Okinawa cuisine and food specialties
I could not visit Okinawa without tasting the local cuisine. Everyone knows the benefits of delicious Japanese food, but I also wanted to discover more regional dishes. In Okinawa, the specialty is 'goya champuru'. This is a typical vegetable that appears to be cultivated only on these islands, at least on Ryukyu archipelago. To give you an idea, it looks like a large zucchini, but with the granularity of a pickle. Since a picture is always better than a (strange) explanation, here is a photo of what goya looks like.
Apart from different dishes based on goya champuru, we enjoyed Okinawa Soba. This is a noodle and meat soup served in a bowl. The juice is similar to ramen 🍜, with Udon noodles. The meat served is generally boiled pork, accompanied by small algae and katsuobushi (a special preparation of tuna). Sometimes they also add 'naruto', a fish slice. Note that there are two other varieties of Okinawa soba: Soki soba and the Tebichi soba.
I also tasted 'awamori', a sake 🍶 known as Japan's strongest alcohol. Okinawa's local beer, Orion, is pretty good although I retain a preference for Sapporo or Asahi.
A few statistics about Okinawa people who eat this kind of food:
- life expectancy of people older than 65 years: 86 years for women / 83.5 years for men (one of the best in the whole world);
- 15% of 'super-centenarians' (110 years) of the planet, whereas Okinawa has only 0.002% of the world population;
- 0.054% of the population centenary (twice as much as the rest of the world);
- 97% of the centenarians live without serious health problem;
- 5 times less of the most serious and frequent diseases that affect humanity.
This Okinawa diet model is followed by physical activity and a life philosophy, from which we could learn a lot.