I wanted to eat Okinawan cuisine while staying in Naha City for about a week, so I visited “Machinuya,” an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) located near Miebashi Station of Yui Rail (Okinawa Urban Monorail). It is a popular izakaya ranked high in “Tabelog,” a Japanese popular gourmet website.
“Machinuya” means “Pine House,” and you can feel comfortable in the warmth of wood inside of the izakaya made of Ryukyu pines.
The inside of the izakaya is quite big, and in addition to counter seats, they have some tables and zashiki (Japanese-style room). I visited Machinuya around 9:00 p.m. on this day, but most tables and zashiki were occupied by groups of customers. But, there was no one sitting at the counter, so I was able to relax and enjoy a dinner alone at the edge of the counter.
First, I ordered Orion Beer (Okinawa’s local beer) and “jimami tofu,” and ate a small appetizer (fish) served with a beer. “Jimami tofu” is one of Okinawan dishes and is a tofu made by using peanuts. Its chewy texture creates an addiction, and its mild taste has a soothing effect. Unfortunately, I was obsessed with eating and forgot to take the photo of jimami tofu.
Next, I ordered “umibudo (sea grapes)” and “rafte (simmered pork belly).” “Umibudo” is a seaweed called Caulerpa lentillifera. Its bright green color and appearance which looks like caviar, and popping texture are irresistible. “Rafte” was very soft and had a typical soy sauce flavor. Greens placed on the top were also tasty.
It depends on the dish, but if you order some dishes by yourself, a waiter or waitress will ask you “do you want it served in smaller potions?” It may be normal in izakayas in Naha City, where there are many tourists visiting alone, but maybe it is one of the reasons why this izakaya is so popular. Although I didn’t have a private conversation with the staff, their attitudes were polite and kind.
Lastly, I ordered “mozuku tempura” and “ikasumi jushi,” which seems like the most popular menu in this izakaya. “Mozuku tempura,” a deep-fried seaweed contains pork and is quite big. “Ikasumi” is squid ink and “jushi” is an Okinawan dish which means “mixed rice” or “rice porridge.” This “ikasumi jushi” is a rice porridge type and is richly flavored with the squid ink soup. It was very tasty and was the best food to finish off the day.
All dishes I ordered on this day were typical Okinawan dishes, and were very delicious. Fish and pork dishes also seem like popular at Machinuya, so I will definitely try them next time I visit here.
The price was cheaper than I thought, maybe because some dishes were served in smaller potions. It was around 3,500 yen for all the above food and two glasses of Orion Beer.
I paid the check and tried to leave, but then I was served a free pineapple as a dessert. Although I was quite full, the pineapple was very sweet and tasty, and I ate it in a flash.
Machinuya location: 2-7-14 Maejima, Naha-shi