Kushimaru (串まる), Okinawa – Review

Japan is food heaven to me – and one thing that Ms. Buddha and I have continually tried to do is to find places that locals call “their place” and Kushimaru was definitely one of them.

Use phone code: 01 980 54 6557 – it’s down a small sidestreet

We knew it was definitely a locals place because there was next to no English post about it and it didn’t even have a website – but it is definitely a hidden gem that was just located in a side street – for those looking for it, the front door looks like this and there’s dedicated parking.

Look out for this sign
Dedicated parking out front

When we entered – it started with a  look of confusion by both the staff and us – I signaled “two” and said “ni-nin” (2 people) and because Japanese always appreciate any attempts to embrace their language – we were shown to a table – the décor is typical of a yakitori place.

Nice decor – love the stools

Ordering was a bit difficult since that they only had a Japanese menu (authentic!) and it was a mixture of using the translate photo function in Google Translate and using the rare photos available online.

People are generally cautious of raw chicken, but if there’s a place where you should try it, the safest place is probably Japan. The taste of the chicken was flavourful although I still prefer the one I had at Otowa Yakitori, Singapore.

Raw chicken – excellent with wasabi
Of course, have to start off with a little sake

The grill chicken, squid and kidneys came next and all of them had their distinct flavour with the quality of the meats definitely a standout.

As with most meals – I love a bit of beef and pork – so they came next and I have to say that I continue to be impressed by the quality of the meats in Japan – the beef was probably not as good as Obaanoie – but still very good, whilst the pork was excellent.

Tender delicious beef
Pork Belly with quail egg

Ms. Buddha loves a bit of tomatoes and they came next – wrapped in a thin slice of bacon as well! The tomatoes in Okinawa are so sweet that they might as well be cherries – and mixed with bacon – the hint of saltiness compliments it perfectly.

Super sweet tomato with bacon

Last that I had was a rice ball wrapped in Nori and also some quail eggs – and if there’s one ingredient that I love, it is rice! You can just make so many delicious goods with it and this is no different – something so simple yet so delicious!

Simple but so delicious at the same time

As we were wrapping up – customers who have just finished work started coming in – you can tell they are locals because they had one of the large sake bottles with their name on it! One day I’ll have to find “my shop”.

First regular to arrive, bar was filled by the time we left

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