5 Delicious Places You Have To Try In Okinawa
You’ve moved to a new location. All around you are unfamiliar sights and sounds. People speaking noodly languages you don’t understand. You are curious to explore but don’t even know where to start.
As a military brat and a fellow world-traveler, I get it. I’ve been where you are on many occasions. Lucky for you, I was born and raised in Okinawa so I have a pretty decent idea of some of the best places to go. Consider me your personal tour guide!
I find that most people appreciate getting recommendations for food. I mean we all got to eat, right?
It took me a second to think of these top 5 recommendations. For a moment I considered going ALL Okinawan, but I decided to add a variety of restaurants that should help give the pickiest eater a place to start.
Sobaya Chirugwa (Soba Shop Chirugwa) is the only commercial restaurant chain that I’ll be adding to this list. There are definitely more mom-and-pop-hole-in-the-wall Okinawan restaurants that serve delicious Okinawan cuisine. But, I feel Chirugwa deserves its place on this list for being a great introduction to Okinawan food.
This is my families favorite Okinawan place to go. Growing up on the island my mom would take all my American friends to this place and every single one of them loved it.
To this day I still say (and my friends agree) that Chirugwa has some of the best fried rice I’ve ever had in my life.
- Original Pork Fried Rice
- Sōki (Marinated Pork Rib) Soba
- Okinawa Soba (Classic!)
- Pork Cutlet Set
SOBAYA CHIRUGWA ADDRESS:
There are 4 locations on the island. The one my family and I have been going to for ages is located here:
- JAPANESE ADDRESS: 〒904-2155 沖縄県沖縄市美原３丁目２１−６
- ENGLISH ADDRESS: 3 Chome-21-６ Mihara, Okinawa-shi, Okinawa-ken 904-2155, Japan
SOBAYA CHIRUGWA HOURS:
- Monday to Sunday: 11:30AM - 10PM
CORE CURRY (INDIAN)
For delicious Indian curry, I highly recommend Core Curry. It’s located down the street from the Sobaya Chirugwa listed above.
My boyfriend and I discovered this place when we visited Okinawa last year in-between our travels. My boyfriend isn’t big on Indian curry, preferring Japanese or Thai curry but even he wanted to keep coming back to this place. Their naan is baked fresh and the butter chicken just melts in your mouth.
CORE CURRY RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Naan (You just gotta have their naan)
- Butter Chicken
- Chicken Tikka Curry
- Chicken or Pork Curry
CORE CURRY ADDRESS:
- JAPANESE ADDRESS: 〒904-2155 沖縄県沖縄市美原３丁目１９−8
- ENGLISH ADDRESS: 3 Chome-19-8 Mihara, Okinawa-shi, Okinawa-ken 904-2155, Japan
CORE CURRY HOURS:
- Monday to Sunday: 11:30AM - 11:00PM
Thaicoon is located on the second floor of what looks like an apartment complex. Having been to Thailand this is one of my favorite not-in-Thailand places to get Thai food. Although the restaurant can’t hold too many people, the atmosphere and food are definitely worth it.
They offer a variety of food during their lunchtime buffet hours. Dinnertime turns into an order-from-menu style.
- Pad Thai
- Somtum (Papaya Salad)
- Raw Spring Rolls
- Fried Spring Rolls
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Gapao Rice (Thai Stir Fry Chicken Basil)
- JAPANESE ADDRESS: 〒904-0114 沖縄県中頭郡北谷町港１０−18
- ENGLISH ADDRESS: 10-18 Minato, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0114, Japan
- Tuesday - Friday: 11AM - 10PM
- Saturday: 11:30AM - 10PM
- Sunday: 11:30AM - 9PM
- Monday: CLOSED
CAPTAIN KANGAROO (BURGERS)
Captain Kangaroo is located on the Northern part of the island. This is going to be a bit of a drive for some people.
This little burger joint is known for having some mouthwateringly delicious burgers. The store only carries a limited quantity of burgers. They have been known to close down the store early if they sell out for the day. I’ve seen this happen on many occasions, especially on the weekends. Their burgers fly off the grill.
If you can make it, I recommend taking a drive up there during the weekday when it’s not as busy.
CAPTAIN KANGAROO RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Chicken Teriyaki Burger
- Sparky Burger
- The BBQ Burger
CAPTAIN KANGAROO ADDRESS:
- JAPANESE ADDRESS: 〒905-0006 沖縄県名護市 字宇茂佐１８３
- ENGLISH ADDRESS: Japan, 〒905-0006 Okinawa Prefecture, Nago, 字宇茂佐１８３
CAPTAIN KANGAROO HOURS:
- Open (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun) from 11AM - 8PM
- CLOSED ON WEDNESDAYS
KING TACOS (Mexican/Okinawan)
Okinawa is known for turning a taco into taco rice. Most places you go you’ll find taco rice on the menu. It’s just ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and underneath it all sit a nice pile of white rice.
According to history, King Tacos was responsible for starting this trend. They have several locations throughout the island, but the original King Tacos is located in the address below. Also, it’s the one that the late Anthony Bourdain had visited during his brief time in Okinawa.
KING TACOS RECOMMENDATION:
- Taco Rice
KING TACOS LOCATION:
- Japanese Address: 〒904-1201 沖縄県国頭郡金武町金武４２４４−４
- English Address: ４２４４−４ Kin, Kin-chō, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken 904-1201, Japan
KING TACOS HOURS:
Do you recognize any of them? Which ones have you tried? Which ones do you want to try? Leave a comment below and let people know what you think!