Pork Tamago Onigiri – simple is best
The best ideas are simple and often born out of a single “eureka” moment. Katsuaki Kiyokawa experienced one such moment when he, for the first time, tasted a simple Okinawan staple snack “pork-tamago onigiri” fresh from the kitchen of his mother-in law.
As most people living in Okinawa know, pork-tamago onigiri is a slice of fried egg and spam wrapped in a nori-seaweed covered rice ball. Of course, up to that moment Kiyokawa who hails from Osaka and had been living in Okinawa pursuing his passion for surfing had had countless pork-tamago onigiri snacks he bought from convenience stores and supermarkets and had not been particularly impressed. But the one made fresh in his mother-in-law’s kitchen was something else.
That gave him an idea to open a shop concentrating on pork-tamago onigiri. A few extra ingredients to choose from are offered to compliment the basic snack for customers who so desire. He also named his new shop Pork Tamago Onigiri.
Kiyokawa opened the first Pork Tamago Onigiri at Makishi Market in Naha, soon followed by shops at the Naha Domestic Airport and the American Village in Chatan. A shop in Hakata, Fukuoka City in Kyushu, was the first shop to open outside of Okinawa and shops in other areas are in the works.
All shops are designed with the same idea in mind. The interior is simple with a few tables to eat, but the main part of the business is take outs.
All shops have the same basic menu that is a simple pork tamago rice ball. But add-ons and specials vary in each shop. Add-on ingredients include miso, plum (ume), takana, mentaiko mayonnaise, simmered kombu, stir fried carrot and yuzu peppers. Deep fried fish, shrimp and pork cutlet can also be added in the onigiri. The prices in the American Village shop range from ¥280 to ¥450 per a rice ball depending on ingredients. That may look a bit high, but the rice balls are larger than usual. In a matter of fact, one or two is enough for a lunch, especially when combined with an order of aasa or mozuku soup.
For drink, there is lemon tea, sampincha-shiqwasa and sampincha-lemon, ice and hot coffee. The American Village shop serves also orange juice and Orion beer. A pack of onion rings and French fries is available at American Village only.