You usually see umibudo as a side dish. However here at this Ganso Umibudo, they celebrate this savory sea grape as the main dish. It’s a rice bowl topped with umibudo, nagaimo, ikura, and uni. Put together so beautifully it was a bit heartbreaking to eat.
The restaurant is easy to get to if you have a car. It’s right on the 58 and has parking in the back. Once inside, the atmosphere is relaxed. The waitress sat us down in the center tables. On the walls you can see all the celebrities that have given the place a visit. They have definitely benefitted from being featured in travel shows. And after eating their famous dish, I can see why. It’s pretty unique.
6092−1 Onna, Kunigami District
Okinawa Prefecture 904-0411, Japan
Verdict: Worth seeking out to try. Get the set with the Okinawa soba if you want a big meal.
We got the small set which includes this lovely bowl of umibodo, sea grapes, nagaimo, some pickled veggies, and miso soup. But let's talk about this bowl which can be thought of as a salad. Though the rice underneath makes it hard to categorize. I started by mixing this bowl up, getting the gooey potato starches mixed up with the sea grapes and rice. It was difficult keeping my pieces of uni intact, but it was all worth it. Each bulb of the sea grapes bursted with a briny saltiness that was cooled down by the nagaimo. It made the uni and ikura a bonus to this wonderful bowl.
¥1150 for the set
I wasn't sure if this was meant as a side to eat separately or to be added to my bowl in case I ran out. I decided to do both. This creamy stringy potato puree acts like a base tasting almost like milk. That made the taste of uni that much more tasty.
We ordered another Okinawan staple, bitter melon with ham and scrambled eggs. Although I don't think this place is known for this dish, it was good to finally try it. It reminded me of home cooking, Vietnamese home cooking actually. While it may have brought the taste of nostalgia, it was a bit dry.