American foodies often plan their restaurant outings around those owned by hip, young chefs or eateries with high praise on Yelp. But in Japan, the hottest trend is dining out at restaurants and cafes where both the meal and the decor is “instabae.”
Since Okinawa is the birthplace of taco rice, a local take on the taco with international fame, some of the best to be had can be found almost anywhere on island. A good taco, on the other hand, well, that’s not so easy to come by.
Located near Sunabe Seawall in Chatan Town, Tacos-ya is a small shop located on a backstreet. But what the taco joint lacks in size, it’s makes up in a generously-sized reputation that has made its way around the island.
Slow jazz relaxes patrons in a dimly lit lounge with abstract and tribal art pieces covering every wall. What may sound like another local coffee shop is a restaurant for Mexican cuisine.
Well, actually, just tacos.
Smack-dab in the middle of nowhere is one of the most delicious Tex-Mex restaurants I’ve found in Japan. Mike’s Tex-Mex is quite a trek from Shinjuku station, but their salsa and margaritas are worth it.
Summer in Japan gets scorching and steamy. Mid-summer Temperatures often reach 95 F or higher depending on the region. Along with beer, watermelon and soomen (cold udon noodle), kakigoori (shaved ice) is a popular cold food that cools us down during summer.
Unlike in South Korea or Bhutan, winter in Okinawa doesn’t take a lot of spicy hot-pot-type dishes to get through. That may be one reason why the subtropical island didn’t offer many spicy foods in the past.
The Wing King in Chatan is popular spot for anyone craving that classic taste of American-style chicken wing. This restaurant even specializes everyone’s favorite – buffalo wing – which can be ordered in or enjoyed as takeout.
It was by accident that we stumbled across Café & Bar HAPI TAPI. On our way back from a snorkeling tour at Blue Cave, we were headed to a sandwich joint in Onna Village, but their parking was full. Instead, we drove a block down to a different restaurant inside thatt could have easily been just another nice beach house on this stretch of road.