Exploring Kumejima's Authentic Cuisine & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Kumejima's Authentic Cuisine & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Kumejima's Authentic Cuisine & Traditional Recipes


Welcome to Kumejima, a beautiful island located in Okinawa, Japan! Known for its stunning beaches and rich cultural heritage, Kumejima also offers a variety of delicious and traditional cuisine to explore. In this guide, we'll take you on a culinary journey, highlighting the island's most authentic dishes and sharing traditional recipes for you to try at home.

1. Okinawan Soba

Okinawan Soba is a must-try dish when visiting Kumejima. Unlike traditional Japanese soba noodles, Okinawan soba noodles are made from wheat flour and are thicker in texture. The rich and flavorful broth, made from pork and bonito flakes, is simmered for hours, resulting in a savory and robust flavor. Toppings often include juicy slices of tender pork belly, green onions, kamaboko (fish cake), and pickled ginger.

2. Rafute

Rafute is a classic Okinawan dish that showcases the island's love for pork. It is made by slowly simmering pork belly in a sweet and savory sauce until it becomes incredibly tender and succulent. The dish is often served with a side of steamed rice and pickled vegetables.

3. Jimami Tofu

Jimami tofu is a unique and delicious tofu dish that originated in Okinawa, including Kumejima. Unlike regular tofu, jimami tofu is made with ground peanuts, giving it a nutty and creamy flavor. The tofu is typically served chilled and garnished with soy sauce, seaweed, and spring onions. It makes for a refreshing and healthy appetizer or side dish.

4. Mozuku

Kumejima is famous for its mozuku seaweed, which is known for its slimy and crunchy texture. Mozuku is often served chilled and dressed with vinegar and soy sauce, creating a refreshing and tangy salad. It is not only delicious but also packed with minerals and nutrients, making it a healthy addition to your meal.

5. Goya Champuru

Goya champuru is a stir-fried dish that is popular throughout Okinawa, including Kumejima. It features bitter melon, locally known as goya, combined with tofu, eggs, and various vegetables. The vibrant dish is seasoned with soy sauce and sometimes flavored with pork or spam. Goya champuru is a great representation of the diverse flavors found in Okinawan cuisine.

6. Traditional Recipes

If you want to recreate the flavors of Kumejima at home, here are two traditional recipes for you to try:

a. Kumejima-Style Soki Soba

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 kg pork spareribs
  • 500g soba noodles
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece kelp (about 15 cm)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Naruto fish cake slices (optional)
  • Instructions:
  1. Place the pork spareribs in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
  2. Add the kelp and simmer for 1 hour until the pork is tender.
  3. Remove the pork from the pot and set it aside. Discard the kelp.
  4. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to create the broth.
  6. Strain the pork broth into a clean pot and bring it to a simmer.
  7. Divide the cooked soba noodles into four bowls.
  8. Slice the pork into bite-sized pieces and place them on top of the noodles.
  9. Pour the hot broth over the noodles and pork.
  10. Garnish with chopped green onions and Naruto fish cake slices, if desired.
  11. Serve hot and enjoy!

b. Kumejima-Style Rafute

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 2 cups sake
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, sliced
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Instructions:
  1. Cut the pork belly into large chunks.
  2. In a large pot, combine soy sauce, sake, sugar, garlic, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Add the pork belly to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours until the pork is tender and the flavors are well-infused.
  5. Remove the pork from the pot and set it aside.
  6. In a separate pan, heat some oil and pan-fry the pork until browned and crispy on both sides.
  7. Transfer the pork to a serving plate and garnish with chopped green onions.
  8. Serve with steamed rice and pickled vegetables for a complete meal.
  9. Enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of Kumejima-style rafute!


Kumejima's authentic cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, showcasing the richness of Okinawan cooking. From savory Okinawan soba to tender rafute, the island offers a diverse range of dishes to satisfy your taste buds. By trying these traditional recipes at home, you can experience a taste of Kumejima no matter where you are. So, grab your apron and embark on a culinary adventure filled with flavors from this enchanting island!