Due to its history, location, climate and culture, Okinawan cuisine is pretty unique and distinct from mainland Japanese cuisine. For example, sashimi and seafood does not play a very big role in its cuisine. Rather, the more prominent ingredients are pork and seaweed (all types).
This, I discovered, with my recent trip to Okinawan Diner Nirai-Kanai for a lunch outing with G. The restaurant is tucked in a tiny corner in the basement Liang Court. Honestly, it is only a place that most people would go to if they knew about it.
For a starter, we had mozoku seaweed to share. Like most seaweed dishes, this didn’t look the most appetizing. However, it actually tasted pretty good and refreshing. I liked eating it with the ginger provided as well.
For our lunch mains, we ordered noodles soup with stewed pork belly which also came with a small order of pork fried rice. For dessert, we were given peanut tofu with (soya sauce)?
Thoughts: As befitting an Okinawan restaurant, the pork belly was cooked perfectly – super tender and tasty. I really liked the broth of the noodle soup and I thought that the rice was equally tasty as well.
The only part of the lunch which was a bit weird for me was the peanut tofu dessert. I loved the peanut tofu, but I couldn’t connect that with the soya sauce. Hence, every time I had the tofu, my taste buds went haywire trying to grapple with the salty aftertaste. G enjoyed this combination, but I just couldn’t understand it.
That said, would love to come back and try other dishes specific to Okinawan cuisine. From initial impressions, they seem to have more selections during dinner time.
Add: Liang Court, #B1-01, 177 River Valley Rd