Throwback Rice Packaging

Spotted: awesome throwback rice packaging.  I’ve been seeing this packaging more and more around town from specialty Japanese food and/or rice shops.  This 2kg bag of rice from Arobo in Hiroo is a more modern take on the design.

Note: Japanese rice is a great omiyage (souvenir).  It’s flavorful with a great texture that’s hard to find outside of Japan – especially if it’s from this year’s harvest!  Visit one of the specialty rice shops like Suzunobu in Meguro.

Sobatei Takenoko

Sobatei Takenoko Restaurant in Taketomi Island Okinawa by ohmyomiyage

You don’t think I’d post about Taketomi without some foodie posts, did you? :)  My husband is a noodle fanatic so he tried to get as many bowls of okinawan soba in his stomach as possible.  Sobatei Takenoko on the northwest side of ‘downtown’ Taketomi was one of our favorites.  Friendly service, a homey atmosphere, great noodle texture and homemade soup make this place a must-eat!  Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from West Pier, which makes it convenient too!

Sobatei Takenoko Restaurant in Taketomi Island Okinawa by ohmyomiyage

There is a casual indoor area with a few tables and a tatami area and an outdoor patio with picnic tables.  If you choose to eat outside, order and pay first at the cashier.  Don’t forget to add awamori hot sauce that’s the specialty in Okinawa!

Yup that’s my husband’s behind.  He can never wait for my photo ops when it comes to eating noodles!

そば処 竹の子 (そばどころ たけのこ)
Open 10:30-4; 6:30-12 or until noodles are sold out

Taketomi Island Beaches

kondoi beach taketomi island okinawa by ohmyomiyage

It’s surprising that Taketomi is so low key.  With beaches like this, I’d expect more of a Waikiki situation, but that’s not the case at all.  There are no beach hawkers or over priced vendors.  In fact, you won’t even find a vending machine.  It’s as if you’ve discovered a pristine paradise that no one knows about yet.  Just park your bike rental and enjoy.

kondoi beach taketomi island okinawa by ohmyomiyage

There are a few beaches on Taketomi, but my favorite is Kondoi Beach (photo above).  Even though it has crystal clear water, it’s too shallow to swim or snorkel.  During low tide, you can walk to a sand island quite a ways out.   With a view of both Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands and white sand, I could spend all day here.  My advice? Pick up a bento from town and have a picnic.

Another beach that’s less for picnicking and more for sightseeing is the West Pier.  It used to be a customs port for all boats entering the Yaeyama Islands, but it was moved to Ishigaki a few hundred years ago.  A mildly-dilapidated concrete pier still stands where you can walk out to a beautiful view (photos below).

west pier taketomi island okinawa by ohmyomiyage

It’s a nice walk up the mossy coastline.

west pier taketomi island okinawa by ohmyomiyage

Further down the west coast is Kaiji Beach where you can find sand shaped like stars, broken off from ocean coral. Bring along a piece of black paper, which makes it easier to separate the stars from the regular sand.  Taketomi is definitely doable in a leisurely day.  It was the highlight of my trip to Ishigaki!

Koregusu: Awamori Chilli Sauce

koregusu okinawan chilli sauce by ohmyomiyage

Happy Friday!  Since the last few (and next few) posts have been about Okinawa, I thought it would be good to introduce a condiment that’s ubiquitous to all the islands – Koregusu (pronounced: ko-ray-goo-sue).  It’s a bottle of awamori – the local alcohol made from rice – mixed with lots of red hot chill peppers.  You’ll find it at many of the restaurants especially okinawan soba joints.  A little bit goes a long way and adds a nice, slow bite to your dishes.

What are your favorite hot sauces?