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Treat yourself to a taste of Japan at "Kui Nomiya"

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1999-07-17

Challenge your senses and fulfill your desire to experience Japanese cuisine by heading over

to "Kui Nomiya," an "Izakaya" style sushi bar located in Chatan. The Kui Nomiya restaurant differs from a typical Okinawan "shokudo" in that the menu and decor are more closely linked to a mainland Japanese style restaurant - bottles of sake line the wall behind a wooden counter, while freshly cut fish await behind a glass case for the experienced hands of Head Chef Gensho Shinjo to roll it and rice together into a work of art.

Head Chef Shinjo spent five years preparing sushi and Japanese food for Americans in Los Angeles, and tries quite successfully to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. His knowledge of American and foreign tastes helps him to create a variety of colorful and delicious "makizushi" (a combination of rice, fish, and other ingredients rolled with seaweed), ranging in price from 380 to 450. Some of the house specialties are the Spicy Tuna Roll, Salmon Roll, and the California Roll. The "makizushi" are all made with the seaweed rolled into the inside of the rice instead of the traditional Japanese way of rolling it on the outside - a technique used frequently in the sushi bars of California.

Shinjo will also take some special requests for making original "makizushi" according to the preferences of his customers. In the past, he has come up with interesting combinations such as the "Rainbow Roll," which he described as a mixture of everything.

Sushi, however, is only a part of the menu. Seafood Salad for 800, Katsudon for 480, Miso and Beef Koroke for 480, Fried Squid for 450, and Somen Spring rolls for 380 are just some of the many delicious Japanese style dishes you can find at "Kui Nomiya." The servings are designed to be shared with a small group as in a typical Japanese "Izakaya," enabling you to sample a little of everything. Other favorites listed on the menu include Tempura 850, Vegetable Udon 550, and Yakitori 300. If you are a sashimi lover, the mixed plate will cost you 1,200.

"Japanese food is very healthy, and it's affordable. Everything is fresh," said Shinjo. "I think foreigners will enjoy trying the many different foods we have."

"Kui Nomiya" ensures Okinawan cuisine is also a high priority. Pigs Ears for 380 and "Ika Sumi Somen" at 600, a noodle dish made with black ink from squid, are two traditional dishes for those looking for something exotic. "Tofu Champuru" and "Somen Champuru," both listed for 480, are great tasting meals for the less adventuresome.

Lunch specials are available from 500 - 800 in the form of Japanese "teishoku," which comes complete with rice, pickled vegetables, miso soup, and ice tea. The "Higawari" lunch is a great bargain at 500 and changes daily.

No Japanese "Izakaya" is complete without "sake," and the selection at "Kui Nomiya" is better than most. Orion and Kirin draft beer are also both available for 450 and Aromaton for 350. For a limited time only "Kui Nomiya" is offering a special "happy hour" for Orion and Kirin draft beer for only 90!

Get into the Japanese mood while you are here in Okinawa, and treat yourself to some friendly atmosphere and good food at "Kui Nomiya."

Kui Nomiya is open everyday from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. - 1 a.m. To get there, head south on Highway 58 from Kadena Gate 1. After entering Chatan look for the "Best Denki" electronics store and Toyota Dealership on your right. Turn right at the traffic signal and go straight. "Kui Nomiya" is located straight ahead. Look for the orange sign. For more information or reservations, please call 926-0755.

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