Exploring Amami: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Amami: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Amami: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Amami, a picturesque island located in the Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan, is not only known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, but also for its delicious and unique local cuisine. Influenced by its geographical location and historical connections, Amami's cuisine offers a wonderful blend of flavors and ingredients that will delight any food lover. In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through Amami, exploring its local dishes, recommended restaurants, and even sharing some traditional recipes for you to try at home.

Local Dishes

When it comes to local dishes in Amami, there is an abundance of mouthwatering options to try. Here are a few must-try dishes:

1. Keihan

Keihan is a traditional Amami dish consisting of chicken marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, then grilled or fried. It is served with steamed rice and a flavorful broth made from chicken bones. Keihan is a comforting and satisfying dish, perfect for a chilly evening.

2. Hiyajiru

Hiyajiru is a refreshing summer dish that consists of a cold soup made from miso, sesame, and various vegetables. The soup is typically poured over a bowl of rice, creating a flavorful and nourishing meal. Hiyajiru is a popular choice during the hot summer months in Amami.

3. Seaweed Tempura

Given its coastal location, it's no surprise that Amami's cuisine features an abundance of seafood. Seaweed tempura is a popular dish that showcases the local flavors. Fresh seaweed is lightly coated in a tempura batter and fried until crispy. It is often served as an appetizer or a side dish, adding a unique texture and taste to the meal.

4. Kabayaki

Kabayaki is a beloved Amami dish made with eel that is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then grilled to perfection. The eel is rich in flavor and tender in texture, making it a true delicacy. Kabayaki is often enjoyed during special occasions or celebrations.

When it comes to finding the best places to enjoy Amami's local cuisine, here are a few highly recommended restaurants:

Restaurant Aomoriya    Address: 1-1-10 Naze, Kasari-cho, Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture Phone: +81 997-53-6188 Aomoriya is a cozy and welcoming restaurant that offers a wide range of traditional Amami dishes, including keihan and seaweed tempura. The friendly staff and charming ambiance make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Restaurant Uminchu    Address: 3-10-3 Naze, Kasari-cho, Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture Phone: +81 997-53-1158 Uminchu specializes in fresh seafood dishes, including the famous kabayaki. The restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the ocean, adding to the dining experience. Don't miss their mouthwatering eel dishes and other seafood delicacies.

Restaurant Matsuzushi    Address: 1849-1 Hedo, Kasari-cho, Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture Phone: +81 997-23-4339 If you're a sushi lover, Matsuzushi is the perfect place for you. Known for its high-quality and fresh ingredients, this restaurant offers a wide variety of sushi and sashimi options. Indulge in their flavorful creations and experience the art of sushi-making in Amami.

Traditional Recipes

For those who want to bring a taste of Amami to their own kitchen, here are two traditional recipes that you can try at home:

1. Keihan

Ingredients: - 500g boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces - 3 tablespoons soy sauce - 1 tablespoon grated ginger - 2 cloves of garlic, minced - 4 cups of cooked Japanese short-grain rice - 4 cups of chicken broth - Green onions, chopped (for garnish) Instructions: 1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, soy sauce, grated ginger, and minced garlic. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. 2. Heat a grill or frying pan over medium heat. Cook the marinated chicken until it is cooked through and slightly charred. 3. In a separate pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 4. To serve, place a serving of rice in a bowl and top with the grilled chicken. Pour the hot chicken broth over the rice and chicken. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot and enjoy!

2. Hiyajiru

Ingredients: - 2 tablespoons miso paste - 1 tablespoon sesame paste - 1 cup of chilled dashi broth (made from kelp and bonito flakes) - Assorted chilled vegetables (such as cucumber, radish, and watercress), thinly sliced - Cooked Japanese short-grain rice Instructions: 1. In a bowl, whisk together the miso paste, sesame paste, and chilled dashi broth until well combined. 2. Prepare a plate with a bed of chilled, cooked rice. 3. Arrange the sliced vegetables on top of the rice. 4. Pour the miso and sesame broth over the vegetables and rice, creating a soup-like consistency. 5. Serve cold and enjoy the refreshing flavors of hiyajiru. Now that you have a guide to Amami's local dishes, recommended restaurants, and traditional recipes, it's time to embark on your culinary adventure. Whether you choose to dine in a local restaurant or try your hand at cooking authentic Amami dishes at home, savoring the flavors of this beautiful island will surely leave a lasting impression.