The people who live the longest in the world live on a small tropical island far south of the Japanese mainland called Okinawa. There is a large American presence on this island and you may have heard of it in reference to the famous Battle of Okinawa during World War II. But this place is absolutely magical and there is so many gastronomical experiences to be had! I lived here for two years and if you’re visiting this place then chances are you’ll be curious about what to eat in Okinawa. I know I was.
Never fear because I have outlined 10 of my favorite food options that you should definitely try out below!
This is the classical vending machine restaurant in Japan. You pick what you want from the menu on the vending machine, pay, and the machine poops out a ticket:
You take the ticket to the counter and they make your food! It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s genius! Behold, fried ramen!
2) Pizza in the Sky
The quintessential Japanese pizza joint. You can get pretty much any pizza you can dream of here and the Japanese have a habit of putting corn on pizza, which sounds weird, but is worth it because it’s SO DELICIOUS. This baby right here has pepperoni, corn, bacon, green peppers and onions on it.
Bovino’s Brazilian Barbeque
A fun fact about Okinawa is there is a sizeable Brazilian population. Bovino’s is about as good as it gets for Brazilian barbeque as far as I’m concerned and you can get drinks in pineapples, which really was the highlight for me!
You can expect a typical experience here with quality meat and fantastic pineapple. There’s a pineapple farm in Nago on Okinawa, so you know the pineapple that is served at restaurants is good quality and super fresh.
Four Seasons Steak House
I recommend you have the steak! Okinawan beef can’t be beat (even the McDonald’s beef patties are superior to American). This is a classy place and the prices match so if you’re traveling to Okinawa to celebrate a birthday or anniversary this is a great choice!
CoCo’s curry is an absolute institution on the island of Okinawa. If you ever are undecided about what to eat in Okinawa or which amazing restaurant to frequent…debate no more. Just go to CoCo’s. You can select the spiciness of your curry from no spice to a level 10. You can add cheese to your curry and I highly recommend you enjoy your curry with garlic cheese naan and a Coke. My curry of choice was fried chicken curry, but you can get pretty much anything. You can even buy Coco’s curry packets to bring home with you!
Sam’s by the Sea
The food here is so good, but you know what I enjoyed the most? The drinks! Because some of them come in cool cups that you get to take home with you! The ‘lion’ pictured here is now my toothbrush holder in my master bathroom!
Jakkepoes Pancake House
If you want a hearty American breakfast that’s actually better than any American breakfast you’ve ever had… Jakkepoes is the place to go. Try the strawberry banana pancakes. It comes topped with whipped cream and is served with strawberry syrup. Eat it with some coffee and cream and you will be buzzing with a caffeine and/or sugar high for the next couple of hours! This place is especially good if you’ve taken in the local Okinawan nightlife… things don’t end until six in the morning! Just in time for breakfast.
Admittedly, Okinawan McDonald’s really did it for me. But if you want the diner version of a sloppy, greasy, delicious hamburger, Gordie’s on the Sunabe Seawall is what you want! Get extra napkins!
Okinawa Sushi was my first and final Okinawan sushi experience. You will find this restaurant in American Village. My favorite was the Fire Salmon Roll with cream cheese and salmon wrapped in nori (seaweed paper) and rice then topped with salmon. But this roll is dinner and a show…the waiter comes out with a torch and sears the salmon on top of the roll!
It’s a good time and a delicious roll of sushi. Additionally, you can sit at a table by the windows, at the sushi bar, or, if you’re in the moment and feeling traditional, there is seating at the back which is sunk into the ground and you have to remove your shoes before entering the area. Why not go three times and sit at all three places?
Honestly, guys, the Japanese do things right. All things. If you need something quick and delicious you can grab a sandwich, fried chicken, or fried cheese curds and so many other things at Family Mart and you just won’t ever be sorry. It’s kind of like a 7-11 but it’s 1,000 times better. There are tons on the island so you will never be without one!
The thing about Okinawa is that it is a huge mish mash of culture and the food reflects it. Outside of my top ten favorite places to eat there is Greek, Italian and even Cajun cuisine on this tiny little island. If people live to be over 100 eating the food in Okinawa, I’m totally down with trying anything and everything there!
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