can enjoy Chinese dim sum such as gyoza (dumplings), which have penetrated the Japanese culinary scene in the form of deep-fried delicacies. Families will particularly enjoy the lunch set or the BBQ set, a plentiful bounty of meat, pork, chicken, wieners, scallops, and even squid. There is also yakisoba or rice, as well as salad and fruit.
If you’re thirsty after a dip or just want to unwind, the dining area carries soft drinks and a large variety of beer, and Awamori sake, a distilled Okinawan liquor that may be up to 60% alcohol at its strongest, is a definite highlight.

Finish off your meal with delectable ice cream from Blue Seal, Okinawa’s premier ice-cream brand, which began as an American company but has flourished in Okinawa for over sixty years. Cool off with their locally famous “Polar Bear” ice cream sandwich, or sample any one of over 30 endearing flavors including “Banana Susannah,” “Sugar Cane,” and “Okinawan Salt Cookies.”
 
 Shisa and Ryukyu Glass

Okinawa Souvenirs, from Okinawa Shisa to Ryukyu Glass

The "Ryukyu Ritou Market," Open from 9 AM to 10 PM, has the largest selection of souvenirs in Miyakojima and offers gifts that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Treat your friends and family to snacks and dishes made using Yuki-sio, a special salt found only on the island, or purchase the salt itself to experience its exotic flavor at home. In addition to those popular products, the Ryukyu Ritou Market also carries an array of items such as shell-work, shiny Ryukyu Glass, and colorful Shisa (Okinawan lion-dog statues) made of porcelain. You may have seen larger Shisa statues, usually paired, guarding houses or gates throughout the island. According to Okinawan mythology, these creatures can act as protectors, one warding off evil spirits and the other holding onto good ones. Highly unique keepsakes and crafts like these form the backbone of Okinawan culture and can be treasured for years to come. Whether you choose to buy or simply wish to look around, the diverse selection is sure to captivate—please come by and see for yourself.
 
Okinawan dance

Okinawan Dance, Sanshin Music Highlight Resort Nightlife

Beyond food and drink, the dining area also offers a glimpse into the Okinawan culture of old. On the stage next to the dining area, you can to revel in free live performances of Eisaa (Okinawan dance), which is traditionally enacted during the Bon festival in honor of ancestral spirits. Typically performed by young people in the community, this dance is an essential part of Okinawan cultural heritage. Dances are accompanied by Sanshin (traditional Okinawan three-stringed instrument)-playing, during which the entire dining area comes together to feast, as well as to sing and dance along to the music. These events are a rare treat that will make your trip even more memorable.

Whether lunching and souvenir shopping during the day or taking in Eisaa and Sanshin performances at night, The "Pai-kaji" Open-air Dining Area and the Ryukyu Ritou Market both have something to fit your mood no matter the time of day. Your Miyakojima trip simply won’t be complete until you drop by for a visit—we look forward to seeing you there.
 

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