Bangkok Okinawa Restaurant Kinjo
When it comes to eating out in Bangkok, there are few surprises. So jaded foodies looking for a quick fix of adventure might want to pay a visit to this modest shophouse eatery, which features Okinawan cuisine, a freaky, fusion-y and sometimes fatty hodgepodge of ingredients from all over. Your hosts are three rambunctious kids and their mother with a bright smile but tired eyes. The menu begins with maps of Japan and photographs of Okinawan tourist attractions. Some of the food is familiar, such as excellent gyouza and takowasabi; however, many dishes can best be described as “challenging.” For example, if you decide to try the large tofu set, we recommend you order it first—while you’re still really hungry. There are 11 squares of hard tofu, each with a different strong-flavored topping. These include a sweet “jam” made of seaweed, fermented and pickled fish, pickled squid, salmon and shrimp roe and kim chii. Continuing with novel dishes, porknigiri is sushi made with egg, seaweed and Spam-like processed meat from a can; takorice is white rice topped with taco meat that comes out of an unrefrigerated pouch, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese; and okinawasoba is a scary looking plate of fried noodles with cabbage, bean sprouts, leeks, bacon, squid and black ink. Make sure you also try the succulent rafuty, fatty pork legs slow-cooked in a sweet and thick soy sauce. Instead of sake, follow bites of fat and skin with sips of the fiery Okinawan spirit, awamori, or some locally made shochu. Another specialty of the house is their awesome jiimaamitofu, a generous 200g serving of creamy homemade tofu that has an almost chewy texture. Okinawans live longer than just about everyone else on the planet, and, along with tofu, the prominent role seaweed plays in their diet probably helps. At FRO, there are a few choices on the “seaweedscooking” (sic) page; we like mozukuzu, pickled seaweed that is (slightly) slimy on the outside while crunchy on the inside. Finally, don’t overlook the condiments on your table, in particular the shimatotoragashii, awamori infused with prik kii noo. It is highly addictive, and makes everything–from soup to sorbet (lemon ice)—taste better.