A shot of tradition at Chatan Dining

A shot of tradition at Chatan Dining

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Given the fact that habu sake is an essential part of Okinawan culture, you can’t go wrong by having a glass of it while enjoying the island’s traditional cuisine.

A one-minute walk from Sunset Beach will take you to Chatan Dining, an authentic Okinawan restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of local dishes, ranging from Okinawan soba noodles and Goya champuru (bitter melon stir fry) to delicacies such as mozuku seaweed, Jimami-doufu (peanut tofu), Tofuyo (fermented tofu), mimigaa (boiled ear skin of pig) and Shima Rakkyo (island shallot). Whichever dish you choose, it will taste right with the unique local spirit rich in flavor and nutrition.

Speaking of variety, the wide collection of awamori liquor at this place deserves to be noted. Just taking a look at the many bottles lined up along the wall will tease your curiosity. It would also be fun to try various kinds of local spirits to see the difference from habu sake.

At Chatan Dining, you can also please your eye and ear as you satisfy your appetite and quench your thirst. At 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. every night, there are live shows by professional musicians. According to Manager Takeshi Tamaki, the shows are always exciting because at some point, customers are encouraged to go up the stage and dance to Okinawan beat.

It is actually a good opportunity to experience Kachashii, a local tradition where people dance together to commemorate a happy moment. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to dance, because you can just follow the moves others make. Or if you like, you can show your own dance style and impress everybody. The point is having fun with everybody and sharing happiness, which if you ask me, is the beauty of Okinawan culture.

Tamaki said people from the U.S. military often come to the restaurant for lunch. It’s a great place to enjoy Okinawa soba noodles or Goya champuru while you enjoy the gorgeous ocean view.

So next time you come to American village – day or night - try this classic Okinawa restaurant by the beach.

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