Okinawa Cooking

Goya Dog

(Ingredients)
Goya
Egg
Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
Spam (pork luncheon meat)
Hot dog buns
Black pepper
Karyu Tori-dashi (chicken broth)
Salad oil

The next three issues of OJ Magazine will feature recipes from Okinawa, one of my favorite destinations in Japan. The first dish features a hot dog made with goya, Okinawa’s signature vegetable, and pork luncheon meat.

Goya is often called nigauri or tsururei, for its bumpy exterior resembling Godzilla’s back and its extremely bitter taste. However, recent food products have toned down the taste, taking away the bitter bite we loved so much.

Canned pork luncheon meat was commonly used as rations during World War II. After the war, American food supplies arrived in Okinawa much earlier than on mainland Japan and, with the Okinawan penchant for pork already well engrained in the local taste buds, the luncheon meat quickly became a staple in the Okinawan household. America’s Spam and Holland’s Tuplip are two of the best-known brands.

The sandwich takes its name from the local dialect – nuyaruba, which roughly translates to “What happened?” It’s a fitting name for the mish-mash of tastes. It is, however, delicious. So, if you find yourself in Okinawa, definitely make it a point to stop by.

(Directions)

(1)Cut the goya lengthwise, dig out the spongy flesh and seeds, and thinly slice. For those who want to tone down the bitterness, soak the goya in saltwater prior to slicing.

(2)Lightly heat the goya in a well-oiled frying pan, mixing in the katsuobushi and egg until it resembles scrambled eggs. Season the mix with black pepper and karyu tori-dashi, then place in bun and top with lightly cooked pork luncheon meat.