Food is medicine.
That is a notion in Chinese Traditional Medicine. This dietary notion has been spread out on the island. Okinawa used to have very limited food resources. There are typhoons. There’s no constant river. But they had variety of medical herbs and wild grass that the strong sun grows, taro, sweet potatoes and potatoes that the tuff loam grows, and a few domesticated animals like pigs and goats. Okinawa used to be a trading country. They learned from the neighboring countries like Japan, China, and south Asian countries and developed their unique diet which takes full advantage of every pieces of their limited food resources.
And that was how Okinawa has had the longest life expectancy in Japan, probably in the world.
(Unfortunately Okinawa diet drastically changed in 1960s. Teenagers at the time is now old. Now in longevity ranking of 52 prefectures in Japan, Okinawa women has dropped to the 3rd, men dropped way down to the 30th. They used to be both in the 1st until 1990s. The reality is making us realize that the importance of the ancient notion “food is medicine” once again.)
There are ancient recipe books which have been reserved. Kiyoko-san, the owner chef of Cafe Garamanjaku in Kin, has been studying and practicing these recipes.
Her beliefs are clearly stated in the menu.
“The best chef in the world is your mother.”
“Food is your life. You are what you eat.”
Cafe Garamanjaku is located in the back street of Route 330 in Kin.
This is the turn at the bus stop you have to make. It’s very easy to miss.
Once you enter this gate, you will trip to another space.
Beautiful rich garden where Kiyoko-san grows her veggie and herbs.
It’s an old Okinawa house cafe.
The space is filled with life.
You don’t need air-conditioner here. Windows are open to all 4 directions, and Ki is flowing everyday.
Veggie mix for a starter. The taste changes everyday. Seasonal veggies, herbs and fruits of Kiyoko-san’s choice.
It kicks up your stomach with rich enzyme.
There are vegetarian plate and Inamuduchi (pork miso soup) plate.
We had Inamuduchi as in the picture.
Inamuduchi is white miso base port soup that is served in traditional family gatherings and cultural events in Okinawa. I’ve had this soup in different places but this one is the best I’ve ever had.
The rice with different colors. No artificial colors of course.
Kiyoko-san says it’s the prayer for the world peace. Different colors in unity.
All the little things with local, seasonal goodies. Kiyoko-san grows many of them in her garden too.
The mixed miso. Aged with over 30 kinds of veggies, herbs and fruits.
Talk about enzyme.
“It’s nothing special.” Kiyoko-san says, “I’m just making what I would want my children to have everyday.” The words mean a lot when it comes from a person who has devoted her life to studying traditional Okinawan medicine.
She’s not a chef, I thought. She is a therapist.
In a few hours after every meals at Garamanjaku, I feel my bowel movement kick in and clean my intestines.