Earlier this week I had the opportunity to learn more about the collaboration between the Daikaya, the Izakaya 2F and Okinawa, Japan's Prefectural Government that is happening through March - with a celebration of Awamori and Okinawan-inspired dishes!
Even though I've been to Japan many times to visit relatives, I've never been to Okinawa before - this was such a neat way to learn more about their culture, as well as the food and drinks that originated there. We got to sample a few different types of Awamori prepared in popular ways (mixed with soda water, on the rocks, etc.), as well as a lot of delicious dishes inspired by Okinawan cuisine. Learning about the history of Awamori was especially interesting - I've heard of it before but I had assumed it was just a variety of Sake. I had no idea that it originated in Okinawa, using kurokoji and Indica rice imported from Thailand, making it very different from Japanese Sake and Shochu.
From the top left: Peanut tofu, Awamori Koji tofu on garlic bread, Rafute (braised pork belly), and Duck Abura miso onigiri (rice ball).
From the left: Okinawan salted ice cream, Taco rice, and a Spam, egg, and cheese sandwich.
Here are some more details about the food and drinks from the press release:
Daikaya, the Izakaya 2F will be featuring a variety of Okinawan-inspired food and beverage specials. Several selections of Awamori will be offered and staff from the restaurant will be available to share the different ways of drinking/enjoying them. In addition, Orion beer will be available, and Chef Katsuya Fukushima and team will also be offering a variety of Okinawan-inspired dishes that pair well with Awamori including Duck Abura Miso Onigiri, Rafute - Okinawan Braised Pork Belly Slow-Cooked in Awamori, Tofuyo, Okinawan Taco Rice, Okinawan Salt Cookies, and Banana Susannah | Blue Seal Ice Cream, just to name a few. Awamori selections are set to include Zuisen Hakuryu Awamori , Ryukyu Ohcho Awamori, Yaeyama Seifuku Awamori, and Zuisen Hiryu Awamori, amongst others. The featured Okinawan dish and drink specials will continue to rotate throughout the month at Daikaya, the Izakaya 2F.
It's so unique and fun to see a restaurant collaborate with not just a single brand or beverage company, but the whole prefecture to highlight all the interesting things that Okinawa has to offer! The collaboration also benefits a great cause - a portion of the proceeds raised this month at Daikaya, the Izakaya 2F will be donated to Okinawa's old Imperial Palace, which was destroyed by a fire back in October of 2019. For more information on the restoration and to donate, please check out the website here.
A big thank you to Daikaya, the Izakaya 2Ffor hosting this great event! If you've ever had an interest in Okinawa specifically, or just want to try out some unique dishes that aren't normally available at the restaurant, this month is the the perfect time to do so!