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.

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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.

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Look out for this sign
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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.

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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.

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Raw chicken – excellent with wasabi
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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.

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Tender delicious beef
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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.

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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!

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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”.

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

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