Enjoy tasty noodles near Okinawa's Shuri Castle
Located near the Shureimon gate of Shuri Castle, Shuri Horikawa is a popular Okinawan noodle shop among tourists.
“Most of our customers are tourists who visit us after strolling around the castle,” says Orie Horikawa, who runs the restaurant with her husband.
Despite being only a 3-minute walk from the popular and busy tourist attraction, the restaurant is situated in a quiet narrow back alley and offers a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere.
Upon entering, customers take off their shoes and then purchase a meal ticket from a machine and hand to the staff. The wooden interior is stylish and is offset by a lot of Shisa, traditional lion-dog statues.
“Our customers often say the nostalgic interior makes them feel as if they were in a café rather than a traditional noodle shop,” Horikawa said.
She said the must-sample dish at her eatery is Horikawa Soba for 630 yen ($5), a noodle with stewed pork spare ribs on top.
According to Horikawa, they don’t boil the noodles. They simply put raw noodles into bowl with pork and then add hot broth before they are about to serve.
“Serving it this way, the home-made noodle can be enjoyed for its chewy and stuffy texture,” Horikawa said.
The broth is made by stewing bones of Yanbaru Shimabuta (a brand of Aguu pork) and dried bonito flakes, and then blended with a fish-based soup for whole a day to create complex profound flavors, Horikawa said.
“The simple yet full-flavored broth goes along well with the extremely softened pork spare ribs and the chewy noodles,” she said.
Horikawa also recommended Osusume Set for 1,000 yen. The set includes noodle, tempura made with aosa (seaweed), juushii (rice cooked in stock with vegetables and pork) and shekwasha (flat lemon) juice.
And if it’s hot outside, she said the Mizu Soba (cold noodle) for 750 yen is really refreshing.
Besides these noodles, the shop offers mujijiru, which feature local taro (potatoes) for 500 yen. According to Horikawa, this soup is very rare to offer at any shop.
“Local taro is not easily available year round, so it is hard to make a regular menu item,” she said, adding that the restaurant has a contract with local farmers which enables it to provide this unique soup to customers.
Shuri Horikawa doesn’t take reservations. Although it can accommodate 28 customers, the shop is always filled between 12:30 and 2 p.m., so expect to wait in line, according to Horikawa.
But you’ll be glad you did.
Hours: Fri – Wed, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Address: 1-27 Shuri Mawashi-cho, Naha City (10-minute walk from Yu-rail Shuri Station)
URL (in Japanese): www.syurihorikawa.com/index.html
Tel: 098-886-3032 (Japanese)