GASTRONOMY 04 Okinawan Cuisine

Okinawan Cuisine

Okinawa Daiichi Hotel

Okinawa Daiichi HotelOkinawa Daiichi Hotel

A long-established hotel that started its business in 1955. In September 2011, the hotel moved near Kokusai Street
on Ichigin Street. It’s a rather small hotel with just five rooms, making guests feel like they’re in a secret hideout.
The lobby is decorated with various craftwork such as Okinawan textile, pottery, and glass. The hotel is popular for
its yakuzen Chinese herbal breakfast created by the okami, who gives attention to Okinawa’s traditional food culture.
For breakfast, over 50 different dishes made from Okinawa’s seasonal vegetables and other ingredients are laid out
on the table. Quite a number of guests come to this hotel for this breakfast to get a taste of Okinawan cuisine,
considered to be the secret to longevity.

About Breakfast

About BreakfastAbout Breakfast

In 1960, founder Yoshiko Shimabukuro began providing breakfast that was inspired by the medicinal herb dishes that her mother
used to make. She wanted guests “to eat breakfast made from plenty of Okinawan vegetables.” Since then, in hopes to see the smiles of more guests, she has made improvements and her lineup now includes over 50 dishes.
What’s notable is that the calories of all the dishes combined only amounts to about 600kcal. Ms. Shimabukuro’s second daughter Katsue Watanabe, who is a licensed vegetable sommelier, provides Okinawan vegetables
using traditional cooking methods, ensuring the healthiness as well as the nutritional qualities of the dishes.

※What is a vegetable sommelier?
A vegetable sommelier is a specialist certified by the Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association who is an expert in the types,
characteristics, nutrition, serving ideas that fit ingredients, and presentation of vegetables and fruit.

Keys to health and longevity

Keys to health and longevityKeys to health and longevity

Katsue Watanabe says that “Okinawan vegetables are hit with UV rays three to four times more than vegetables grown
in other prefectures and absorb the ocean air that is rich in minerals. As a result, to defend itself, the vegetables
here contain a lot of antioxidant components. By eating such vegetables, you can strengthen your immune system.”
There are also special cooking methods. For example, pork is blanched first to remove excess fat before cooking.
To cut down on salt intake, bonito broth is used instead of salt. Ms. Watanabe says that it’s also essential to utilize
the various cooking methods that have been passed down in Okinawa since many years ago.
The keys to the longevity of Okinawans may lie in the vegetables that are grown with rich soil and sunlight as well as
the unique cooking methods that have been used by Okinawans who have been health-conscious since long ago.

Founder  Yoshiko Shimabukuro

FounderYoshiko Shimabukuro

Born in Taiwan in 1928. After her father graduated from a trade high school in Naha, he worked as an accountant at Taiwan’s Office of the Governor-General when she was born. After the war, the family returned to Okinawa. She is the eldest daughter of 10 siblings. In 1955, she established Okinawa Daiichi Hotel. It moved to its current location in September 2011.

2nd generation okami (Chief Service Manager)  Katsue Watanabe

2nd generation okami (Chief Service Manager)Katsue Watanabe

After being chosen as the 4th Miss Okinawa, she worked as a TV show reporter and newscaster. She then acquired her chef’s license and began helping out her family business full time. She’s also a vegetable sommelier, International Chinese Medical Dietician, and a freelance announcer.

Okinawa Daiichi Hotel
1-1-12 Makishi, Naha, Okinawa, Japan