"" Writer's Wanderings: Ishigaki For Foodies

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Ishigaki For Foodies

Knowing our son who has become quite a foodie since moving to Tokyo and traveling the world I've tried to get a little heads-up before our trip to Ishigaki, said to be a haven for foodies. On our very first trip to Japan years ago when he got married in Sapporo, our daughter-in-law's father who has quite a sense of humor, took the eleven of us Americans to a soba restaurant and sat across the room from all of  so he could watch how we ate the soba. Now soba comes in a broth usually and it is most politely eaten by slurping. He wanted to see if we could do it. I still remember his smile.

Soba noodles, unlike udon noodles, are made from buckwheat and are thinner. Usually they are served either cold with a dipping sauce or in hot broth. They are wonderful either way. When we get to Ishigaki however, they make their noodles a bit differently. The Yaeyama soba, made from flour, is a little like Ramen and is served in a sweeter broth than the buckwheat soba usually is. The broth and noodles are topped with thin sliced pork, fish cakes and green onions. Locals are said to spice it up a bit with some of their own spices and peppers.

We have had several versions of seaweed, a staple in Japan, but have never had what is called sea grapes. Now this sound interesting. The seaweed grows only in warm waters and the leaves are like little bubbles resembling clusters of small grapes.

I'm a lover of pork. Unfortunately the more delicious fat the better. I love pork belly and when my mother would make a "fresh ham" as she called it, my brother and I would fight over the crispy fat skin. Another on my list of must tries is rafute, Okinawan pork ribs. They sound delicious. Rafute is made from skin on pork sweetened and spiced before stewing and is tender enough to pull apart with chopsticks.

Of course the number one thing my son commented on was the Ishigaki beef. I'm sure we will be tasting that.

If you are intrigued and curious, here is a site I found with many of the local dishes described. Okay, I'm hungry.

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