Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 5.00.25 AMGoya champuru, unlike its name, is extremely simple. The dish consists of only a few main ingredients: goya (bitter melon), tofu, egg and spam. It’s a homey comfort food from Okinawa, Japan that highlights the island prefecture’s long history with the United States. Susan Hamaker, writer and editor over at JapanCulture•NYC, an online resource for “all things Japanese in New York City,” let us know about a wonderful booth they ran at Japan Block Fair showcasing this down home dish. Let’s take a look!

In case you’re wondering what goya is in the first place, here’s a picture:

  The green stuff on the left…not the spam.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 4.55.04 AM

For many visitors to the JapanCulture•NYC booth that day, goya was a completely new food.

  Like these cute kids who thought it looks like a pickle.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 4.57.55 AM

Despite its strange appearance, goya and goya champuru were well-received by the New Yorkers who visited the booth that day. Here’s the JapanCulture•NYC crew cooking up the Okinawan classic:

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 7.03.31 AM

  Serving up Japanese stir-fried goodness.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 7.06.39 AM

It’s great to hear about local efforts to bring Japanese culture to people around the world. If you live in the New York area, keep an eye out for the annual Japan Block Fair, which features Japanese food, performances and crafts centered around one city block in NYC. If you’re itching for even more Japanese culture, you can also check out JapanCulture•NYC for details on upcoming events.

Source: JapanCulture•NYC
Images: YouTube (JapanCulture•NYC)