10 Local Flavors of the Oki Islands
Surrounded by the Sea of Japan, these islands are blessed year-round with plentiful seafood, as well as beef from cattle that were raised basking in the rays of the sun and the sea breeze, and other delicious foods. Try your fill of these ingredients that were raised or grown in the rich nature of the Oki Islands.
Squid fishing is prosperous year-round on the Oki Islands, and you can enjoy a variety of types. The island locals are especially fond of the swordtip squid, which is in season from early summer through the fall. It is known for its tender meat and sweet taste, with a flavor that sets it apart from other squids.
Kanshimame-zuke Don: Soy-marinated winter squid sashimi rice bowl
This dish was the only participant from the San’in region in the 2nd National “Gotochi Donburi” Contest, in which it placed 7th. The dish consists of squid caught in its most delicious winter season, marinated in soy sauce mixed with liver, and served over a bowl of rice. Enjoy the deep flavor, sweetness, and consistency of the Japanese flying squid.
These crabs are caught with crabbing baskets. Enjoy the sweetness of the meat and the rich flavor.
Turban Shell (Sazae)
This shellfish is a representative ingredient of the Oki Islands, where there is certainly no shortage of seafood to be found year-round. Turban shell is in season from spring through early summer when various turban shell dishes are served around the islands.
Although unheard of in many other places, on the Oki Islands, this is considered ordinary comfort food. The distinctive bitterness of the turban shell pairs with the spices in the curry to bring out delicious flavors. Ready-made sazae curry is also available and is a popular souvenir.
Sazae-don Rice Bowl
Try mineral-rich turban shell in a classic rice bowl! This dish was designed to make the turban shell of the Oki Islands readily accessible to more people. Enjoy the rich flavor and unique consistency of the turban shell over rice, bringing the taste of the seaside straight to your bowl.
Rock Oyster (Iwagaki)
Rock oysters from the Oki Islands take a minimum of three years until they can be shipped and enjoyed. During that time, they are raised in a rich natural environment, and harvested just before their spawning period, when they are at their most nutritious and delicious. Here you can enjoy rock oysters in a variety of dishes.
Raw Rock Oyster
With their plentiful nutrition and rich flavor, these oysters are sometimes called “the milk of the sea” or even “the cheese of the sea.” But whatever you choose to call them, rock oysters are best enjoyed raw. Their pleasant, soft texture and rich, creamy flavor are irresistible to many oyster lovers. You can also enjoy them with a bit of soy sauce or lemon squeezed on top.
Grilled Rock Oyster
Slurp up the hot juice as you enjoy a freshly-grilled rock oyster. The oysters are carefully grilled over medium heat, and when steam wafts out with its seaside aroma, they’re ready to eat. Enjoy them just like that, or add a little ponzu sauce or salt as a delicious seasoning.
A beloved ingredient used in a wide variety of dishes. Eaten raw as sashimi, whelk has a crunchy consistency and a characteristic fragrance and sweet taste. Grilling or boiling brings out the flavor of the tail portion in particular, with its rich taste reminiscent of foie gras. It is also delicious fried.
Sea Hare (Amefurashi)
The sea hare is a type of herbivorous mollusk. When boiled, its meat has an elasticity to it and a flavor that pairs well with miso paste.
Barnacles living on rocky seashores have been a traditional island delicacy since long ago. Their flavor can be enjoyed in various ways, including boiling them with salt or adding them to a clear broth.
The cattle for Oki Beef and Oki-Kuroiso Beef are raised on the islands, basking in the mineral-rich sea breeze and the sun’s rays, carefully ensuring consistently high-quality meat. This is a Wagyu beef rarely found in markets. Come enjoy not just the seafood, but this delicious meat from the land as well!
Yakiniku: Grilled Meat
This high-quality brand of Wagyu beef is the pride of the Oki Islands, produced from Japanese black cattle born and raised here on the islands. The best way to enjoy Oki Beef is grilled as yakiniku. You can eat it without any sauces, letting the flavor of the sweet and juicy meat fill your mouth, but it also pairs well with wasabi in soy sauce or miso sauce with garlic.
The Oki Islands are known for having excellent water sources. Using that clear water, a local company brews sake that goes down smoothly and is just right for enjoying with a meal. Try different varieties, including one called “Seaweed Shochu.”
To read more about the locally-produces sake of the Oki Islands, see this article: "Unravelling the World of Japanese Sake from the Renowned Local Sake Brand of Oki Islands, Oki Homare."
These dishes using Oki Islands ingredients and recipes have been passed down through generations, and are considered by the locals to be comfort food. While you’re here, try some of these traditional dishes with their unique local style!
Eri-yaki Nabe: Spicy Fish Hotpot
This spicy hotpot has a flavor that will have you craving more! A hearty, energizing dish, it was often enjoyed by fishermen on board their boats after a hard day’s work on the Sea of Japan. It is made with the leftovers of fish such as mahi-mahi, cooked in a broth with soy sauce, sake, and spicy peppers.
Try a bowl of soba Oki-style, scooping up short noodles from a minimal amount of broth. This local dish is an indispensable part of any special occasion in the Oki Islands. The noodles are characterized by their strong flavor and lack of wheat flour, which is typically included in soba to help hold the noodles together. Instead, Oki Soba is made with 100% soba flour, a type of soba called jūwari-soba. The broth is made with either fried mackerel or flying fish, giving it a distinctive taste. With its simplicity and deep flavor, Oki Soba is a representative dish of the Oki Islands.
Would you like to know more about this special local dish?
See this article to read about how it's cooked and when is it eaten by the local residents.
"Made with Buckwheat"
Rice balls with Iwa-nori Seaweed
On Dōgo Island, these large rice balls are well known as bakudan onigiri, meaning “bomb rice balls.” They are wrapped in a generous amount of iwa-nori seaweed and are a staple menu item on the islands.
Yakimeshi Chazuke: Tea over Fried Rice
This dish is famous as a dish a retired emperor enjoyed when he was on the Oki Islands. Kojōyu-miso, a traditional condiment that is used like soy sauce or miso, is spread on a triangle-shaped rice ball, which is then carefully grilled. Finally, add other condiments such as seaweed and green onions, pour hot green tea on top, and enjoy!
The sea around the Oki Islands provides the region with numerous varieties of seaweed. One of these, a type of kelp called arame, is particularly abundant at the beginning of spring. It is rich in minerals and is found in many familiar, home-style Japanese dishes.
Interested in knowing more about the Oki Islands' cuisine?
See this website dedicated to the local foods and cuisine of the Oki Islands, or read this brochure to find out even more!