Shin Okinawa Izakaya

“My Island of Pork”

Pork, for me is not just the “other white meat”. It’s absolutely my favorite meat… be it pork cutlets, pork chops, pork ribs, pork loin, slab bacon, guanciale, pancetta, prosciutto, speck, pig ears, chicharrones,  juicy trotters, pork belly or even SPAM. There is nothing I love more than PIG. 

Dancing with my sister Janet, MyLastBite.comNot surprisingly… my porcine passion is actually a birthright. I was born on Okinawa which is known as the “island of pork” and I don’t remember eating any other meat when I was a child. Fresh fish, yes (my grandmother’s beautiful steamed salmon), but pork was the only “meat” I recall, and when I was hungry and asked my big sister for “RED” meat, I was actually requesting my beloved SPAM*. 

A few weeks ago, my husband Peter and I decided to try Shin Okinawa Izakaya, an Okinawan restaurant in Torrance, CA. I first read about it a few months ago and was hoping to try it with my sister, Janet, and her kids. With everyone’s busy schedules, it hadn’t happened yet.

With my Oba-chan, MyLastBite.comPeter and I had an early evening reservation and as we walked in the door, the smells coming from the kitchen along with the Okinawan music instantly made me feel like I was back in Koza… with my sweet, little Oba-chan (grandma).

In the ladies’ room, there were huge, red hibiscus flowers painted on the wall. I had to take a photo of it for my sister. In Okinawa we had beautiful hibiscus trees on the side of our house and our mother used to wear the flowers behind her ear. Janet and I loved to pluck out the center stem piece and suck out the sweet juices. I thought the painting in the bathroom was a good start for the evening. “Ok they get it. Hibiscus means ‘Okinawa’.”

Hibiscus in the Benjo! MyLastBite.com

After sitting down at our table, we ordered an Okinawan beer called “Orion”. It’s funny how something as simple as a bottle of beer can make you smile. Three simple words printed on the bottle, “Brewed in Okinawa” meant that maybe I was a little bit closer to my island of pork.

Dinner was wonderful. Of course our table was monopolized by pork, but the best food memory that hit me was when I bit into a purple potato. That really took me back to my Oba-chan’s kitchen. I got  a little teary and wished my sister was there with me, but then I remembered that Janet does NOT like pork. She loves Okinawan purple potatoes, seafood and poultry but she does not share my obsession with pig. I just laughed while I tucked into a bowl of delicious shredded pigs ear. I’ll bring her back next time for some tasty chicken skin or monkfish liver!

Itadakimasu! (Let’s eat!) aka…
What we ordered and LOVED:
Grilled Tebichi, MyLastBite.com  Grilled Tebichi
(Pork Feet) $8

Andansu, MyLastBite.com Andansu
(Pork Meat & Miso) $5.50

Okinawan Kimchi, MyLastBite.com  Okinawa Kimchi
(Shredded Pig’s Ear) $5

Hamachi Kama, MyLastBite.com  Hamachi Kama
(Grilled Yellowtail Collar) $12

Suku Garasu, MyLastBite.com Suku Garasu
(Baby Pickled Fish & Okinawa Tofu) $6

Tori no Kara-age, MyLastBite.com  Tori no Kara-age
(Fried Chicken With Okinawa Ponzu) $7

Takoyaki, MyLastBite.com Takoyaki
(Octopus Balls and Shaved Bonito) $5.50

Fried Mimi Ga (Shredded Pigs Ear) $6.75

So-ki Soba (Pork Ribs) $8.75

Raftei (Simmered Pork Belly) $8

Beni Imo Dango, MyLastBite.com
Beni Imo Dango (Deep-fried purple sweet potato balls rolled in Sesame) $6.75

http://www.ShinOkinawaIzakaya.com

Entrance, MyLastBite.com
1880 W. Carson Street Suite #A
Torrance, California, 90501
(310) 618-8357

Dining date: 11/23/08

About Okinawa

*My Beloved SPAM

For PORK Lovers

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6 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)

6 responses to “Shin Okinawa Izakaya

  1. wow, was it sheer chance that Linda Burum covered this place in the Times today?

  2. Absolutely. I went to Shin a few weeks ago, and was digging up family photos before I posted it yesterday.

    : )

  3. Janet

    Jo!!

    I’m looking forward to going back to our”roots” in Okinawa with you at Shin Okinawa Izikaya…beautiful story (even if it’s about PORK!).
    Love you!
    Janet

  4. I really enjoyed reading this and seeing all of the pictures. It looks great. I’m a HUGE fan of pork. It doesn’t get better than that.

  5. Don Matsuda

    You didn’t mention tonkatsu. The best I ever tasted was in a little street side shop in Okinawa. Very crunchy!

  6. I love Tonkatsu! Haven’t made it in awhile, but now I am craving it. : )

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