Daito to promote a fusion dish of Ryukyu and Hachijo cuisine

Daito to promote a fusion dish of Ryukyu and Hachijo cuisine

On April 9 in Minami Daito Village, Atsushi Kumagiri and Eriko Yoshizato of the Minami Daito Village Tourism Association promoted samples of Daito gozen, a fusion dish reflecting Okinawan and Hachijo Island cultures.

April 15, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Colorful ingredients add beauty to an otherwise stark stainless steel plate. Until about ten years ago, at ceremonial occasions held in Minami Daito Village it was the custom to serve food on ex-U.S. military stainless steel plates. Now using this as a tourism promotion, the Minami Daito Tourism Association has created a new menu item called Daito Gozen using a range of local ingredients. Ryukyuan cuisine and sushi rolls, which were introduced by people from Hachijo Island who settled on Minami Daito about 100 years ago, will feature in the dish. It will be a champuru-type dish distinctive to the “migrants’ island” and will be served at local hotels and restaurants.

This is a part of the Minami Daito Village Branding Project. Encouraging local production and consumption, large quantities of locally produced pumpkins, potatoes and fish will be used.

Stainless steel plates were purchased at ex-military products stores on the main island of Okinawa and brought to Minami Daito Island around 1948. Islanders appreciated them and used them on ceremonial occasions. Currently the Association is working on creating recipes. Ideas include date maki, which was introduced from Hachijo Island, sautéed snack mackerels caught in the waters around the island, and yokan (bean jelly) made of the squash produced in the village, the island’s unique dish Daito omelets served with steamed potatoes.

Sample dishes will be provided to tourists this month and the association will then survey the tourists and make use of their feedback.

Administration Officer Atsushi Kumakiri of the Tourism Association said, “Daito Island is at the junction of Ryukyuan and Hachijo influences. It has a unique culture not found on other remote islands where people live.”

Association President Yoshizato said, “In addition to Daito sushi and soba, we want to promote a new range of dishes created within the island’s natural environment. I would like visitors to learn about our food as well as the environment.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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