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It does not get much better than this

By: KC

Date Posted: 2001-06-22

Imagine yourself under a clear night sky, full moon, and a mug of cold beer in your hand, and a whiff of charcoal grilled morsels of chicken, beef and other dishes teasing your nostrils. And thatís exactly what Shichirin-ya restaurant in Awase, Okinawa City, offers.

Shichirin-ya is definitely a laid-back and casual place. It provides a dining and drinking place for everyone who has a taste for a picnic. The dishes are traditional Japanese charcoal cooking called shichirin. The customers pick up their favorites from a menu that contains over 50 different items and cook their meal themselves. Everything on the menu is brought in fresh daily from local markets.

The place suits perfectly for small parties with friends or for couples wanting to enjoy only each otherís company. The atmosphere is that of the Okinawan summertime favorite, beach party. Gravel on the ground and Japanese-style bamboo blinds that partially enclose the place only add to the beach-like feeling. Customers cook the dishes by themselves on a small portable stove. The manager, Higa says, "You can smell a scent of gas when you eat food that is grilled on a gas stove, but shichirin adds a pleasant aroma to the taste itself." Higa continues, "Once you are accustomed to shichirin-yaki dishes, thereís no way you can go back eating dishes that are grilled on a gas stove." He also claims that shichirin grilled dishes are healthier. "When you grill on shichirin, the grease and excess moisture from the meat drips into the stove leaving the dish healthier,Ē Higa explains.

The manager says that the most popular dishes on the menu are the small Japanese-style beefsteak, lamb chops, tongue, and a mini set of skewer dishes. For those who are adventurous Higa recommends grilled fresh pig intestines. "I donít know of any other restaurant that serves pig intestines fresh. They are usually used in the traditional Okinawan soup, called Nakami-soup, but they are usually sold pre-boiled."

Skewer set is popular among ladies since they can enjoy a variety of several small dishes at the same time including prawn, cuttlefish, white meat and mushrooms. Each dish costs only •300, reasonable to say the least.

Shichirin-ya is located close to Daiei Hyper-Mart in Awase, Okinawa City. It is located across the street from the Okinawa Rehabilitation Center behind Daiei. The phone number to Shichirin-ya is 098-933-6865.

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