Japan is famous for having its own particular food for each of its 47 prefectures.
Some foods are well known and served all across Japan; others are prefecture specific and only available there. This makes visiting each prefecture even more exciting, as you get to enjoy some culinary treats that are unique and truly memorable. And of course make you want to come back for more!!
Okinawa is of course home to one of these culinary specialties that you will only find here and on the surrounding Ryūkyū islands: Jimamidofu.
This typical Okinawan treat has a silky, yet bouncy consistency and was a traditional starter in the cuisine of the Ryūkyū court. The name is a bit misleading, as Jimamidofu is not actually made from tofu or any soy products at all!
The word jimami means "groundnut" in Okinawan dialect and is just another way to describe peanuts that grow in the soil.
Making jimamidofu requires only very few ingredients but is very time consuming. The water within the peanuts is pressed out and solidified with sweet potato starch, which requires extensive stirring whilst the mixture is simmering over medium heat.
The hard work pays off once you get to taste it, though! Jimamidofu is usually served with a sweetened soy-based sauce and will easily become your favorite sweet treat!
There are other version of this dish, where the sweet sauce is replaced with a savory one, so make sure you try them all and then choose your favorite!
People in Okinawa are known for the longevity and some people attribute this fact to the Okinawan lifestyle and cuisine. It comes as no surprise that jimamidofu is considered to be very good for you: it is rich in vitamin B1 and E and is supposed to have a skin-beautifying effect. In addition to that, it is said to be revitalizing and also a great "alcohol eliminator", meaning you should enjoy some whilst you have a drink to counter the effects of the alcohol.
You can find jimamidofu in any supermarket in Okinawa and the surrounding Ryūkyū islands, where it’s sold in single serve portions at a very affordable price.
But if you want to enjoy some fresh, homemade jimamidofu, then check out Paikaji in Naha.
The restaurant serves traditional Okinawan food in a beautiful style, that is typical for the Ryūkyū islands. You also get to enjoy some sanshin music, an instrument that is said to be the precursor of the mainland shamisen.
As I said at the beginning, these culinary specialities make you want to visit every single prefecture so you can enjoy them, and jimamidofu is not an exception! So plan your next trip to Okinawa and try some of this silken peanutty goodness for yourself!