Okinawa Mimigar, #01-03 The Gallery Hotel, 1 Nanson Rd. Singapore, Singapore
Reservation recommended, Parking available: at Gallery Hotel
Well known for its fountain-of-youth-like properties, the Okinawan diet has become popular among many Singaporeans hoping to eat their way younger. To understand more about this seemingly magical cuisine that promises to endow one with everlasting good health (and maybe great looks to boot), we went to this genuine Okinawan restaurant in the Gallery Hotel. And we were not disappointed. A good first sign of authenticity was that the placemat menus were entirely in Japanese, which was probably fine for the good number of Japanese patrons in the busy restaurant—another good sign. More proof lay in the fact that the food was the real deal, and we ordered plentifully and freely. There are unusual Okinawan items like “mimigar” or pigs’ ears; “sea grapes” which are a kind of seaweed; and a copious amount of pork (a hallmark of Okinawan food). We passed, however, on the exotic stuff and dove in with a heavenly pork belly (rafute); grilled Wagyu; a very fresh stir-fried bittergourd and bacon (goya chanpuru); an interesting tuna with kimchi; and some delicious raw, marinated fish. We could have easily kept going but the small portions were deceptively rich and filled us up. To cut through the food, we ordered a few single servings of a uniquely and seriously strong Okinawan alcohol called awamori. Don’t mess with this drink; it is 30-60 percent alcohol and at its most concentrated is flammable. If the Okinawans are tough enough to drink this, no wonder they live to over a hundred. This alone would draw us back here, along with the plentiful good food to help the booze from going straight to our heads! Give this place a try—it’s sure to be a hit whether you’re young or old.