By Machico Yorozu / Special to The Yomiuri ShimbunPork is one of the most common ingredients in Okinawan cuisine. Distinctive dishes featuring stir-fried and stewed pork regularly appear on Okinawan dinner tables.
Since 1953, butcher Uehara Meat Co. has been operating in the Makishi Public Market, dubbed Naha’s kitchen. The company sells Agu pork — from a pig variety indigenous to Okinawa — and domestic Landrace pork and Ishigaki beef, as well as precooked meat products.
One of Uehara’s original products “Maasamun Rafuti” is made from the meat of a white pig stewed in brown sugar, awamori, mirin and other ingredients. “Maasamun” means “tasty stuff” in the Okinawan dialect.
The tender, flavorful pork melts in your mouth when you take a bite. The dish goes well with rice, but Okinawans prefer it with a local Okinawan soba noodle. White pig has less fat than Agu pork and complements the noodles well. In the prefecture, pork is also simmered with burdock. The rafuti, which can be ordered for delivery, is a great dish to eat in the muggy summer heat.
Uehara Meat also sells “Nankotsu Soki,” which is simmered pork gristle from near the belly with the same ingredients as “Maasamun Rafuti.”
The shop manager of Uehara’s store in front of the Makishi market, Takeya Yamanoha, said it is good to have with “Awamori Masahiro,” a local spirit brewed at Masahiro Shuzo distillery in Itoman, Okinawa.