Okinawa gourmet championship seeks hungry voters

Some 30,000 people visited last year’s C-1 Gourmet Championships in Mihama.

The island’s C-1 gourmet food battle is coming up this weekend as nearly twenty restaurants pit their chefs’ pots and pans against one another, with the public ultimately deciding who has the tastiest food.

The C-1 Gourmet Food Battle is already widely known to people in Chatan, and with others across the island, and this fifth competition has some 17 local eateries pitching their tents on the Chatan Sports Park baseball field parking lot to demonstrate their culinary skills for everyone to taste.

Winners of the past four years of the contest are invited to defend their titles in this year’s event.

For this fifth C-1 Chatan Gourmet Battle the invited competitors are winners of the past four Chatan C-1 gourmet events and from other similar contests in each of the island’s districts. The Gourmet Food Battle takes place Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. ~ 5:30 p.m.  The winners will be crowned Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

The voters are each and every one of you.  Last year, a total of 30,000 gourmet fans visited the C-1 Gourmet Food Battle, not wanting to miss the best dish on the island. In essence, visitors are the judges. In past years, winners of the two-day food battle included an Ishigaki Beef hamburger rice taking top honors, with other top dishes being an Omelet-Rice Curry flavored in melted cheese.

The “C” in the C-1 in the event name stands for Chatan. Display menus are being assembled from the local restaurants, which organizers expect to enter 30+ dishes into the competition. Participating entrée dishes are priced at ¥500 to ¥1,000 each. Customers can purchase dishes entered in the competition, then cast votes as they select their favorites after eating them.

The Chatan Gourmet Battle is the town’s showcase for creating an entertainment event while giving life to local Okinawan foods. New menus will be unveiled again this year, as restaurants are proud of their culinary creations, and want to introduce local delicacies. There’s a renewed focus on using local ingredients to present the foods of Okinawa. The bottom line, of course, is being chosen the #1 local restaurant for Chatan Town.

Participating restaurants are now preparing to pit their rice dishes, breads, noodles and sweets against fellow chefs and cooks, with the general public casting the votes to decide who’s got the best foods in town.