Food and Food: Asia and japan17 Jan 2011 09:33 pm

Okinawa is known for the famous Okinawa diet. This diet was popular a few years back when a doctor revealed the long lives of Okinawan residents, and the healthy foods that they tend to eat. One of these things harvested locally is mozuku seaweed.

Konbu seaweed is perhaps the most well known Japanese seaweed, but I think mozuku is growing in popularity in the west. Mozuku is a very stringy thin brown seaweed of the Nemacystus genus, and is often served in a vinegary dressing to eat before dinner or between courses. It looks and has the texture of the things of nightmares for small children. It is not a pretty vegetable, and some people even liken the texture to snot when it is wet. It is really awkward to eat with chopsticks, that is for sure. You kind of scoop suck it into your mouth. We get it for lunch at school about twice a month.

However, it is very high in vitamin C, calcium and iron, and is currently under investigation for its possible cancer fighting properties. It has also come to light that the vinegar marinated in mozuku kills E. coli.

Mike, a friend and I hit Kunatou up for lunch one day to try the local specialty. Although you can find mozuku on most Okinawan restaurant menus, I recommend Kunatou because they use mozuku in all of their dishes, from appetizer to dessert, and it is very fresh.

The view is nice, but nothing to write home about. It overlooks a small island called Ojima, which is well known for its sashimi and tempura. The mozuku is harvested from the flats not too far away. I have heard you can go and scoop the gooey stuff up yourself if you so choose. A little different than U-pick strawberry fields.

The noodles are made with mozuku! Little pieces riddled the chewy glutinous noodles.

Mike and I got set soba lunches, with mozuku soba noodles with soki pork, vinegared mozuku, mozuku on its own and mozuku jelly for dessert. The soki looks so dry and leathery in this shot, but it really was not.

We also got an order of mozuku tempura which is a MUST order. It was so light and salty and delicious… after that, the soup and the mozuku jelly were probably the standouts. The other two dishes were not personal favourites.

The lightly citrus mozuku jelly

Least favourite mozuku iteration. Kind of cold, kind of rubbery and tasteless. Next time I would probably dump it into my soup. This photo of it brings back memories of the worms my Gran would fish with actually: red wrigglers.

Lots of outdoor seating, if you get lucky on the first sunny day in three weeks like we did. Made for nice sun dappled shots, too.

As we were leaving a large tour bus pulled up, so it seems that this place is a mainstay with tourists… do not be surprised if there are large groups there when you arrive. There is also a shop selling all sorts of mozuku products when you leave.

Kunatou Mozuku Soba
沖縄県 南城市 玉城志堅原 460-2
Open 10-7pm everyday

One Response to “sea vegetables at kunatou mozuku soba, yaese”

  1. on 05 Jul 2011 at 7:42 am Kate

    I was just googling around to find out the name of this place and came across your post for the 2nd time. I was just here… the rubbery mozuku you’re actually supposed to dump in the soba! Much better that way. I didn’t know the first time I went, either 😛