Sazae Turban Shell
Turban Shell on Rice (Sazae Gohan)
One of the signature dishes available on Nishinoshima Island, Okinoshima Town, and Chibu Island is the “sazae gohan” (サザエご飯) or turban shell rice. The rice is usually cooked with thinly sliced turban shells and vegetables, like carrots, but because every restaurant uses different ingredients, the sazae rice never tastes completely the same. Sazae adds texture to the rice, making it very pleasant to have with other side dishes, such as fried chicken or pork cutlet.
Available on all four islands, this is a staple dish well-known by the local people. In the past, when meat was not readily available on the islands, local people would use the turban shells in many dishes as a source of protein. The liver of the turban shell and butter are mixed and used to make the curry paste, which gives it a little bit of a spicy scent. It’s a simple dish that can be enjoyed by anyone and is also available for sale as a “box curry” making it the perfect souvenir to take home and enjoy with your loved ones!
Here are some restaurants where you can try sazae curry. Sazae Mura (Okinoshima Town), Conseil (Nishinoshima Town), Pōrest (Okinoshima Town), Sentoraru-tei (Ama Town), Kokage Cafe (Okinoshima Town), Masuya (Okinoshima Town)
Sazae with Eggs Rice Bowl
At Okinoshima Town there is a restaurant called Sazae Mura which specialises in turban shell dishes, like this one! The half cooked egg goes well with the savoury turban shell flavour mixed with rice!
If you order a very interesting menu item called, “Sazae don don ga don,” grilled turban shells (inside their shells) will be served!
Grilled Sazae Rice Bowl
Speaking of turban shells, to be able to have them for BBQ in summer is probably something you can only do on an island! For this dish, grilled turban shells are cut into small pieces, mixed with rice, and a little of rice miso; that is a dish unique to the Oki Islands!
Available in Okinoshima Town, Hotel Uneri restaurant (open to tourists for lunch hours).
Sword Tip Squid
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 sword tip squid, which is in season from early summer through the fall. It is known for its tender meat and sweet taste, with a flavour that sets it apart from other squid.
Kanshimame-zuke Don: Soy-marinated Winter Squid Sashimi Rice Bowl
During a hot summer day, this “cool” Japanese flying squid marinated in soy sauce mixed with liver, and served over a bowl of rice will definitely cool you down! The sweet flavour with a little crunchiness of the squid gives a mellow taste after being marinated with soy sauce.
Here is where you can have Kanshimame-zuke Don:
Sentoraru-tei (Ama Town)
Join the Turban Shell Festival!
In early August, the Sazae Tsukami-dori (Turban Shells Grabbing Event) is also held every year. It is a festival where you can catch as many turban shells as you want and enjoy a BBQ on the shore or take it home to cook in any way you like!
For details see this page, or contact the Chiburijima Tourism Association:
TEL: 08514-8-2274 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure to book in advance!
Text by Nicharee Plubsiri (Yaleen)