"" Writer's Wanderings: Fresh Tofu Breakfast, Ishigaki, Japan

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Fresh Tofu Breakfast, Ishigaki, Japan

Our morning began with a beautiful rainbow promising a good day ahead. Once everyone was up and dressed, we headed out to a restaurant on our list of things to try. It was definitely off the beaten track. We had to go down a gravel/dirt road to get to it and it was in the middle of farmland.

The restaurant, Tofu Higa, specialized in fresh tofu. It is actually a tofu factory that specializes in Okinawan Yushi-tofu. It is processed fresh right there and is a fluffy version of tofu unlike the hard packed cubes you see in the grocery. Behind the building are fields of soy.

They make the tofu fresh each day and the restaurant serves meals until the tofu runs out. There are recipes online for making Yushi-tofu which is basically just the tofu being scooped out of the water after it has coagulated instead of being packed tightly into a container. Tofu is made from soy beans ground and cooked in water. An ingredient called nigari is added that makes it coagulate into curds. The nigari is a magnesium chloride extract from sea salt. The curds are scooped out and the remaining liquid is strained to produce soy milk.
Tofu kitchen

We arrived to find a long line of people waiting to get into the restaurant area which consisted of a covered patio (although one review said there is also an indoor area where you can dine). Our daughter-in-law checked and found out that they would probably run out of tofu before we could get in so we opted for plan B--find a restaurant near Kabira Bay which is where we wanted to spend the day.

Tofu breakfast
When we did return the next morning much earlier, we still waited a bit but we enjoyed a breakfast of tofu, rice, an egg omelet accompanied by a couple of slices of pickled radish and a glass of warm soy milk. There were several condiments including miso, a local pepper, hot sauce and a few other things I didn't recognize entirely. The tofu was soft but had little taste aside from the condiments you added. I liked the texture better than the pressed tofu that you usually see. It was a very filling breakfast.

But I digress. Once we realized we weren't going to eat at Tofu Higa, we got back in the van and drove toward Kabira Bay. There was a restaurant nearby that featured the Ishigaki soba noodles that I had read about. On mainland Japan soba noodles are usually made from buckwheat. On Ishigaki, they make their noodles with flour. They are a little more chewy.
Soba noodle breakfast

So, our breakfast turned out to be soba noodles in broth with several chunks of tender tasty pork belly on top of it. I wouldn't have thought to have it for breakfast but it tasted really good. The restaurant was also on the shoreline near the bay and it was a very pretty setting. I couldn't imagine how Kabira Bay could be any nicer.

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