Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Okinawa delights in Hong Kong

Ever since I saw pictures of the seagrapes and jewel leaves I have always wanted to try them.

I have not been to Okinawa before but I was surprised to see that they have other cuisines in their cooking such as squid ink rice and salted pigs knuckle on the menu.

As there were so many items to try, we decided to try items that could not be easily ordered elsewhere, so we did not order much of sashimi/sushi/grilled items.

The restaurant is decorated really nice with lots of Japanese ornaments and displays.
Sea grapes:
They taste slightly salty and it was quite fun to eat them, the tiny capsules pop with fluid.
Jewel leaf:
These Jewel leaves were magic and stunning, they appear to have tiny water droplets on the surface but they are tiny sacs of liquid.
When you touch them those droplets do not come off.
Jewel leaves are scientifically called Mesembryanthemum crystallinum which is covered with large, glistening bladder cells, commonly called common ice plant, crystalline iceplant or iceplant.
When you eat them, they are delicate and crispy and just collapse into liquid.
Its almost like a fibreless vegetable!
Fermented beancurd:
This was just a small piece of beancurd but it was really flavoursome, the texture of this was really silky and melts in your mouth like butter.
The wine taste was really aromatic and could be quite salty so it is advised to eat with rice or other items.
I had it with the sausage platter and it was quite nice.
Home made peanut flavoured tofu:
This was solid tofu that looked like Burrata cheese. There were no crushed peanuts inside it.
The texture was really interesting because it was similar mochi and jelly mixed together and the taste was lovely and savoury.
Deep fried pork with taro:
I found this slightly sweet but the mashed taro and pork were really nice together.
There was more taro than pork which made the texture similar to croquettes.
Camembert cheese topped with spicy fish roe:
The fish roe was quite spicy, but the light cracker and creamy cheese tasted nicely together.
Fried rice with seaweed and pork:
Compared to the squid ink rice, I preferred the squid ink rice because the rice has a pan-fried taste (wok taste) which I am not accustomed to, but if you are local then it should taste nice.
Squid ink fried rice with egg:
(picture credit: thanks to Mjqueen7e)
I was surprised that they have adapted other cuisines in Okinawan dishes such as the squid ink rice.
The squid ink taste was really strong and there were pieces of octopus tentacles in it too.
The fried egg on top was nicely done and gave a nice colourful contrast to the rice.
Sea urchin wrapped in rudder fish:
The sea urchin was really fresh so there was no need for wasabi or soy sauce.
Sausage platter:
This was similar to Western sausages, they were also served with dijon mayonnaise.
The taste of the sausages were nicely balanced with the sauce.
Deep fried spicy pork knuckles:
This dish is really similar to the Chinese deep fried pork knuckles but it was really delicious.
The knuckles have been fried to the point that the skin is almost like gel and hard to pick up with chopsticks and when you eat it, it is almost gooey.
Overall they were really delcious but could have been less salty because in contrast to the rest of the dishes, this one had a really strong taste.
Dessert platter (okinawa black sugar cake, sweet purple potato icecream, baumkuchen cake:
The okinawa black sugar cake was served warm and it was not too sweet covered with bean flour.
The icecream was really nice and tasted natrual which I ate with the Baumkuchen cake because I felt that the butter taste was a bit too strong for me.
For drinks I had Bittermelon tea which was from Japan, it comes in a bottle and the bitter taste is not strong at all.
There is Jasmine tea too which comes in a huge can.
Dishes I would definately come back for: tofu, squid ink rice, jewel leaves, stir fried bitter melon and pork.

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