Seamen’s Club creates community event focusing on Ishigaki Beef

Ishigaki Beef is Japan’s finest, coming from the Yaeyama Islands in the southern part of the

The three-day Ishigaki Beef Festival at Seamen’s Club in Naha focuses on the famed island beef that is offered for ¥500 a plate straight from the barbeque grill.

prefecture, and the Seamen’s Club Naha is hosting a three-day Ishigaki Beef Festival to provide more exposure for the special beef.

Friday, Saturday  and Sunday the Seamen’s Club doors are open to the entire community.  “It’s an Okinawan ~ American Friendship Event,” says the Seamen’s Center senior director, Walt Christiansen.  “Ishigaki beef is hard to come by here, and we’ve teamed with Kinjo Cattle Ranch in Ishigaki to introduce it to the entire Okinawa community.”

He says the festival will run the three days from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with Kinjo’s chefs handling the beef cooking, while his Seamen’s Club staff will be offering the side dishes.  “Ishigaki beef’s expensive, normally,” says Christiansen, who explains Kinjo Cattle Ranch is offering a special ¥500 per serving plate.  “We want everyone –Okinawans, the international community, merchant seafarers and SOFA-status personnel and families– to give Ishigaki beef a try. They’re going to love it and go back for additional orders.”

Ishigaki’s beef (石垣牛 Ishigaki-gyū) is meltingly smooth and at other times and places well worth the splurge for meat lovers, although normally you’ll generally be looking at around ¥5000 for something approximating a decent-sized steak. Sampling strips served as yakiniku or even raw sashimi are somewhat more affordable, but if the price seems too good, Christiansen cautions to double-check that it’s real Ishigaki beef, not a cheaper import.

The Seamen’s Club will have all the other dishes available at nominal prices, including rice, French fries, rolls, potato salad and a variety of desserts.  “Our 100 beers from 32 countries are expected to be  a hit, too,” he says, although a full range of soft drinks, iced tea and coffee are also available.  The bar will be available for those who want to retreat from the crowds.

The Seamen’s Club Naha is located on Route 331 adjacent to Naha Military Port, just before the Okinawa Free Trade Zone and Naha International Airport.