Local restaurant’s ‘Satisfaction Set’ leaves us extremely satisfied!

When he isn’t busy throwing around former UFC fighters, our reporter Kouhey often spends his time in Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa. In particular, Kouhey likes to partake in the culinary delights Okinawa has to offer. Okinawa cuisine features a lot of different soups. For example, Okinawan miso soup is made from Okinawan tofu, pork, lettuce, and other vegetables topped with a half-boiled egg, and goat soup contains, well, goat.

Kouhey considered himself pretty well versed in Okinawan grub, and was sure that for him, there was no local delicacy left untasted… until one of the locals asked him if he’d tried hone-jiru, literally bone soup.”

Kouhey had first heard about this bone soup during his visit to Awamori Jelly Honpo, where he tried some jelly infused with liquor. He’d never seen or heard of hone-jiru before that, but was told that its appearance alone was pretty impressive, so he headed to the main island of Okinawa to find out.

Kouhey arrived at Naha Airport at around 2 p.m. and started looking up good places to eat hone-jiru nearby. A lot of the restaurants that were highly rated online were already closed for the day, but just when Kouhey was beginning to lose hope, he came across a restaurant which was very promisingly named Hone-jiru-ya (“Bone Soup “Shop”).

Such a straight-to-the-point restaurant name whetted Kouhey’s appetite, and he hopped on the monorail to Asato Station, which was less than 20 minutes from the airport.

From there, it was a five minute walk to Sakaemachi Arcade, where the restaurant was located.

The arcade was pretty big and there were a lot of different restaurants, but Kouhey was looking for just one in particular. After meandering around for about three minutes…

… he found Honejiruya! A restaurant specialising in local food, nestled in the middle of an arcade in Naha,… this was going to be a real, authentic taste of Okinawa!

Glancing through the menu, he found the Satisfaction Set for 1,000 yen (US$7.60), which contained bone soup and also a ‘bone rice bowl’. Kouhey wasn’t quite sure what a bone rice bowl was, so he decided to order the set and find out.

As a huge tray of food arrived at the table, Kouhey immediately understood what people meant when they said this meal has some serious visual impact. It was a hearty-looking meal, with various toppings and side dishes included.

Kouhey decided to start with the fabled bone soup. According to the menu, hone-jiru is a local Okinawan dish with slowly simmered pork bones, in a broth flavoured with bonito stock and more pork bones.

The broth was tasty and had a nice translucency to it.

There was also an impressive amount of meat in the soup. This restaurant used Agu pork raised in Okinawa’s Ganaha Farm in their hone-jiru, and it was deliciously tender and melted in the mouth.

Kouhey decided to add some toppings to the broth, like bitter gourd and handamaa kind of spinach grown in Okinawa.

▼ Even the toppings were traditionally Okinawan!

The bone soup was warm and comforting, and the meat and vegetables were really tasty.

According to the menu, it’s recommended to add Okinawan miso to the leftover broth so you can enjoy it even more. However, it’s seen as something of a taboo to add too much miso all at once, so Kouhey added some bit by bit, changing the flavour marginally each time. Before he’d realised it, his soup bowl was empty and his stomach was full!

Next up was the bone rice bowl, or ‘hone-don’. The hone-don came in two sizes, and Kouhey was pretty sure this was a small, but even so — it was still pretty sizeable!

Hone-don is eaten by removing the bones from the meat and placing a raw egg yolk on top, so Kouhey carefully extracted the bones from the meat…

…and placed an egg yolk on top.

The egg yolk broke on impact, which was a shame, but Kouhey was sure it wouldn’t affect the taste, so he wasn’t too bothered.

The runny egg yolk entwined with the juicy, tender meat and combined with the fluffy white rice was simply amazing. It was so tasty that Kouhey wolfed it down in no time whatsoever.

The Satisfaction Set definitely lived up to its name, not only in its incredible taste but also the sheer amount of food that came with it. Kouhey’s bowl of discarded bones was a testament to just how much food was included in his set.

Hone-jiru is an Okinawan specialty that’s difficult to find on mainland Japan, even in Okinawan restaurants, so if you get a chance to visit Okinawa, put this meal on your ‘to-eat’ list. There are many restaurants serving it throughout Okinawa, and each restaurant has its own unique characteristics and taste. And maybe grab another Okinawan specialty pork and egg riceball while you’re there too.

Restaurant information
Honejiruya / 骨汁屋
Address: Okinawa-ken, Naha-shi, Asato 385, Sakaemachi Ichiba-nai
沖縄県那覇市安里385 栄町市場内
Open 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays

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